And I really hear you on the birth story thing. I don't like telling my story to people unless I know them well and I have time to say all about it that I want to say. I think that's a part of our problem, honestly. The world doesn't often seem to have time for layered, nuanced stories, and it's really the quick, positive soundbytes that get the most play.
What Needs to Change? - Page 2
Sometimes I see the NB vision of childbirth almost like Vogue and Cosmo see the perfect model, and the "rest of us" are crying out in protest for better representation of reality. I almost envy the nonchalance of my niece-in-law who had a planned c-section for baby #2 after her first son's birth ended in c-section. She considered VBAC and then just thought--nope, no thanks--and seemed to have no further agony regarding her decision.
Part of my regret stems from the fact that I didn't choose a homebirth to begin with, so I feel especially isolated from the community around me. I agonize not over the outcome of my first daughter's birth, but by the choices I made and who I became during that unimaginably long labor. I didn't feel empowered one bit. At every turn what I wanted to do was struck down by something, like being painted into a corner when you are fully aware you are being painted into a corner. And everyone around me congratulated me and said how hard I worked--a bit of a contrast from your experiences it seems--and I felt--feel-- like a fraud. I feel like I wimped out and became just... nothing. I couldn't get the courage to tell dh "I want you to go away.... I want all of you to go away." So I just... diminished.... and everyone there felt that I was something I wasn't.
And then with so much difficulty nursing and maintaining a consistent supply. Everyone who at first seemed supportive just dismissed me. I have the problem of coming across as too on top of things, too strong.... when really I was just at a loss. And as soon as I expressed that, they questioned me..... "What makes you say that? Why do you think your milk supply is down?" etc. in a way that made it clear that I was just making something out of nothing.
I'm just not keeping all may thoughts together here. I promise I began thinking of the course of this thread, and the question of greater support.
Comparing this to Vogue magazine covers and representations of female beauty is brilliant. It is just so on-point. I really agree with that. I feel that deeply, too.
I read an NYT article this morning about homebirths and Ina May. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/magazine/ina-may-gaskin-and-the-battle-for-at-home-births.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
The last two paragraphs were wonderful. They speak to this very issue. An excerpt:
And although I like aspects of the home-birth experience, I’m put off by some of the dogma that can accompany the movement. In their rush to defend unmedicated births, natural-birth advocates sometimes fetishize them, saying for instance that the first moments after birth present a unique opportunity to bond that is forever lost when the mother’s and baby’s systems are flooded by anesthesia or other drugs. “The Business of Being Born” shows an image of a baby screaming alone in a hospital bassinet as a narrator intones: “When chimpanzees give birth by C-section, they don’t take care of their babies. It’s that simple.”
It’s not that simple, of course, and it is unfortunate that the choices and the rhetoric around birth — like many of the choices and rhetoric around motherhood in general — are so polarized. It should be possible both to have a baby in a place that doesn’t have financial and legal incentives to medicalize a low-risk pregnancy and to still have immediate access to top-level care if it’s needed. It shouldn’t be necessary to leave the medical establishment entirely to give birth vaginally to a breech baby or after a previous Caesarean. It should be possible both to acknowledge that something real was lost in the way my baby was born and to know that this loss is finite; there is not one pure route to authentic motherhood. Eight months with my son have offered ample evidence that there is not only one opportunity for joy.
Thank you for appreciating the intent of the analogy. I was worried because on closer examination, it just doesn't hold up, and that the comparison would cause a digression. So, I'm glad you understood the comparison I was trying to make.
I will go back and read the article. I've been on this contraption far too long.
The paragraphs you quoted hold great wisdom.
I felt so embraced and loved when I was pregnant. But after I had my son, and especially after having an unexpected outcome, I suddenly felt left for dead on a roadside. The networks of support seem to have dried up. We can do better with seeing women through the ENTIRE perinatal period.
Hello, getting ready to ttc#2 after a 69 hr labor that ended in c/s. Someone suggested the book Ended Beginnings because they talk about all kinds of loss (from losing a child during/after birth to losing a vaginal birth to c/s, etc.) and how to grieve properly to get to a place where you are healed and not just surviving whatever happened. I was surprised to see normal (natural) birth listed in there as something that women could feel loss over. The reasons they list are what you said here. I was pregnant and everyone was nice to me, paid attention to me, cared about ME (yadda yadda), and then the baby came and suddenly no one cares about me...its all about the baby. And now compound that feeling with the other losses that we felt (loss of the birth we wanted, loss of our dreams in some cases, loss of faith in myself, etc.). I hadn't thought about it until I read this, but I felt this way too a little. Anyway, I thought it was a good book that made me think about things in a different light and feel supported...if you're interested.