S/O A portrait of you....pre and post birth...the woman you have become through your mothering. :) - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-06-2009, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So..this thread is in an effort to get a sense of how you have regarded your body and self through all the phases of your motherhood...pregnancy, birth, parenting, etc.. Which is to say....

How did you regard your body, did your feelings about your body change and how did that feeling shift after giving birth to your child(ren)?

How did you regard yourself, in relation to this life and other people, prior to and after becoming a mother?

What shift occured in you from a spiritual standpoint? Meaning, on a SOUL level...how has becoming a mother shaped you. Do you feel powerful...was birth empowering? Maybe your birth was not...is mothering empowering for you? Do you feel as though you have become your true self after becoming a mother....?

I do very much want to keep this a calm and respectful discussion....no right answers here, only truth...yours, mine, ours! Even if your answer is: Birth was terrible, mothering is worse! - no wrong answers...only a place for us to reflect on who we were....and who we are now that we are mothers.

GO!

Me and DH ...lovin' DD dust.gif(6/08) and DS kid.gif(11/09) Plus NEW BABY!! DD baby.gif (UC-5/12) We heartbeat.gif Water Birth/Homebirth/No Vax or Circ/BF/BW/Country Livin'! chicken3.gif

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I am still processing my labor/birth experience. Oddly enough, I feel very comfortable as a mother. I adapted very well. It was really difficult in the beginning but I feel better than I ever have. I wanted this baby SO very much. It was an intense longing, aching. I feel very whole now. Very connected. I know I am where I am meant to be. I feel much more mature than I did before ds. More calm, more centered, more present. Much less concerned with silly little things. Much more like a woman. I have learned so much about babies, life, love, mothering, relationships, EVERYTHING, since having ds.

Though, I feel so right in my role as mother, I still can't quite believe that I was in labor, that I gave birth. Strange, huh.

I have boys! My first baby boy was born 10/08 and my second baby boy was born 7/12

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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You didn't answer your own questions!?

For me, I'm empowered, but not anywhere near finished in terms of growth. In the last 10years, I've had 4 children and some losses. I've advocated for my children in ways that were never done for me as a child. I've become extremely tolerant of other people and much less judgemental. I've become more gentle with my children as the years have passed. Each year and with each child, I'm a different mom...for the better.

As far as knowing myself....kind of. I can see my weaknesses and strengths now in ways that I couldn't maybe 3 years ago. I've accepted some things about myself that used to bother me (ADD for one) and I'm learning to love myself and value my personal preferences without apology. I make no apology for the ADD either, I just work around it and appreciate the nice things about it.

I like my body more than when I was a hot/sexy 20yo. I wish I appreciated it then too, so I don't want to waste any more time not loving my body.

I'm also a better friend more and more. I'm much more open to other people without being overly open. I'm a better listener.

As far as spiritual, I've learned to accept that I'm an athiest (Secular Humanist). Parenting has taught me to love life as it is, even the painful parts. Birth and parenting has definitely given me more power. I became assertive when I had my first child and have become more so each year since. That shy young girl who would harm herself before making someone else uncomfortable is gone. As a mother, I now feel that I have a responsibility to be strong. Turning 30 was big for me. I felt like I would be silly to try to be cool. Now, I have to be the leader, an example for others, be comfortable with myself, be an authority figure, be assertive, no more shyness, no more shying away from discomfort and no more getting pushed around.

But...I don't know who I would have become if I didn't have children. It would have probably taken much longer to be where I am as far as personal growth. The painful parts have probably made me more of who I am than some of the other parts though.

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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Old 07-06-2009, 08:49 PM
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My birthing experience was awesome. Besides being immensely spiritually rewarding and empowering, it now and will always remain the touchstone of my reasoning why I am allowed to do whatever it is I damn well please so long as it isn't hurting anyone else.

The sentence, "I brought forth human life through my vagina without any pain relief in my own living room" has been the beginning of many a sentence ending with any variation of:

"so yes, I am doing that."

or

"so, yeah, you can't stop me."

or

"so, who says I can't."

Basically, it really brought about this power within me that says I can do anything.

As far as my body, I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. Even before my daughter, and even as an obese woman -- I feel like I have more confidence than many women (sadly) though, I would be lying if I didn't say I didn't have insecurities like everyone else.

What pregnancy and birth did really, was make me feel part of this whole magical, miraculous, wonderful thing that is creation.

I am at the center of the pulse of life. I made, carried, nourished, and birthed a human being....without even trying, really (for all intents and purposes). All I did was like, have sex, then eat well (mostly) and do some yoga positions, really.

Can you imagine what I could do if I really put all my power into something?
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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My birth experience was very unpleasant, and my experience with the early months (perhaps the whole first year) of mothering was, at times, even worse.

That said, mothering a toddler and now preschooler has been possibly the most wonderful, empowering experience of my life. I have always been a sedentary and risk-averse person, but being with my ultra-active and fun-loving child is slowly changing that. Although I am still obese and my body is bigger than it's ever been, I actually feel as though I'm more physically fit and active than I've been in my adult life.

I'm still more risk-averse than I'd like to model for my child, but I'm definitely making progress on it.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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My "birth" experiences almost destroyed me. I went into motherhood feeling like a complete and utter failure as a woman, and I had no confidence about my ability to mother my child. I also had a great deal of difficulty breastfeeding ds1 at first (no supply issues, ever - but my niples were really badly cracked, bleeding and scabbed). I was in pain all the time. The engine on our car blew out the day I came home from the hospital (we eventually discovered it was a cracked engine block, because a rod slipped). We had no money. I adored ds1, and loved being a mom on a very deep level, but I was a mess.

I've been a mom for 16 years. I don't really know how it's changed me at this point, because I don't really remember how it felt not to be a mom. Birth, otoh, has ripped my heart out, and badly damaged me on a lot of levels.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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Old 07-06-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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Birthing sucked, and I'm still working through it. Labor was fine... for the first 50 hours. The c-section that followed, though, and the months of recovery and PPD (which I'm still dealing with) were not so fine.

I feel like it's too early to see any real change. DS is only 13mo, I'm just getting real help for the PPD which is still hanging around, and only now can I see a light at the end of this 13mo hellhole. I'm finding, like IntrovertExtrovert, that now that DS is toddling I can really connect with him and the stress of a baby (I've always hated the baby stage) is behind me. Now I have a person in front of me, and I REALLY like people.

My body is..... very much the same, except my nipples of course. I'm less self-conscious about it, but much more conservative with it. I'm always surprised at the anger directed at me for going back to my pre-birth size, but . Live and learn.

Soul-wise, I'm a bit damaged. Being a mother has brought a lot of things to light that I've tried to keep hidden... my anger management, my deep resentment of my parents, a problem with confrontation and disagreement. However, I feel like I'm starting to get better, and I hope that this optimism sticks with me, and I continue to be stronger for it every day.

I'll let you know how it turns out....... in about 30 years.

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Old 07-06-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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i often feel out of place in conversations about "parenting" or "mothering" because for me, i don't know that i feel like much has changed - except that i now have this tiny new friend (well, 15 months old friend - but still quite tiny and new) who loves to hang out with me all the time. i just adore her. and dp calls her his best friend. it's all very sweet and funny, and silly...i really love this "mothering" thing, but it has not necessarily changed me. i can relate to others on a new level, based on sharing the feelings that go along with being a parent.

i'm probably more confident than i was a year or so ago, but i feel like confidence is something that is always being gained (hopefully!) and i would have become more confident along a different path as well.

i don't know. i just think that i am what i am and that is not necessarily well defined by mothering - and i don't know that i want to conduct the analization and defining of myself. i know myself quite well, but don't really spell it out to others.

i loved birth. it was long and hard work, but it was great. i am impressed with myself for having a 45 hour labor in my house, but you know, i would still be impressed with myself if i had done things differently. i just did what seemed best to me. if something else had seemed best, i would have done that. so i don't really feel that birth "changed" me. it was just something i did. and maybe it gave me a little bit of insight into myself...i was pretty lazy during labor and annoyed and angry...but also reflective and so interested and excited about what was taking place.

i think that is my non answer!

Katie
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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My first birth was horrible and it took me a long time to process my feelings of failure which was hard, i absolutely LOVED my body in my pregnancies, i felt definately like a birth goddess.
Raising my first was hard, family was unsupportive with all my "goofy ideas" and being 19, I learned a lot fast and truly have loved every minute.
My 2nd birth was amazing, and empowering, I felt that I had made my goal. I love my womanly body and embrace my curves, I have grown comfortable in the skin I am in.

Having children has helped me become more connected to the "one", I feel. But I have to admit for awhile I went through a time where I felt I didn't know who I was, yes, I was a mother and a wife, but who WAS I? I had some good sisters that helped me get through that, and now I feel blissful and blessed can't wait to just keep growing, and gettin old someday and watching all of this unfold

:'n mama to Lotus and Zen :
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:43 AM
 
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I didn't have DD until I was 42, so maybe my perspective is slightly different. DD came as sort of a surprise and DH and I were married for many years before she was born. We were collectively blown away by the big change, and honestly, I think we both felt complete and happy before she came. But, she has added a great deal of happiness to our family and I wouldn't change that for anything in the world. Birth was not an empowering thing for me...I was relieved when it was over. I don't really think about the birthing aspect of it...DD was a little premature and I was just greatly relieved that she was born healthy. I don't feel that having DD made me "complete" per se, I just think that it has positively forced us to shift our focus to things that we never dreamed we were capable of doing. I didn't know I was capable of so much unconditional love. Before, I didn't know what it was like to feel completely and totally responsible for another human being.

As far as my own body: I think that by the time I had DD, my body was already taking the reluctant plunge into the beginning stages of menopause. Appearance-wise, I look the same...but now at almost 46 I am really starting to feel a physical shift into another season of my life.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:08 AM
 
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Becoming pregnant was hard for us. It took us over 6 years to conceive. 6 long, depressing, self-revealing, heartbreaking years. 6 years that totally changed how I approached being a mother. I definitely would not be the same mother if it had happened easily.

I am much less self-conscious about my body now than I was previously. I'm still uncomfortable with my weight but with more of a "deal with" attitude (instead of my previous apologetic demeanor). I comfortable enough to finally dress the way I have always wanted to & felt most comfortable instead of how I think others think I should (& this interestingly has meant that I now actually get dressed everyday even when I'm not leaving the house). I enjoyed being pregnant & bfing & am proud of what my body has accomplished.

I am SO much more confident & self-assured now. Before so many of my relationships were uncomfortable & awkward because I was the only woman of all of my friends who was struggling with infertility. But I also find that I no longer need other people as much as I used to. I feel so much stronger & self-confident.

A friend said to me recently that she had been discussing me with her partner. They agreed that when they saw me for the first time with ds it was like seeing someone who had always been missing an arm & then when you see them with an arm it's like "ah, that's what was missing!". She said with no one else had motherhood seemed like such a perfect fit - the thing that was missing. That really captures how I feel as well.

I think I feel much more at peace with the world now.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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Old 07-07-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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I have to say this has been the best thread I have ever read on MDC hands down. Seeing the diverse answers expressing very different feelings and experiences is beautiful to me. I want to thank everyone who has participated in this thread and I hope more mamas join in

For me pregnancy was not the best. I have always struggled with accepting my body, even though I was actually always very thin, I never saw myself that way so gaining weight was hard. That mixed with my life long fear of pregnancy and birth and it was not a winning combo even though my pregnancy was very planned and very wanted.
I knew very early on that going to a Dr. was out. I was not even interested in that avenue at all. I figured out, eventually, that the universe had a plan and I found out about UP/UC on the internet and it felt right from the start, like a huge relief. I started reading and learning and asking questions and planning and preparing for a home birth unasissted and it was the beginning of the empowerment for me. That time in my life was the beginning of a renewed interest in learning for me.
The pregnany was uneventful after that.
I just ate and walked and slept and relaxed.
I coasted right up to the day my water broke.
Labor wasn't even as bad as I had always imagined. Luckily!
I labored for 48 hours, but most of it was not hard labor at all.
The last 12 hours slowly got more intense until I was ready to push dd out and when I did I opened a very large compact that I had and put it on the floor and I squatted over it in my bathroom and just pushed and pushed changing positions sometimes. I got to watch her crown and it really motivated to me to do those final pushes.
WHen she came out it was the most amazing feeling, I had done it, she was healthy and GORGEOUS.
That day I was reborn as well. As a woman who is confident, doesn't just act that way.
I know what I can do, I know what I'm made of. I am not scared anymore.
Like a pp said, I use that as a reason why I *am* going to do something I want to do.
And like yet another pp said, I have a lovely new best little girlfriend.

Motherhood has made me feel like a real woman.
But I still have so much to learn, and boy, isn't that exciting! What a beautiful gift, God always plans life waaaaaaaay better than I ever could! I do feel blessed to have had such a great birth experience, esp. in light of knowing of so many women who haven't.


SOrry for the dissertation!
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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The evolution of me:

Well, before dd I was fairly happy with my body, thought I looked decent. I was never satisfied with life though, always moving from one thing or career or house, to the next. I finished up my degree after switching majors numerous times and was proud of myself for that. Being a poor girl from a broken and crazy home this was a big deal. We decided a child would complete our family and I became pregnant at 30.

Pregnancy was so powerful and life-changing for me. I felt like a goddess, literally. I was creating life in my body and it was awesome! I didn't care how big I got (though I didn't get huge) and I was just genuinely happy.

Then my delivery date came and went and I didn't appear to be going into labor by myself. Docs wanted to induce, I didn't want them to. DH was at school (military) for the last 2 months and he had only one week to come home for the birth. So we agreed to the induction. He came home the day before we went into the hospital. During pregnancy, I had read (in Mothering mag I think) that there is a story about how in labor a mother goes into the spirit realm to search for her baby's soul and bring it back. That kept me going in Pit induced labor. I didn't get my epidural until about 1.5 hours into the contractions (very painful!). Then I started to push, the baby was coming down at a strange angle, the epidural failed during the last 10 min (of 40 min of pushing). I was screaming. It was chaotic, dh nearly fainted! The baby's heartrate was dropping, I started to panic. The doc said if I didn't get the baby out NOW they were going to cut me open. The pain was so intense, I was climbing up the wall. I instinctively knew that if I could change positions it would allow the baby to straighten herself out. Well, they used forceps, pulled her out, leaving me with 2nd deg tears, and I got stitched up. It was a traumatic birth experience for me.

Breastfeeding came next, was easy at first then began to be painful. After 2 bouts of clogged ducts, one bout of mastitis I was a pro. I nursed for 2 years. I loved it! It made me feel like natural woman (like the song!).

Now that I look back at my experiences postpartum, I'm beginning to realize I had postpartum depression/anxiety w/depersonalization and derealization. At the time, in the weeks following birth, after dh went back to school, I felt outside of myself. I felt like a literal stranger in the town I had lived in for 5 years. I was taking care of the baby but was almost out of my mind. In my own head though, I thought (as a new mom) that this was what it was like for every new mom, the head space you had to go into to become a mother. I felt like my soul was still in the spirit realm with my baby's soul (since I felt they had forced her to come earlier than she had liked). Now, I realize that that was depersonalization/derealization from post-traumatic stress disorder (which I have, undiagnosed naturally).

So, almost 3 years later the experience of Motherhood has changed me permanently and immensely. I am an almost completely different person. I mean that in not in how other people perceive me, but in the sense my essence is different. I have entered in to the sorority of sisters who have brought forth life. I am happy and almost settled. I still have my adventures that will come to be. For now, I am happy smelling the roses and watching the hummingbirds buzz by with my dd. We are a family unit and nothing could be better!

As far as my body image. I am more or less what I was before baby. I wear the same size clothes but they fit differently. I am in the process of reshaping my body through working out and eating healthy. It's an ongoing process. I don't feel any less sexy or beautiful though. I wear my body with pride. I'm a mother.

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:33 AM
 
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Oh and I wanted to say that this thread was cathartic for me as I suspect it will be for many posters. Thank you for this opportunity to catalog our experience in Mothering.

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Old 07-07-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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My pregnancies were super easy. My labors and deliveries were also very easy.

For me the hardest part is in the mothering after the baby comes. My "babies" are now 10 and 6. I really like being with my kids now. I'll be honest, I think babies are boring. With toddlers you have to be an entertainer. I love being able to talk to my kids now and take them places and watch them discover things.

Before kids, I was more of an introvert who sometimes (okay, a lot of times) let people walk all over me. I am much stronger now. I use the word "no." (And not just with my children. ) I didn't know all I was capable of until I had kids. To protect them or keep them safe I would do anything, and I mean ANYTHING.

Thanks for this thread, it's awesome!
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AverysMomma View Post
So..this thread is in an effort to get a sense of how you have regarded your body and self through all the phases of your motherhood...pregnancy, birth, parenting, etc.. Which is to say....

How did you regard your body, did your feelings about your body change and how did that feeling shift after giving birth to your child(ren)?

How did you regard yourself, in relation to this life and other people, prior to and after becoming a mother?

What shift occured in you from a spiritual standpoint? Meaning, on a SOUL level...how has becoming a mother shaped you. Do you feel powerful...was birth empowering? Maybe your birth was not...is mothering empowering for you? Do you feel as though you have become your true self after becoming a mother....?

I do very much want to keep this a calm and respectful discussion....no right answers here, only truth...yours, mine, ours! Even if your answer is: Birth was terrible, mothering is worse! - no wrong answers...only a place for us to reflect on who we were....and who we are now that we are mothers.

GO!
i used to think of myself as kind of a flake...like, i had no follow-through. if something got tough, or i couldn't do it "well enough" to suit my perfectionism, i would just quit. so i had a trail of half-finished projects, several majors and minors added and dropped in college.

once i got pregnant, i started reading, and i decided i wanted a natural birth at a birth center. i had several near-panic moments as labor approached, because i knew that i was a wimp, and i was afraid i'd back down, just like always do when the going gets tough.

but. i did it. i gave birth naturally. to a posterior 9 lb 4 oz beautiful baby boy.

and breastfeeding sucked for the first 10 weeks of his life. it was absolutely awful. it hurt so bad and it was so hard.

but. he's almost 6 months old and we're still breastfeeding.

so, i'd say that i have learned that i am a bit more stubborn than i once thought, especially when it comes to something i am passionate about. on a soul level, i think becoming a mother has helped fine tune what is important to me, what my priorities are, who is important in my life and who isn't. i am more assertive now than i ever was before i had a baby, even in a quiet sort of way. like, why yes, i will nurse my baby in public. i will blow off my family's efforts to get me to quit breastfeeding when it was terrible. i will listen to my heart and do what i know is right for me and my baby. and if other people don't like what i do, they can lump it.

my body....i LOVED being pregnant. i felt beautiful and sexy and amazing, just because i was growing this life. even when i gained 85 lbs i still felt good.

now...well, i am still losing that 85 lbs. and that's been hard. i don't really like the stretched-out deflated balloon look that my belly has. remember how i said that breastfeeding was terrible in the beginning? well, part of that was that DS refused to latch to the left side. and even though i pumped and pumped, the left side just never produced very much. so long story short, i am lopsided. my right breast is 3x the size of my left. and i love breastfeeding, and i am content giving my baby the best, but there are days where i feel dumpy and lumpy and weird-looking. so, it's been an adjustment to get used to and like my "new" self. i don't think i look sexy anymore, if i am honest.

is mothering empowering? sometimes, yes. sometimes it is amazing. i have this little amazing person in my life. he loves me and i love him and that's amazing. sometimes mothering makes me feel dumber and more out of my league than anything else ever has. hands down, being a mom is the hardest job i have ever had. but also the most amazing.

have i become my true self? no, but i am moving in that direction. becoming a mother has definitely helped me discover more about myself -- what is important to me, etc. i'm alot more crunchy than i ever knew.

helpmeet. mama to Sam (1.18.09 ) and another baby boy (due 2.1.2011 ). planning our first .
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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I have struggled with some serious body image issues most of my life. Before I became pregnant I was going to therapy and working through some of my issues. While I was pregnant I have never felt so beautiful and strong in my entire life. I had a slightly uncomfortable pregnancy but for the most part it was never difficult. For the first time in my life I felt like my body was doing what it was supposed to do.

My labor and delivery didn't go exactly as I had hoped but it was still an amazing exsperience. I can't believe that my husband and I created life and that I carried and nurtured that life within me for nine months. Birth was a hard, long, and beautiful process.

Breastfeeding has definetly had positive and negative effect on who I am now. I loved to bf my son. It was a hard process to get started but we made it. Ds never gained weight so in the end I had to give up bf. I was so devistated! I felt like I was missing out on a very amazing part of motherhood. How unfair is it that I had to give up somthing that I loved and worked so hard to achieve! I feel silling even thinking that because I know that stopping nursing was the right decision. My dh and family were so supportive through everything. But I still felt and feel like I've been cheated out of a wonderful mothering past time.

Raising my son and being a sahm has been wonderful, but hard. I was a nanny before I had my son and knew a lot about children. I still think that I did but you can't know what being a mother is like until you are one. It's the most amazing job I've ever had. I'm so glad that I have a wonderful family and husband to support me. Somedays I just look and ds and marvel at what a miracle life is.

But me now isn't the me I want to be. I was worried durring pregnancy that I would go back to now likeing myself again and I was right. I try so hard to love my body and what it has done and continues to do for me. But since having ds we don't have any money for me to be able to afford going back to therapy so I guess until the day comes that we do I'm just going to have to wake up every morning and try to love my body how it is and not to say that I love it when it looks the way I want it to.

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Old 07-25-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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My birthing experience was empowering and surreal. I found a strength and confidence I never had before, and didn't need any drugs.

After the birth was very difficult for me. I was struggling with PPD and had an undiagnosed thyroid problem. My doctor wasn't any help, and I dropped all my pre-pregnancy weight and an extra 15lbs. I was 100lbs, and am 5'6. I felt like I would never be a good mother, and was too weak and tired to take care of myself. 8 months postpartum, I found the strength to get help from someone who would listen to me. I started counselling, and went to an acupuncturist which has helped me have energy once again. I've finally started to gain weight, and am feeling like my old self again.

I SO wish I was prepared for postpartum life. I would have got help from someone who would listen sooner so I could have been a better mother and wife.

Motherhood has been challenging so far, but it's making me a more patient and loving person. And I feel blessed to have a wonderful family.

Carly BFing Mom to DS and loving wife to DH
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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Pregnancy... my midwives had me too stressed to enjoy it. They bailed on me last minute and sent me to a hospital (far from my home, by myself, though I asked if someone would go with me) who told me if I didn't let them induce me, they wouldn't care for me when I came back in labor. In my angry, very pregnant state of mind (add to it, the midwife shamelessly played the "dead baby, dead mama" card and never even called to see if we LIVED after), I let them induce me.

Never again. I went forty hours, no epidural, until I wasn't dilating anymore. Got the epi, three hours later had the Boy. Had a nurse call me chubby several times, a few forcibly continued vaginal exams.

But, despite the OB asking me if I would take a csection I don't know how many times, I did it. I birthed him... but he was induced. He didn't get all the time in me he was supposed to and that breaks my heart.

I feel ashamed and weak for his birth. I failed him. Had a nurse shout at me after she scooped him off my chest and across the room while I sobbed and begged for him. He was FINE. She was just a UAV. The hospital admin I called later totally blew me off. After his birth, I seriously had some dark thoughts about those nurses and their future births.

Destroyed my faith in my DH. He let that happen. He let them take him from me, he didn't knock someone across the room when I screamed and tried to get away.

Yuck.




But.

The next baby, DH has promised me, anyhow I want to birth, anywhere, he will make it happen. If I want a hillside in New Zealand, I get it. He took care of me postpartum. He is the sole reason I am able to nurse our boy. It was not his fault, the midwife had told us our baby was in trouble, I was in trouble, and he was terrified he'd lose us both. Scare tactics much?


As a mother, I'm okay. I love him to pieces, but I feel inadequate. Hey, I failed him at birth, I must be totally unworthy.


But too, I have protected him when he needs it. When a ped tried to retract him, I stopped it, though I had to remove his hands from my baby, shout, and jerk the child away from the six foot + man. DH... sat there.

Issues, huh?

Just tonight. Been thinking on his birth and it's all I can do not to call up the birth center and say "Oh, by the way, we survived. Thought you might want to know."
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I posted a few weeks ago, but revisited this thread today. After reading some of the subsequent responses, I came to a realization that I'm extremely happy and fortunate to have a wonderful, living, breathing child. Doesn't matter how she was born or under what circumstances. She's here. She's a human being. Her mama and papa love her.

I was adopted. What mattered in my life was that I grew up feeling secure. How I came into this world really didn't matter. The fact that my birth mother might not have screamed in pleasure from birth matters little to me. How you are loved and accepted as a human being DOES MATTER. Sorry, I usually don't use all caps but I feel that you can be born under the best circumstances, but how you are raised and loved is what contributes to the actual person. As moms, we want the best experience possible. As moms, we have huge responsibilities post-birth.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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I posted a few weeks ago, but revisited this thread today. After reading some of the subsequent responses, I came to a realization that I'm extremely happy and fortunate to have a wonderful, living, breathing child. Doesn't matter how she was born or under what circumstances. She's here. She's a human being. Her mama and papa love her.

I was adopted. What mattered in my life was that I grew up feeling secure. How I came into this world really didn't matter. The fact that my birth mother might not have screamed in pleasure from birth matters little to me. How you are loved and accepted as a human being DOES MATTER. Sorry, I usually don't use all caps but I feel that you can be born under the best circumstances, but how you are raised and loved is what contributes to the actual person. As moms, we want the best experience possible. As moms, we have huge responsibilities post-birth.
While I agree from a child's perspective that most of this is absolutely correct, from a mother's perspective it's dead wrong. For me, it DID matter how I birthed my son, and because it didn't turn out the way I believe it should/could have, I was disappointed and had to go INTO motherhood feeling like a failure.

So while, yes, it may not matter much to the child - it matters VERY MUCH to the mother. This is our bodies we're talking about here.

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Old 07-27-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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While I agree from a child's perspective that most of this is absolutely correct, from a mother's perspective it's dead wrong. For me, it DID matter how I birthed my son, and because it didn't turn out the way I believe it should/could have, I was disappointed and had to go INTO motherhood feeling like a failure.

So while, yes, it may not matter much to the child - it matters VERY MUCH to the mother. This is our bodies we're talking about here.
It all depends on the individual. It doesn't matter that much to some mothers, either. My SIL was just as glad to have a c-section. My sister didn't really care that much, except for the hard recovery (she had twins - the first vaginally, the second by c/s...then the second was taken to another hospital, and she couldn't realistically get there, with a toddler, another newborn and a c/s incision).

As a child born by c-section, however, it mattered to me. From the time I first comprehended what my mom's scar meant, it bothered me. It always has. Emotionally, I don't feel that I was born at all...more hatched or something, like a pod person in a B SF movie...

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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While I agree from a child's perspective that most of this is absolutely correct, from a mother's perspective it's dead wrong. For me, it DID matter how I birthed my son, and because it didn't turn out the way I believe it should/could have, I was disappointed and had to go INTO motherhood feeling like a failure.
I understand and I totally respect that experience/view. I guess my perspective is slightly different because I have a lot of friends and family who have desperately wanted children and have had trouble either conceiving or birthing. The actual act of birthing wasn't important to me. My ideas of failure are much less connected to physical things than to things I have control over. I think a lot of moms might feel "failure" because they were not able to have the birthing experience that is deemed "perfect." My body did the best it could and in another age and time my DD would not have survived. I consider myself the most blessed person in the world...even if my body did not respond in the way it should have.

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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It all depends on the individual. It doesn't matter that much to some mothers, either. My SIL was just as glad to have a c-section. My sister didn't really care that much, except for the hard recovery (she had twins - the first vaginally, the second by c/s...then the second was taken to another hospital, and she couldn't realistically get there, with a toddler, another newborn and a c/s incision).
You're right, of course. I have many friends who couldn't care less - the point was having the baby out, not how they did it. I can understand and appreciate that.

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Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
I understand and I totally respect that experience/view. I guess my perspective is slightly different because I have a lot of friends and family who have desperately wanted children and have had trouble either conceiving or birthing. The actual act of birthing wasn't important to me. My ideas of failure are much less connected to physical things than to things I have control over. I think a lot of moms might feel "failure" because they were not able to have the birthing experience that is deemed "perfect." My body did the best it could and in another age and time my DD would not have survived. I consider myself the most blessed person in the world...even if my body did not respond in the way it should have.
I also have many friends and relatives as well who have struggled with infertility and loss. I think it goes beyond that into a very personal way of looking at pregnancy and birth. I see pregnancy and birth as my first chance at parenting - where baby and I are getting to know each other, and I saw birth as my first real chance to usher baby into the world with a gentle, welcoming, celebratory birth. I was saddened and upset, then, when what he got instead was a rough c-section and 6 weeks of miserable nursing with a depressed, totally broken-down, post-surgery, exhausted momma.

I'm in no way implying that other women who had c-sections share this opinion. Just saying that I saw it a different way. I'm also not implying that I am in any way not "blessed." I know how blessed I am to have a healthy, living baby in my arms at night, and am beyond happy that that was the case for DS - it wasn't so for his little sibling, who we just lost. Regretting how his birth went in no way means I'm not grateful for my living son, just that I wish it had been different and I'm determined to make it different for my next child's birth. I DO have control over my birthing situation and there are things I would choose to do differently that I think directly contributed to my c-section with him.

I have no illusions of a "perfect" birth - I just want one that is gentle to the both of us and conducive to bonding - which my first birth wasn't. That's all.

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Old 07-31-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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I honestly cannot remeber life before motherhood. I am far less tolerant the older I get. My body is basically the same, I bear no scars from haiving babies and suffered no birth trauma. I just don't feel as effective a parent as I once did.

 Mom of many minions . . . babyf.gif jumpers.gif     jumpers.gif     jumpers.gif
"And when our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own." Margaret Mead 
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Old 07-31-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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How did you regard your body, did your feelings about your body change and how did that feeling shift after giving birth to your child(ren)?
While I am overweight, I didn't really have body issues before or after pregnancy. Sure, I would like to lose weight but not enough to really do something about it.

HOW my body functioned during pregnancy and after birth and breastfeeding absolutely amazed me.

How did you regard yourself, in relation to this life and other people, prior to and after becoming a mother?

I am definately a better person now that I am a mother. Pre-child, I was rather harsh and judgemental. I am much softer and accepting now.

What shift occured in you from a spiritual standpoint? Meaning, on a SOUL level...how has becoming a mother shaped you. Do you feel powerful...was birth empowering? Maybe your birth was not...is mothering empowering for you? Do you feel as though you have become your true self after becoming a mother....?

I can't even begin to describe my spiritual shift.

I feel both powerful and vulnerable as mother.

Powerful because I am charged with raising a wonderful child. I am excited by the journey (and scared)

Vulnerable because after having a child, I finally loved someone more than I loved myself and would scarifice anything to protect him.

Birth was nothing like I expected. I had an emergency C-section. While I would have prefered not to have had it, I am ok with it because of the seriousness of the situation.

Am I my true self after becoming a mother? I don't know. I do know my own faults and weaknesses have become very apparent to me and that is ok. By recognizing them, I can work on improving them.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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Childbirth was an amazing, empowering experience for me. If only I was allowed to put "had natural childbirth at home" on my resume! I had always been a bit sickly as a child, and viewed my body not as something with potential, but as something with limits. Being pregnant, giving birth, and then nursing round-the-clock made me feel like my body was capable of so much more than I gave it credit for. After giving birth (well, after the initial recovery) I was much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was before. Giving birth and learning to breastfeed meant being unclothed in front of someone other than DH, and I realized there were more important things than the shape of my body. But I also learned to *like* my shape after becoming a mom. There's nothing like being without a waist for months on end to make you appreciate it when it comes back. And I would look at my small breasts and think, yea, they're an A-cup now, but they could be/were a DD.

My DS has given me the gift of gab. There's nothing like having to keep up your end of the conversation with a toddler all day long to loosen the tongue. I'm still a quiet person by nature, but I'm much better at small talk and casual conversation now.

I'm definitely less judgemental than I used to be, and when I hear something "shocking," I'm always waiting to hear the rest of the story, to find out the justification for unusual behaviour. I'm kinder, I think, but also less tolerant of deliberate cruelty. I tear up every single time I hear that we've lost another Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.

I'm less fun than I used to be. I don't like having to be the one to ruin my DS's fun by saying "Don't run in the house" or "don't put that in your mouth/nose/ear" or "no, you can't have chips right before supper." I say all these things because I think it's part of being a mom to keep my son safe and teach him limits, but it still feels crummy every time I get the stink-face from him because I've told him something he doesn't want to hear.

I have less patience with DH, unfortunately. Before our son was born, I honestly didn't mind if he was 2 hours late, as long as I knew where he was. But now, if he's 2 hours late from work, he's only home for an hour before DS goes to bed, which means DS hardly gets any time with his dad, and I hardly get any help from DH. And my frustration with DH is no fun for either of us.

Spiritually, motherhood really clarified my beleifs for me. After a miscarriage almost 2 years ago (at 9 weeks), I was heartbroken and looking for comfort in any way, shape or form. But I realized that I truly, deeply in my heart, do not believe in a soul separate from the body, or an afterlife, or a concious higher power. I am most definitely an atheist.

Am I my true self now? I don't know. Am I more of a grown-up? Definitely.

Married to DH in '99, DS born 2004, DD born Sept 19, 2009!
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:04 AM
 
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So..this thread is in an effort to get a sense of how you have regarded your body and self through all the phases of your motherhood...pregnancy, birth, parenting, etc.. Which is to say....

How did you regard your body, did your feelings about your body change and how did that feeling shift after giving birth to your child(ren)?

How did you regard yourself, in relation to this life and other people, prior to and after becoming a mother?

What shift occured in you from a spiritual standpoint? Meaning, on a SOUL level...how has becoming a mother shaped you. Do you feel powerful...was birth empowering? Maybe your birth was not...is mothering empowering for you? Do you feel as though you have become your true self after becoming a mother....?

I do very much want to keep this a calm and respectful discussion....no right answers here, only truth...yours, mine, ours! Even if your answer is: Birth was terrible, mothering is worse! - no wrong answers...only a place for us to reflect on who we were....and who we are now that we are mothers.

GO!

This is a pretty old thread but I am really feeling a need to talk with other mama's about this. My mom has FTL dementia and I have now had two children since "her event". We (mom and I) used to have a really tenuous relationship. Sometimes dementia makes people combative. Mom used to be abrasive and selfish, now she is calm and loving. I just read something cool about mothers. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/readingroom/mafg/mafg3.asp when I consider  this through my altered perspective of my mom this is pretty profound. What if my mothers life was a vehicle tword my own growth. I hated her, but her life was so sad and I would not wish her experiences on another being. What if all that pain was endured (chosen at rebirth) to enlighten the beings she would encounter?   


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