Thursday, August 5, 2010

Response to Your Comments

You all make my life better on a daily basis. It sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Every single one of your comments gets delivered to my e-mail inbox, so they keep me company throughout the day. I respond to them in my mind, much more often than I respond to them in the comments section. I even bring them up in conversations with my friends and family.

Your comments inspire me, answer my questions, give me invaluable resources, make me think deeply, and smile.

I wanted to take a second to pull some comments out from last week and address them in this post:

People in my life who have given birth say over and over again that the more scared you are, and the more you're expecting pain, the harder it is. And the harder it is, the more likely interventions are needed (which isn't to say we cause interventions, or interventions aren't needed all the time for practical things like a baby in breech). But that is to say, we can lay the groundwork as well as we can, and that means preparing to totally let go, give up all control and ride it. This is, I think, a very literal example of our mind's shaping our realities.

I absolutely agree with you. Most of the "fear" that you heard in my post about birth was primarily related to birthing in a hospital with commonly accepted interventions. That's why I'm not going the hospital route (although I recognize that I cannot ultimately control how my birth unfolds and I may end up in the hospital if it becomes necessary). I plan to spend several months of my pregnancy preparing myself for the amazingness of birth. I'm going to sign up for a Hynobabies course, and I'm going to read books like Birthing from Within. I plan to do lots of reflection about how I'm feeling and what I'm fearing. My goal is to enter into the birth experience with overwhelming positive expectations and eagerness. I want to learn how to let my mind and body completely relax, so that my uterus can do what it needs to do. I don't want to get in its way!

At the end of the day, what I most remember about #1 is that you really have no control over labor and delivery. You kind of just have to go with the flow and remember that a successful birth ends with a healthy mom and healthy baby.

I absolutely agree with this, too. We can control the inputs (e.g., I can eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, destress, mentally prepare myself for birth, take my vitamins, proactively seek out a health care provider that I trust, etc.), but we can't control the outputs. I very much appreciate the conception and pregnancy processes for helping me cultivate the ability to focus on the inputs and let go of control of the outputs. This skill will be invaluable when I become a parent!

It seems like a lot of women go the natural route just so they can wear that badge of honor rather than because it is the best for them and the child, and I hate that. It just seems like a new form of abuse towards women - that you need to do it naturally to be a real woman.

I think everyone needs to do what feels right for them (and then analyze the underlying reasons about why it feels right). For me, going the natural route is not about any "badge of honor" or doing it in order to feel like a "real woman." First of all, I distrust the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Its primary motivation is money, not people's health and wellness. There have been several medicines that have been used for maternity care over the last several decades that have later been proven to have severely negative consequences. I simply try to avoid medications, whenever possible. Second, I trust my body and I trust that birth is a normal experience that women have been going through for thousands and thousands of years.

I think we need to get away from judging and labeling each other based on our individual birthing choices. We are all different and have different perspectives, priorities and experiences. At the end of the day we all do the best we can for ourselves and our children.

I wholeheartedly agree with this! I think it's important to respectfully ask each other critical questions and to consider other perspectives, but at the end of the day, we each need to do what makes sense for us. There are no absolutes with any of this stuff. Even the "experts" change their opinions every few years.

And while I appreciate that you share your perspective on your own experiences, I suggest that you might want to consider, when reflecting on how quickly you were able to get pregnant, sending a shout out to the scores of folks who have difficulty doing so. There is a privilege in getting pregnant, and in getting pregnant easily. While I certainly don't deny your own feelings related to that, I'm asking you to consider others'.

I'm so, so sorry that you don't think I talk about my experience in a way that honors everyone who has difficulty getting pregnant. For the past six years or so, I considered myself to be someone who would have difficulty getting pregnant (because of what a doctor told me a long time ago). Although I remained optimistic and prepared myself for conception as much as possible, I also acknowledged that I might need to resort to fertility interventions or that I might need to eventually adopt.

The last poster made me think of seeing this video recently.

Oh no. According to this song, I am becoming a smug pregnant woman! I used to want a girl, but once I became pregnant I stopped caring.

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Anonymous said...

The video was just to make you laugh! In no way do I think you are one of the smug ones. That kicks in at about 6 months. LOL!

Jessica said...

Wow that video is amazing!

It's a shame that you can't even celebrate your own life on your own blog. Getting called out in your own space is kind of silly considering it's all about you. Just a thought :)

Kristen said...

Thanks for sharing all of the comments and your responses to them! I've always been curious about this stuff, so it's fun to read all of the different perspectives.

onesheep said...

You are so sweet to be smug. Don't let anyone bring you down, your frank sunshiny outlook is why I love both your blogs. They really help me to navigate my pending engagement and wedding. You, your husband, and baby are in my prayers. <3

Mountain Mama Jody said...

Don't let anyone make you feel like you can't express yourself on your own blog. That you have to censor it because some people are going to be sensitive about it is not your concern at all! I love that you are honest, open, excited, and your tone of voice has never seemed smug in the least bit. Keep doing what you're doing, please :)

Aamba said...

You know what that song makes me think of?

When women say they don't care what gender the baby is "as long as it's healthy"... what if your baby isn't healthy?

Do you love that baby any less?

Of course not.

My friend has a baby with a congenital heart defect. The infant had surgery the day after she was born and she has two more to go through. And she's the most delightful, happy and bouncy baby.

I dated a guy who was born with tremendous birth defects, no arms and legs that didn't function correctly. He had a good job and was well adjusted. Did his parents not love him as much as his sisters? Of course not.

These things happen and in a lot of cases you don't have any more control over it than you do what gender the baby will be.

Really, you're going to love that little baby no matter what happens.

Anonymous said...

I want to preface this by saying that I absolutely respect your decisions, and if I was braver about pain, I might consider doing home birth myself. (As it is, a papercut makes me tear up, so I think being in a hospital where I at least have the option to manage my pain is a good idea in my case).

The trouble that I have when people say that for thousands of years women have been giving birth at home and it has been fine is that this isn't necessarily true. SO MANY women and babies died during home birth due to things that could easily have been prevented if they had had the technology and knowledge. Of course, your midwife has access to those things, and you can always go to a hospital if things don't go as planned, which makes home birth a perfectly fantastic option for you (and I look forward to hearing more both about what you learn and about your personal experience with home birth).

But I still get annoyed when people completely disregard all of the women and children who died (and are probably still dying in countries without adequate medical care) in childbirth. Some medical advances and medications are good!

Anonymous said...

The Infertile Positive –> Two week wait. Check toilet paper obsessively. Google all pregnancy symptoms. Get all fake pregnancy symptoms. Pee on multiple pregnancy sticks (or avoid them altogether). Take basal temperature, daily. Glare at pregnant bellies. Curse any celebrity that announces a pregnancy. Blood test. Positive? Disbelief. Wait for second beta. Hold breath. Feel nervous. Fearful. Tell no one (or quietly tell your mom). Continue to hold breath.

The Fertile Positive–> Pee on stick. Positive. Tell everyone including the grocery store cashier. Celebrate.

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