I'm almost 14 weeks along now and I've been gradually sharing the news of my pregnancy with friends, co-workers, etc. As this is my first, I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed by all of the unsolicited information/advice coming my way. It's not just the advice though-- it's also people trying to argue with me after I gently share my intentions (often after they ask), as if they get a vote in some of the most personal decisions I'll ever make. It doesn't matter if the topic is birthing, babywearing, pumping, diapers, whatever-- it seems almost everyone has a strong opinion, rooted almost entirely in their own individual experiences (a teeny tiny sample size, says my scientific mind) about what will be best for my own individual experience.
Part of the problem is that I work in healthcare. I'm a psychotherapist who works within a family practice setting, which means my colleagues provide prenatal care and deliver babies regularly. Just by doing my job, I hear about patients for whom everything is going beautifully and about amazingly awesome uncomplicated births as well as about the ones that don't go so well. So from that side, I get what feels like lectures about not being against spinal blocks or epidurals and being open to a section if I need a section. I know that sometimes emergencies happen and things don't go as planned and that drastic measures are needed to save a life. I'm pregnant, not stupid! (To be fair, there are also individuals in this part of my world who are very holistically-minded and patient-centered and are not pushy in this way at all.) As an example, I made the mistake of disclosing that I am really impressed with Hypnobabies and am planning to go in that direction for birth preparation. You would have thought that I had just said, "I am planning to be alone in the woods 100 miles from civilization and have wolves assist with labor, especially if I develop preeclampsia and gestational diabetes first." Never mind that the people I was talking to know that I am planning to do a midwife birth in a freakin' hospital!
But it's not just the well-meaning doctors and other providers I work with who have preachy opinions. It's also my circle of earthy-crunchy friends and acquaintances who are so completely anti hospitals and western healthcare in general that they use the same scare tactics to try to convince me to birth at home. I'm not opposed to homebirth for anyone, including myself for future births. But this time around (after an emotionally devastating miscarriage), with access to a hospital that lets midwives do their thing in a way that works for me, I'm just not ready to go that route. Maybe with the next baby. So I say, "... Hypnobabies birth with a midwife and a doula in a hospital" and this crowd seems to hear, "I want to be in an operating room with every painkiller ever invented and will fire my doula and my husband who know exactly what my values are and let my baby be surgically removed for no good medical reason." No matter how much I want things to go normally, I also want to be near a NICU if things don't. Thats what makes me feel safe right now.
Sorry for the length of this rant. I'm just feeling frustrated that other women, other moms at that, aren't able to let my journey be my journey and respect that I am going to best empower myself by trusting myself to make the best decisions for me and who I am at this point in life. Yes, I'll probably change my mind about some things along the way as my opinions continue to develop and I integrate more knowledge about this whole becoming a mom thing with my values. But that doesn't mean I need you to try to convince me that your way is the best way just because it was/is the best way for you.
OK, I feel better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! I also don't mean to imply that everyone in each crowd (and all the crowds in between) are zealotous and pushy-- it's just the ones that are, are really getting on my nerves right now.