I suppose I should start this blog off the way most mothers seem to expect me to; by explaining my “mommy philosophy”, or whatever we’re supposed to call it. Obviously this is going to put me on one side of the Mommy Wars or the other, but here’s the thing: I don’t care. I honestly care very little about half the issues that moms go on and on about, to the point of ending friendships. Well, no, that’s not entirely true.
I do care about natural birth, breastfeeding, bed-sharing, and attachment parenting; but only so far as that it works for ME and MY family. I couldn’t care less what YOU choose to do with your own family, body, or whatever, as long as it’s YOUR choice.
See, that’s the thing that very few of my mommy friends actually “get” whenever they take offense to something I say. I don’t care that they chose a C-section. I don’t care if they were “done” with pregnancy and wanted to be induced. All I care about is that they understand the risks of their choices and make peace with them, and most importantly NOT get all pissy when someone has a different opinion on those things.
Take for example this one friend, we’ll call her Jane, since that’s far enough from her real name for her to somehow come across this and be all “hey, bitch, you’re talking about me!”. And if she is reading, well, then she’ll hopefully realize that everything I’ve ever said on social media about certain issues is NOT ABOUT HER!
But I digress…
So Jane had problems with all 3 of her pregnancies. First one she had pre-eclampsia, second was a form of placenta previa that required a very necessary C-section (and I don’t at all disagree that she didn’t need it), and then there was the third, not too long before I had my son. The third kid she wanted to try a VBAC and then changed her mind close to the date and elected to have another C-section. Again, totally her choice, and while I wouldn’t have done that myself, it wasn’t MY body getting cut open so who cares.
But see, this is where the offense came into play. I was told at 35 weeks I was carrying too small for gestation. The (idiot) midwife who must have misplaced her brain cells due to her own pregnancy (and I’m totally aware that “Mommy brain” is a valid excuse), sent me in for an ultrasound. Then she consulted with an OB and decided that based on a very badly done scan, my son had a growth restriction. So she recommended that I see the OB and scrap my plans for a home birth. In fact, I better be prepared to possibly be induced and C-sectioned because my son won’t tolerate labor well.
I should have trusted my instincts and told her she was wrong. I should have said “thanks, but I’m still having him at home if those non-stress tests keep coming back with good results”. But instead I caved, somewhat. I planned a hospital birth and wrote out my “natural birth” plan. I was very much against having a C-section. Well, my flat out refusal to see the OB and my efforts to avoid a C-section didn’t sit well with Jane. She constantly told me that “it’s not that bad” and didn’t understand why I treated the very idea of having one as if someone had suggested I cut off all my limbs with a dull knife. But she SHOULD have understood, because everyone who has ever known me long enough knows that I hate needles, hospitals, and doctors.
Part of the reason I wanted a home birth with my very FIRST baby, even though I didn’t know what to expect, was that I HATE needles. I couldn’t stand the idea of relinquishing all control to an institution that gave those out freely. I didn’t want an IV. I didn’t want to be poked and prodded. I didn’t want a zillion people walking in and out of the delivery room. So my plan was to have two midwives, my husband, and possibly a doula. I was going to birth without intervention, in a birth pool, and it was going to be nice and peaceful and intimate. Then I was going to curl up in my OWN bed, eating food that was cooked in MY kitchen, and everyone was going to leave me alone with my husband and son.
So given that my dream birth was isolation and familiar surroundings (and NO needles), it makes sense that a C-section would be the very last thing I would want, unless my life or my son’s was truly dependant on it. I didn’t want IVs or the epidural, or any other tubes or needles anywhere near me. I have severe panic attacks just getting blood drawn, even when I’ve numbed the skin with a $12 bottle of cream (that’s $12 for ONE dose, btw).
And Jane couldn’t look past her own “perfect” experience with surgery to realize that maybe not everyone wants to be cut open if they can avoid it. Not everyone thinks MORE time in the hospital, eating hospital food and sleeping in a single bed is a vacation. News flash, Jane! Not everyone wants what you did!
Okay, I’m getting off topic here. Where was I? Ah, yes, my “philosophy”. Well, as I said before, I am all about information and choices based on that information. I feel that if one is going to choose ANYTHING for themselves or their child, they should be willing to look at the facts, and maybe see if there are any possible consequences to said choices. Like Jane’s choice of a second (unnecessary–that’s right, I said it, Jane!) C-section. Well, she’s made peace that she probably won’t be able to VBA2C (although technically she COULD, but I don’t think her OB told her that), she is outright ignoring the fact that she might be facing even more complications the next time she gets pregnant. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that she’s not done having kids yet. All the power to her, I have no issues with how big she wants her family to be, but considering the fact that none of her pregnancies have gone smoothly for her, maybe, just maybe she might have wanted to do her homework first before having that second C-section?
Anyway, she’s made her choice and I made mine. I fought the “system” with my own birth. I went in for NSTs twice a week and ultrasounds every other week. I did it for myself more than for the medical professionals, because I wanted to prove to them ALL that my son was perfectly fine and I was going to go into labor on my own, thank you very much! And I did, at 40 weeks and 6 days, regular contractions started. I labored at home, undisturbed, but because my doula was (unfortunately) going on vacation with her family the next day, I only had her until about 8am the day my son was born. Had she been able to stay, I don’t think I would have gone to the hospital just yet…but then again, had I done that, I might have had to deliver in triage.
Yeah, when we got there at 10am, there were NO rooms available. FML! Oh, and apparently the stupid nurses didn’t get the memo from my midwives about my refusal to have blood drawn either, because some bitch I couldn’t see (because she was behind the curtain) kept asking me if she could take it. I said NO like 5 times before she finally went away, but seriously, I was dealing with hard contractions and these people think I can sit still for a blood test? Fuck that! Next kid is being born at home, and I’m not calling the midwife until I’m ready to pop.
But anyway, long story short, I got a room with a tub, and I stayed in that tub the entire long labor, taking only the gas (because I had back labor and my doula wasn’t around to help with that) and then I was out of the tub, on the fucking bed (worst spot ever) and pushing for 3 hours. I did it 100% natural, tore a tiny bit near my urethra (but not enough to need stitches) and was high on my own hormones immediately after his birth. So after THAT, I know that birth doesn’t have to require so many interventions to “help” moms get their babies out. My son was almost 8 lbs and I’m barely 5’4 and weight 113 lbs soaking wet (not bragging, just a fact). And. I . Had. Him. Without. Intervention.
Which leads me to the thing that REALLY pisses Jane off: my choice to inform other mothers of their options.
I joined several Facebook groups, including Improving Birth.Org, which advocates for women’s rights in birth. It is a FACT that birth in the “developed” countries is too medicalized and rarely practices evidence-based care. C-sections, routine inductions for suspected “big babies”, routine procedures like IVs and episiotomies, not “allowing” mothers to move around…really, the list is extensive and the outcome is that very few women have satisfying birth experiences. Too many women get pushed into agreeing to things they don’t want, by care providers who don’t give all the facts. Like me, with that (idiot) midwife and OB. At 39 weeks, my all-time favorite midwife (who delivered my son) called me up and told me that the idiot midwife was misinformed. My son and I were perfectly fine, she said. “I see no reason why you can’t have him at home.” And stupid me, I didn’t jump at those words and make it happen. I didn’t ask her if she could get me a tub liner because I didn’t have the money. I didn’t take her offer seriously (I will next time). This being the woman who told me how much I would benefit from having a doula. This being the woman who helped me get in touch with ONE doula, who in turn got me in touch with MY doula. This being the woman who had all HER births at home and was the only one who trusted her instincts rather than put her faith in technology. And I still opted for the hospital, just in case she was wrong.
So fucking stupid!
Aaaand I’m getting off topic again! Sorry, I do that. It’s one of the things about taking advantage of my son’s naptime; I tend to ramble.
So back to Improving Birth, I have read a LOT of horrifying shit since I had my son. I’ve read about doctors FORCING women to have C-sections under court orders. I’ve read about women saying NO to an episiotomy and getting one anyway, and then being told that they should have just gotten the epidural. I’ve read about so many terrible things happening to mothers that it makes me sick to my stomach. So I started sharing this information and protesting LOUDLY. And because I was protesting the C-section rates and how birth depictions in the media are all scare tactics to make new mothers more compliant to their doctors’ will, Jane got pissy. Jane insisted I was wrong. Jane flat out told me she didn’t appreciate my saying that her birth wasn’t “natural” (even though I never mentioned HER births at all, just that women should be allowed to birth without interventions that aren’t necessary). She never actually READ any of the articles I posted, but she still continues to get offended.
And that, my friends, is what I’m getting at. It’s why the Mommy Wars are so stupid! First of all, the mommy wars assume that one way is better than the other, and I don’t buy that. I think that one way is better than the other for each individual who chooses that way. I am NOT telling every mother to birth without drugs, or to breastfeed exclusively, or to have their baby sleep in their beds. Obviously, that works for me. Obviously! I mean, if it didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t still be doing it, would I? But it’s not going to work for everyone, and I get that. I only ask that if you’re going to choose something, then at least be educated enough to defend your fucking choice!
(yes, I say “fuck” a lot. You’ll have to deal with that if you want to read this blog)
So yeah, there’s going to be stuff in here that some of you won’t agree with, but hell, that’s life. I’m not FORCING anyone to believe what I do. I only ask that you say “fuck the ‘experts’, I’m going to do what works for ME!” instead of blindly comply with what doctors and parenting books tell you to do. Unless what would work for you is selling your kids into slavery. Don’t sell your kids into slavery.
But seriously, people, if you’re looking for a “cure” or a way to “fix” your kids, you won’t find that here. You also won’t find fancy recipes or creative ideas for baked goods and such, because I’m not a Pinterest Mom. I don’t even know what that means, really, but I suspect that Jane is one, because she’s super into all that creative artsy party shit. I’m not. If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll paint icing on my sugar cookies, but the icing is runny and looks like something a four year old would make. Who cares though? They get eaten all the same anyway!
So yeah, that’s my first post. I suspect I’ve pissed off a lot of moms out there, but the few of you who (like me) actually *get* it, prefer to do things your way, and (ok, I admit it) sometimes will do those things just to spite others who said you couldn’t…