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Is the baby ALL that really matters?

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
Okay, hear me out...

I frequent several pregnancy related boards and constantly hear things like:

My birth didn't happen like I wanted, but all that mattered was I got my baby

I had to have a section, but I don't care, I have a baby now

Etc etc etc

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I don't feel like getting my baby in the end is the only important thing about giving birth. Yes, she's important, but if I say I don't care about HOW she gets here then I feel like I'm saying MY feelings aren't important.

I've read on this board a lot about mamas mourning the birth that should've been... to me that makes more sense.

I've been chastised on other boards for saying I would feel depressed and angry if my birth was taken away from me (interventions and such)... after all, if I say that then by their mindset apparently I don't care about the baby. Of course I care about having my baby, but I also care about HOW she gets here. Is that so wrong?

Yes, the baby is the result of birth, but seriously, should that be ALL that matters? There's a saying floating around another board "It doesn't matter how she (he) got here... she's here now and that's what matters." By that feeling I would have no right to cry if I ended up with a ceserean, or forceps, or even an epidural... the baby is here... screw how I feel about how it happened.

Sorry this is so disjointed... it's been bugging me a while though, and I had to get this out. Seriously though... am I so wrong to feel that the baby isn't the ONLY thing that matters in birth? Does that make me a bad mama?
post #2 of 80
I guess it matters the reasons why the birth didn't go as planned.

If the interventions were life-saving, then great. If they were unnecessary, I'd be somewhat upset, but not crushed.

I don't think it's wrong to care a lot about the birth.
post #3 of 80
Originally Posted by amydidit
"It doesn't matter how she (he) got here... she's here now and that's what matters."
The logical conclusion to this line of thinking is that you are not allowed to grieve or regret any tragedy short of death that befalls your child (or you!). Do these same people think that if your baby, 10 years from now, had to have his/her arm amputated you would not be allowed to be upset about it? Because you "have your baby"?

This kind of logic also assumes that every intervention is lifesaving.

Also, reverse this logic...so, if my goal is a live baby, I must be willing to undergo absolutely any random, arcane, useless, or cruel intervention that the hospital staff can dream up?

"The doctor said if I didn't name my baby Beulah she'd die! But it doesn't matter what her name is, she's here now and that's what matters."

"The nurse punched out my dh when he asked the doctor to wait until my contraction was over before checking my dilation. But it doesn't matter, my baby's here now and that's what matters."

In fairness, all those women have been told at some point that the very interventions that you protest ARE lifesaving, regardless of whether or not that is the truth.

Anyway, they don't even mean it. If something really extreme happened they'd all be yelling, "Sue! Sue!" What they mean is, "You think you know better than the doctor and nurses and what is necessary for a safe birth. Who do you think you ARE, Miss Smartypants?" :LOL

Oh, and of course I think you should be allowed to be disappointed even if the interventions WERE necessary. Are my biases showing?
post #4 of 80

I'd post that whenever I see anyone saying something like that, because it's just not true. Of course people are happy/grateful to have a healthy baby (assuming that they do), but that doesn't mean you can't be unhappy about everything else.

"You nearly died, but at least you have a healthy baby." blech.
post #5 of 80
A healthy baby is NOT the only desired outcome of a birth - a healthy mother is important too -- including mother's mental health. If a mother feels her birth was not handled properly -- in the way that respected her as a part of the birth, not just as a vessel for babies -- it is not going to acheive that goal, IMO.
post #6 of 80
Sadly, women expect very little for themselves when it comes to thier bodies.

We have been trained to believe that our bodies don't work, and that OB's are god's- that with out them, women would be unable to give birth, and most of our babies would be dead.
Our bodies have been made to be mysterious to even ourselves. Only THEY know what's in there, and what to do with it.
Our bodies cannot be trusted to grow a baby of a proper size to come out safely. Our bodies cannot be trusted to feed our babies with out help from scientists who can make a better product than what we have.

I feel sad for women who say "at least I have my baby," but at the same time, I will not tell them the sad truth until they come seeking it.
post #7 of 80
am I so wrong to feel that the baby isn't the ONLY thing that matters in birth? Does that make me a bad mama?
No, no, no, no, no no noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I COMPLETELY agree with you!! I had a recent post about this when I thought our baby might be breech and our midwife was talking automatic c-section!!! Well, she isn't breech thank God--and needless to say I have switched midwives (at 38 weeks!!)


Yeah I agree, the baby's health (and yours!) are VERY important, but it isn't an either/or thing ya know??? You completely deserve the birth you want, and while no one would compromise the life of themselves or their baby on principle---you have EVERY right to do everything you can to ensure the birth you want, and you have EVERY right to be upset/mourn/be angry (whatever you feel) if you don't get the birth you wanted or planned!!

It doesn't mean you love your baby less or that you would have compromised their health!! It just means that you are mourning the birth you didn't get ya know?

you are completely justified in that... I would have been completely devestated if I had to have a c-section (or if God forbid still had to for some emergency)...completely devestated...I know people might say that "devestation" is a dead baby, or whatever...and that is true...but AS IT RELATES TO THE BIRTH EXPERIENCE....a c-section would devestate me...me being thrilled and thankful of a healthy baby is a different issue and of course I would be...

Anyway, I am longwinded (as always) but the birth experience is a completely different thing than being happy your baby is healthy and alive-- of course you are happy and thankful for that!!!! Why are people allowed to feel mourning or sadness or anger from other things but not about a bad birth experience??

In other words if I were in a horrible car wreck that like, damaged me emotionally for life....but came out okay....of course people would be like "well thank God you are alive!!" ---but at the same time, they would be totally sympathetic if I told them I had nightmares about cars, or couldn't ride on a highway, or had to get therapy because of the trauma---but with birth, somehow, people seem to be like "your baby is healthy, get over it".... and that just sucks!!!
post #8 of 80
After ttcing for 12 mos and having 1 m/c before I had Abi, the fact that she was here was more important than the birth itself. Same with Nitara, after threatened losses from 23 weeks onward, I was relieved that it was finally over and she was born safe and full term.

But that doesn't mean that women don't have the right to have the birth they want. I think it's just a way for some women who did have a less than ideal birth to heal from that, a way they can talk to themselves and let go of the anger and sadness and at least feel blessed that they have a healthy baby. KWIM?
post #9 of 80
I think it's just a way for some women who did have a less than ideal birth to heal from that, a way they can talk to themselves and let go of the anger and sadness and at least feel blessed that they have a healthy baby
(emphasis mine)

I completely agree...and well, I can only speak for myself---that is fine if it is the woman in question speaking of her own birth in those terms...of course!!

I just have a problem (not to speak for the OP but I think this is her point too, if I may be so bold) ...when like, family members/friends/people who didn't go through your experience say just nonchalontly..."well, at least your baby is healthy"...as if the birth or the circumstances around it meant really nothing ...ya know?

I would rather at least have someone just even acknowledge my feelings ya know? As in, maybe "well, thank God you and the baby were healthy, but I can imagine that was really scary/hard/upsetting for you plan a homebirth and wind up with a c-section
(or whatever) ---instead of the general attitude of "how DARE she be upset and SO ungrateful...her baby is healthy, why is she bitching????" People won't say that to your face, well, some will, but it does seem to be the general attitude---

I haven't even given birth yet, and that was the attitude I totally got, even with the POTENTIAL of a possible c-section...
post #10 of 80
I can kind of see it both ways. I had to have a c/s this time due to transverse lie after SROM. I was upset. Dh and I had finally taken childbirth prep class and I felt excited about him actually being involved in the birth. With our first two I felt a lot of anger because I felt like he put other things first, instead of me and the baby. (A whole other story - I realize now that birth has the ability to bring up a lot of emotions for rape survivors, and I was probably dealing with a lot of past baggage too). I was upset about the c/s and felt somewhat "robbed." But, after 4 days in the NICU, our little Abby came home, perfect and beautiful. A dear friend of mine had a c/s last year, her first baby at 48, and came home with empty arms. Her precious Samuel was born still. I feel conflicted because I know I should be grateful, but I still wanted the chance for a better delivery. I had a lot of problems bf with Abby, some of which were due to the c/s (which led to the NICU). I ep'd for 3 months and my milk dried up. I'm so disappointed that we're not nursing now. She is 9 months now and this was my favorite nursing time with the other 2. We still plan on more kids, and I've found docs who will VBAC, so at least I know there will be chances to try again.
post #11 of 80
Sadly, women expect very little for themselves when it comes to thier bodies.
I totally agree with this- in many ways in this culture moms are expected to be martyrs for their children- it isn't acceptable to express our own needs and wants

Is the most important thing about a birth a healthy baby? yes
but isn't the mothers physical and mental/spiritual health important as well?
post #12 of 80
I had someone pretty much tell me it was my own fault for getting PTSD after DSs birth cause I thought it through and dared to be upset went it about as far from what I wanted as was possible.

Cause, you know, all that matters is a healthy baby, never mind the crippling flashbacks i'm still having a year later, never mind the fact im still having troble walking from the SPD, never mind the feelings of humiliation and degredation, never mind the big mark on DSs head from the forceps, never mind that i'm too scared to have sex with DH incase I get pregnant again, I got a healthy baby out of it all so it's all ok

Sorry, went a wee bit ranty there!
post #13 of 80
Ugh, I hate that statement! I've found that most of the women who say it are women who ended up with c-sections, and I think they think if they say it enough they will feel better about their births. The truth is I'm going to be disapointed if I end up in the hospital or with a c-section and that's okay. I should feel disapointed if my homebirth doesn't happen, and I have a right to mourn and feel sad (even though I will still end up with a baby). That statement only belittles women's postpartum emotions, and that is one of the major problems with the pp period in this country.
post #14 of 80
A very good friend of mine lost her dd at 6 weeks old. Now 6 years later as she remembers her dd she can fall back on her pg, those 6 weeks and her birth. A brith that sucked and was taken from her by a dr who was late for dinner. Yes, in the end she had her baby and those precious 6 weeks, but do you know how horrible it is for her to relive that birth as a memory of her daughter? To think back and see that her first moments outside were being pulled out by forceps, taken from momma to a warmer. Hands that touched her first and they weren't her hands. Now had it been an emergency (a true emergency) perhaps she would look on her birth differently, I don't know. But its a little ironic because I was just talking to her about this yesterday. Shes still very upset over what happened during that birth.

In cases of true emergencies there will be mourning, its silly to think that there wouldn't be. Even those not baby related. If a child/spouse looses his sight you mourn the dreams and aspirations that you had. I also see alot of ptsd in women. My own mother can't even go to an ob/gyn w/o having a panic attack and her last birth was 9 years ago. It still affects her.

I really bothers me when people say that the baby is all that really matters because very rarely would those same people ever advocate natural birth or bfing or cding or ec or homeschooling or anything nfl. Everything I do is for my kids. I don't get an epidural because I think its better for my baby. Not because I enjoy pain and am being selfish. I bfed because its better for my baby not because I enjoy exposing myself. I have hbs because I do think its safer for my baby than at a hospital not becasue I am controling and want everything my way. So I guess you can turn it around and say, Yes the baby does matter, that why we do what we do.

I think everything people say is to justify their own decisions and to take guilt away from what they decided to do. Or maybe because they just don't agree with our decisions. Or maybe they just can't think of anything else too say. Its like saying to a mother who m/c - "Oh well you can have another." : Its just something someone says because they have no idea what else to say. Its not the right thing to say in the least but hey at least they said something

post #15 of 80
It's even harder when something IS wrong with your baby, because your needs completely fly out of the window. You can't speak up about anything because the health of your baby is the bigger issue.

When my third son was born we found out within a few hours he had a complicated heart defect. He was immediately transported to a hospital two hours away from us. I was not allowed to ride in the ambulance and was immediately discharged from the hospital without being examined. I had to focus all my energy on getting to him. I was soooo tired, I hurt and had to spend so much of my time walking and traveling. I just wanted to be with him. I couldn't hold him, I couldn't nurse him. My body ached to be with him, I had to wait many weeks after his open heart surgery before I could hold him in my arms.

I hurt so much, both inside and out--for myself and for him. No one was there to take care of me and for a long time I mourned that. Maybe I still do...

When you have your baby it is so easy to focus on what didn't go well and interventions that were unwanted. But having a baby born with a health problem is a far worse experience, because as the mother you are truly stressed to the max.
post #16 of 80

The Cesarean Goddess' Poin of View...

I had a well thought out, educated birthplan the first time around. A planned Bradley, Natural Childbirth. It was something I had looked forward too well before I even married, much less children.

Things didn't go as planned. I had an emergency cesarean section and it was a horrific experience. The thing is, what landed me there as partly my fault. I had a weirdly transverse breech baby and I attempted an ECV three times with the hope and belief that I could have my natural vaginal birth. I didn't trust my body or my baby. I paid for it in many ways and luckily came out of it a better person, but I suffered greatly along the way. Looking back, I often feel that even through infertility, and the desire to have a baby, to be a mother, I had invested more into my birth than the person I was going to give birth too. If you read my more current posts, you will see I have another pregnancy with a daughter challenging me in a similar way.

Is how you give birth important? Absolutely. However I think any birth can be empowering and teach you life lessons, whether good, bad, intended or unintended. Its hard for the homebirther or the UCer to believe that I had a practically pain free cesarean with my last birth, that it was a wonderful, and spiritual experience -- I changed the way I thought about birth, I looked deep inside of me for what was important, and that my womanhood was not dependent on what passed out of my vagina. I think its bad for women to set their expectations so high, that it leaves them unprepared to deal with the unexpected or the variantions that birthing our babies often throw us.

And I think women should understand that some do not care how they have their babies. Often when you have dealt with infertility or other problems that might have hindered you from having a child, the only goal is having a healthy baby in the end, and how they get here is not nearly as important as how they came out. As my friend tells me, that is why some people like chocolate and some people like vanilla, and then there is neopolatin for those that don't care.

What's important to me, is listening to my body, listening to my babies, and trusting my instincts as a woman and a mother. Whenever I have done these things I have always felt good about my choices and the outcome, when I haven't, I've been left with disappointment and pain.
post #17 of 80
Originally Posted by OnTheFence
What's important to me, is listening to my body, listening to my babies, and trusting my instincts as a woman and a mother. Whenever I have done these things I have always felt good about my choices and the outcome, when I haven't, I've been left with disappointment and pain.
Yes, I totally agree. This is exactly why I believe that there must be safe, healthy, personally fulfilling choices for the entire spectrum of birthing women. Choices, information, education, respect for the inherent dignity of birth and empowerment for mothers to make their own decisions not based on fear.......

My view of birth is holistic. What's good for the mother is good for the baby and vice versa. You cannot separate the two as they are interconnected and both matter deeply. Just b/c it might be typical to hear the "healthy baby is all that matters" line doesn't make it true or helpful.
post #18 of 80
To the OP, since I have only read that post, my complaint with modern obstetrics is that their goal is to simply have a live mother at the end of labor and a healthy baby.

Yeah, you are alive, but in no condition to care for your baby, the most important job and the hardest job there is in all human kind...the responsibility is unrelenting and so important. The nurses, doctors, technicians, and machines in the hospital cannot make up for you what you need to do for your baby.

A healthy baby needs its mama to be there for him/her.
post #19 of 80
Sadly, women expect very little for themselves when it comes to thier bodies.
SADLY, ITA with this statement. :
post #20 of 80
Originally Posted by applejuice
SADLY, ITA with this statement. :
I think it may depend on the woman, I believe there are many many women with the belief and the hope they will have their babies at least vaginally. I had always had the belief that I would birth vaginally and naturally. I always knew I would breastfeed my babies. I always had a sense of how I would parent my children. Early on. Not in my early 20s but as a pre-teen and teenager. I believed that like every woman before me in my maternal and paternal families, that I would have babies the natural way, the "right" way. I know there are women who do not have this inherent belief -- and that is sad, but I had it, it was like a part of who I was. My grandmothers had given birth with long labors, had vaginal breech deliveries, and one even had a baby with a birth defect prematurely that ended up to be my father, that now they would not let women give birth vaginally too. (he was born with his intestines on the outside of the body) My mother had given birth in 42nd week of pregnancy to me, and I weighed nearly 10lbs -- so for me I never had any doubt that my body was capable of doing what thousands of women before me had done.

I read posts here and elsewhere from women seeking the perfect birth, the experience they believe their bodies will perform, that through their pain they will triumph through natural childbirth and I often think "I was one of those women". It just wasnt in the cards for me due to my uterine anomaly. And there are a lots of women who try, and for whatever reason, sometimes legitimate reasons, do not have their ideal birth. Many seem to make peace with that much sooner than others -- I am not so sure it is because they were misinformed or distrusted their bodies abilities.
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