This is a great idea!
I too have been on a journey that certainly evolved after the birth of my first child and is continuing to evolve on a daily basis.
With my first child I think I was probably a long way from the person I am now, I had no preconceived ideas about what I wanted from this, I was just ready to do whatever the doctors told me to do really.
My membrane ruptured some 48 hours before my son was eventually born and contractions didn't really start for some 20 - 30 hours later. Rather than accepting that, or even reading up on it, I was so excited and such a novice to all this, that I just sat in bed waiting for it to all start.......which of course it didn't and by then I was so exhausted anyway. So......to cut a very long story very short, he was born by vacuum extraction, I had an epidural, which didn't work down one side and triggered an asthma attack and then I was stitched inefficiently after an episiotomy that two years later my doc told me to either get pregnant again and hope to god I tore in the same place and it healed better, or they would repair it for me it was that bad! I
remember the hospital being dark and dim so god only knows what the hell the doctor stitching me up was seeing?
We did bond, it did take time and breastfeeding wasn't the piece of cake I was expecting either. I did have some minor depression too, all related now I know.
Fast forward two years and baby number two was born in a far more gentle way. No drugs, no inductions, no interventions, just me, my ball, dh and my midwife. He wasn't born at home, but at a birthing center. He changed my outlook on parenting and birth and everything really. He healed me in so many ways. MamaJen has already mentioned it, but it was the empowerment that was so overwhelming with his birth.
Funnily enough he wasn't the calmest of babies, he fed beautifully and we bonded instantly but he had ear problems (we later discovered he only had around 60% hearing) so I carried him in a sling a lot of the time to soothe him. We had already moved onto cloth diapers before he was born, so I suppose this was step number two.
Step three came when he just would not settle on his own and the only way we could get him to sleep was to co-sleep. Again, this was not something I had much knowledge on or experience and so we learned on the job!
Baby number three was a waterbirth. She was meant to be a home birth but we were relocated to Brussels and the only homebirth team there would not come out to us as we were outside the radius of the area they served. I did a lot of research and with the knowledge that I could do this, it was my body and I wanted to birth the way I wanted to, I needed to find an OB who would support us in our decisions for a natural birth and eventually found a fairly cooperative one who had actually trained in the UK, so was aware of holistic, mother led birth!
I was left alone with my dh for most of her birth and eventually caught her myself (well, she floated really) whilst the labor nurse had rushed off to get the OB ("you can't push until she gets here!" was the comment she passed as she left the room - yup - okay - got ya!
Anyway, we did all the same for dd (in fact, even now at three, she still sleeps in with us, she has a mattress on the floor in our room).....we have moved so far from the birth of ds1 8 years ago.
We are hoping to have one more child one day, I recently suffered a missed miscarriage so am currently healing from that....I truly hope to have a happy story. Obviously a home birth will be our goal for this dream.
You know, with the previous births, I didn't really do much preparation for conception........again, the usual extra couple of glasses were a big help in the actual deed, but I was so sure I was going to have another each time after the last, that I probably didn't even lose that extra pound or two of baby weight.
This time, I have lost all the baby weight and more as there is a much larger gap between now, I took pre natals, gave dh vitamins etc, stayed off coffee and alcohol and.........well...........nature is just that........nature - it has a funny way sometimes!!
With regards to crunch as a family, we are a little soggy at times, I mean we eat organically, recycle, we have a pretty good selection of toxin free cleaning stuff, but I still sometimes will whip out the bleach first or jump in the car over getting on my bike. But that is what I love about this parenting lark, you have the expansion room........I am so pleased I found mothering though, so many of ideas come from here and it often helps me re evaluate or get back on the wagon when I occasionally fall off!!