Help me with a family issue (longish) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry if this is too long. I am 16 weeks pregnant and I have a sister who is 12 weeks and on bed rest for the past month. She is a RN who works in L&D. When I first told her I was planing a home birth, she exploded and told me I was crazy that she had seen enough complications blablablahhh. I told her I have read the research and I was happy to share it with her. She refused to even listen and completely shut down. She believes my decision is a personal attack on her profession and that I don't respect her by choosing on having a home birth.

I asked her politely not to mention the subject again since she is not open for discussion, but since we are both pregnant, it is almost impossible not to. For example, last night she asked me when my next ultrasound was going to be and I told her that my midwife and I agreed not having anymore ultrasounds. So that brought up the same arguments again "the technology is there for a reason and you are crazy for not wanting to know if there is something wrong with your baby....the same thing with your choices on home birth...." So now we are not talking and I feel so sad. I just can't believe it is so hard for her to respect my wishes and not take them as a personal attack. She even said that my choices are due to my partner's influences on my personality and that I would pay for my mistakes with the life of my child. I never heard so many hurtful things before and now I don't know what to do. I wrote to her telling how I felt and she won't apologize. She thinks she is right and period.

Does anyone have any advice in dealing with this kind of situation? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I think you handled it just fine by creating a boundary. It's honestly not your problem that she can't respect that. You can try just changing the subject (respectfully) when she brings up baby stuff... "Every time we talk about our pregnancies we get upset and defensive. Let's avoid that and talk about *insert subject here*" If she MUST talk about baby stuff (and I understand it being on the forefront of her mind) talk about after baby stuff...breastfeeding, carseats, strollers, clothes, etc...

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#3 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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It sounds like you handled her really well. Unfortunately you can't control her reactions to your choices; you can only control how you deal with her reactions. It sounds like she has a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding birth, which I'm sure is complicated by her own pregnancy.

Maybe after your babies are born you two can reconnect, but it's really good that you're setting this boundary now. If she's this willing to criticize you about such a deeply personal choice as birth, she'll surely have other opinions about how you raise your child(ren). Learning how to deflect her negativity will serve you well in the future. It's not your fault that she's unwilling to learn a new perspective, nor is it your responsibility to maintain the relationship all by yourself.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, by the way!

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#4 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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It may get better after preg if hormones are involved in her outlook, kwim? for now, you've done what you can...i wouldn't hold my breath for that apology either...

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#5 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by lilikoi View Post
So that brought up the same arguments again "the technology is there for a reason and you are crazy for not wanting to know if there is something wrong with your baby....the same thing with your choices on home birth...."
Is there a nice way to say back, "the research is available--I think you're crazy to make choices without reading it".

Probably not, but seriously. . . I have been known to tell people that I would be willing to discuss it if they were willing to have an open mind and read some of the research. I didn't expect them to agree with me (even after reading it) but they at least needed to know that I didn't make the decision by flipping a coin.

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#6 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there a nice way to say back, "the research is available--I think you're crazy to make choices without reading it".

Probably not, but seriously. . . I have been known to tell people that I would be willing to discuss it if they were willing to have an open mind and read some of the research. I didn't expect them to agree with me (even after reading it) but they at least needed to know that I didn't make the decision by flipping a coin.

Amy
The hard thing is that she says that I cannot make a decision like that based on research and books. That I should listen to her because based on her experience as a labor and delivery nurse, there are too many complications that if you are not in the hospital me and/or my baby may die due to the lack of time and resources. That being said, she is not open to look at the literature or any information and just thinks my decision is a personal attack to her profession.

Thanks for all the replies guys. It made me feel not so alone with my decision.
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#7 of 24 Old 08-08-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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I am a L&D nurse and am planning a HBA3C. I have read the research and feel like a homebirth is my best and safest option (I don't have to tell you that).
I just want to point out though, that as nurses we don't always read the research to guide our practice (shocking...I know). As nurses, especially in the hospital we are inundated with ACOG and ACOG current standards, which is often in direct opposition of the homebirth movement.

It is unfortunate that she is unwilling to read the research and explore options or at least other viewpoints. It sounds like you're handling it well. If it comes up again I'd say something like "well you have the opportunity to make decisions for your family and we have the opportunity to make the decisions for ours. It's no longer up for discussion."

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She even said that my choices are due to my partner's influences on my personality and that I would pay for my mistakes with the life of my child.
Just an observation but it sounds like she has other issues rather than just your birth choices. Perhaps this is just a way for her to feel like she can attack you and your choices in general freely. JMO.

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Wife to a wonderful husband, mom to 5 amazing boys, 2 m/c and Knox Cornelius our 5th son born at 15weeks 12/3/2011, Lillian Faith our 1st daughter, born at 14 weeks May 19, 2012 (Turner Syndrome). 

 
           
 
 
 
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#8 of 24 Old 08-09-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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I've had very similar issues with my SIL who is an ER nurse and due 4 days after me. I was so excited that we were due so close together and thought it would be fun. However, the first few times we texted/emailed/talked it was abundantly clear we had very different ideas of what we wanted. She sent me an email that said she "believed in the value of modern medicine" and intended to use it to it's full extent. Although she stopped just short of saying I was risking my and the baby's health, there were many other statements that were very easily interpreted that way. By mutual non-spoken agreement we ended up just not talking about our prenatal care or delivery plans. We talk about discomfort, names, clothes, nursery set up, etc. but not much beyond that. We were together for a week on vacation and managed to get along fine, by mostly just skirting this issue. However, she was willing to back off and respect my choices, as I was hers. I think you are doing the best thing you can by establishing a boundry and reinforcing it when it comes back up. "I recognize you are worried about my wellbeing, and I appreciate your concern. However, I have done extensive research and feel that my choice is best for me, as yours is for you. So, on another note, any cravings this pregnancy? Mine has been lemons!" Best of luck! This is hard to negotiate, I understand!

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#9 of 24 Old 08-09-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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I think you need to call her on the way she's treating you.

In other words, you need to change the conversation from "homebirth vs. hospital birth" to "I'm treating your choices with respect, now you need to treat me and my choices with respect."

It's not about your disagreement, its how she's choosing to treat you. She should not continue to bully you, regardless of what she thinks about your choices, and you should call her on that.


Sorry you're facing this mama. Hang in there!

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#10 of 24 Old 08-09-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again for all the replies and great insights. I feel a lot better now even though my sister is not talking to me. Hopefully we will reconnect when she is in a better state of mind and is willing to be open to all the information available on HB.
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#11 of 24 Old 08-10-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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A slightly different situation by in our case it's my MIL who is also a nurse. I think one of the things that she is also likely not considering is the interventions that are done routinely, which then contribute to the exact things that the mom/baby need to later be "rescued" from. Except that I think pointing this out would only make your SIL defensive so I don't recommend it.
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#12 of 24 Old 08-10-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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My pg sister is also a L&D nurse. She is much more sneaky though- talks to drs who also work at my moms office. The drs then go to my mom... it is a vicious cycle that I have let roll off my back.

I think most "medical professionals" are so indoctrinated in the whole emergency c section or baby dies drama that I think it is hard for them to imagine a birth with no drama.

I know it is hard to not share this time with your sister- but you might just have to let it go and see if she reconnects with you.

Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#13 of 24 Old 08-10-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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That I should listen to her because based on her experience as a labor and delivery nurse
Perhaps you could remind her that she doesn't see the successful homebirths because those mamas/babies are... ummm.... at home? Of course she would only see or hear about homebirths that go wrong because those are the only ones that would go to the hospital.

FWIW- my mom was a L&D nurse for many years. I think she would strangle me if I were to have a homebirth

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#14 of 24 Old 08-10-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Nothing much to add except that my homebirth midwife is also an ex-L&D nurse. Not all of them are biased against it.
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#15 of 24 Old 08-10-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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Thanks again for all the replies and great insights. I feel a lot better now even though my sister is not talking to me. Hopefully we will reconnect when she is in a better state of mind and is willing to be open to all the information available on HB.
Just be prepared for that time to not occur until well after the birth. She may have been so indoctrinated by the hospital/medical system that she may not know what normal really is. I am so glad you are homebirthing. It makes all the difference in the world! Happy birthing, and I hope your sister comes around.
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#16 of 24 Old 08-13-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this! Don't let it get to you. Who's to say she won't change her tune when you end up with a beautiful, easy birth and none of the interventions she'll likely end up with. Even if she doesn't...we can't change everyone, or even get everyone to agree.

FWIW, and this is something I would say (but of course that's just me), my friend is an RN in the NICU of a local hospital. She gave birth to her first child a few months ago at a freestanding birth center. She told me that instead of looking at all the babies in the NICU and thinking, "Thank god they were at the hospital so we could take care of them!" she thought, "How many of these babies wouldn't be here in the first place if they hadn't induced/sectioned/intervened so much?" Incredibly smart woman.

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#17 of 24 Old 08-14-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this! Don't let it get to you. Who's to say she won't change her tune when you end up with a beautiful, easy birth and none of the interventions she'll likely end up with. Even if she doesn't...we can't change everyone, or even get everyone to agree.

FWIW, and this is something I would say (but of course that's just me), my friend is an RN in the NICU of a local hospital. She gave birth to her first child a few months ago at a freestanding birth center. She told me that instead of looking at all the babies in the NICU and thinking, "Thank god they were at the hospital so we could take care of them!" she thought, "How many of these babies wouldn't be here in the first place if they hadn't induced/sectioned/intervened so much?" Incredibly smart woman.
I really really like this thought!

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#18 of 24 Old 08-15-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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double post...

Wanted to add, it's not like you are asking her to be happy you are having a homebirth, or to agree with you that it is a great choice, but for her to act all superior and as if she cares more about your baby than you do, that is what really grates me! I get really irked when nurses act all know it all as if they are the experts on the whole area, when I know for a fact that there are a whole slew of LDRNs out there that are woefully unprepared and undereducated for normal natural childbirth and respecting women's choices in how they birth- even in the hospital! Just because a woman chooses to birth in the hospital does NOT mean she checks her wishes and her rights at the door and bows to the almighty and all knowing authority of the medical staff!

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#19 of 24 Old 08-15-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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Okay, first off, how many disasters have happened in the L&D ward? Oh wait, but the doctor whisked in and saved the baby and mother, who would surely have died if they were at home! Oh, but wait again!- How many times did the doctor or the hospital policies first cause the potential disaster and then play hero when they solved it!? Of course genuine emergencies happen and are solved by heroes every day in hospitals across the country, but does that mean that every birth happens this way? It is a shame your sister views birth this way, a shame for her, and a shame for all of the mothers and babies she treats as patients.

I'm totally not the kind of person to back down when provoked, especially when it comes to my family. I would fight fire with fire, myself. How dare she accuse you of endangering your baby when she doesn't even know what she is talking about!? And furthermore, if you want to personally insult me I can bring it too! Since when is the American medical model of birth actually practicing evidence based medicine? Many hospital routine procedures are not put into place in mother or babies best interest- the science is not there, some of them directly contradict science and evidence!! They put those procedures into place for reasons such as profit, scheduling, insurance, etc. L&D rooms have evolved a lot in the last 50 years, but they have a lot further to go. Shaving, enemas, strapping women to the bed, and "twilight sleep" are mostly things of the past nowadays, but things can still be so much better! And they ought to be! And I refuse to just accept it and hope for the best, I have choices and I made the best one for me and my baby and I won't take flak for that w/o a fight! I want my daughter to have a choice to have a hospital birth and know that she will have her choices and her body respected and not be bullied into things that aren't even medically sound.

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#20 of 24 Old 08-15-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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I can relate. I'm 32 weeks pregnant with my 3rd, and planning my 3rd homebirth. My sister is 12 weeks pregnant with her 1st (yeah!) but is *totally* indoctrinated into the medical community. She's a family practice doc, and I guess, unbeknowst to myself and my cousins who are natural birthers, all the talk we've done through the years about natural birth has always make her feel undermined and belittled. Well now she has her chance to "show" us how a medical birth can be! She plainly said she doesn't care about feeling every little thing with the pregnancy and birth, doesn't care if she's induced (good thing, since her dr. won't let her go one day past her edd), doesn't care about getting an epidural or c-section. For her, it's all about getting the baby. "I trust my doctor," she said. Yeah, yeah, WE could all get furious about this statement and pick it apart until it's dead (and we'd be right! ), but I'm glad that between us it's out in the open. At least we can get along without discussing our birth plans. I am excited to be an aunt! It's her pregnancy, her birth, her baby and her choices.
I wish you peace with your sister!!
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#21 of 24 Old 08-15-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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I feel like you've already said everything you need to say to her to create boundaries, and if you two start talking again and she asks you anything else about your pregnancy or birth care, you are perfectly within your rights to simply refuse to answer her questions.

It sounds to me like there's a lot more going on with her than just not agreeing with your choices. My best friend is a pediatrician and she doesn't take it as a personal attack on her that I home birthed and I don't vaccinate my daughter, for pete's sake! There are PLENTY of people who work in health care that respect other people's choices and don't think they know everything just because they are health professionals.

It sounds to me like she is unhappy about being on bed rest, probably scared of losing her baby, possibly regretting her choice of health care providers but is unable to admit it to herself, and may be jealous of you for being in better health and better circumstances and/or projecting her anger and hurt about her situation onto you.

I'm not sure from what you posted who decided you weren't talking to each other or what the circumstances were there, but what do you think about reaching out to her, letting you know you you respect her career choices and want to help her through this difficult time, but you still will not discuss your pregnancy with her?
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#22 of 24 Old 08-16-2010, 02:37 AM
 
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It sounds to me like she is unhappy about being on bed rest, probably scared of losing her baby, possibly regretting her choice of health care providers but is unable to admit it to herself, and may be jealous of you for being in better health and better circumstances and/or projecting her anger and hurt about her situation onto you.

I'm not sure from what you posted who decided you weren't talking to each other or what the circumstances were there, but what do you think about reaching out to her, letting you know you you respect her career choices and want to help her through this difficult time, but you still will not discuss your pregnancy with her?
I think you hit the nail on the head with this comment, and I was just going to post something similar...

A lot of times people say things out of fear and jealousy that are veiled as expertise or concern for you. I would bet that she wishes not only that she had the same good health in this pregnancy, but also the guts to make choices that are right for her - not choices that she thinks she has to do because of her profession/fear.

Good luck on this one mama, it's hard when there's discord in the family.

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#23 of 24 Old 08-16-2010, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds to me like there's a lot more going on with her than just not agreeing with your choices. My best friend is a pediatrician and she doesn't take it as a personal attack on her that I home birthed and I don't vaccinate my daughter, for pete's sake! There are PLENTY of people who work in health care that respect other people's choices and don't think they know everything just because they are health professionals.

It sounds to me like she is unhappy about being on bed rest, probably scared of losing her baby, possibly regretting her choice of health care providers but is unable to admit it to herself, and may be jealous of you for being in better health and better circumstances and/or projecting her anger and hurt about her situation onto you.

I'm not sure from what you posted who decided you weren't talking to each other or what the circumstances were there, but what do you think about reaching out to her, letting you know you you respect her career choices and want to help her through this difficult time, but you still will not discuss your pregnancy with her?
Yes, you got that right! After thinking about it for a while (and thanks to the responses I got from this thread!) I was convinced her reaction to my choices was trigged by some much more deeper things. On top of being in bed rest for a while, she is having a scheduled c-section due to the shape of her pelvis. Her doctor won't even let her try natural birth. She is also very depressed (but won't look for help). She e-mailed me this week apologizing for the horrible things she said. But the last line of her email said something like: Please don't ever talk to me about your birth choices again. It's fine with me since I am not the one who brings it up. It's just very hard to have a natural conversation around her now.
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#24 of 24 Old 08-16-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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It does sound like she has some regrets from the way her pregnancy and proposed birth are going but is not willing to face it and admit it. While I wouldn't back down from supporting myself if provoked again, I would also offer full loving support for her and let her know that you think she is a great nurse and you guys don't need to discuss your birth plans but you can still enjoy this wonderful blessing of being pregnant together, shopping for maternity clothes and baby clothes, planning the nurseries together, taking belly pics together can be very bonding experiences and I would focus on these things, maybe help pull her out of her depression a bit. I know I sounded all hot and bothered in my first post, but that's the way my family works- we don't bottle anything up! We get it all out in the open, kiss and make up, we love each other like crazy and after defending my choice a bit I would let the matter drop and figure out a way we could still enjoy our pregnancies together. My SIL and I were pregnant last time together, her 2nd, my third and though she is a RN who planned a hospital birth with epidural and any other interventions that may come her way and I planned a homebirth for the 2nd time (ended up having to scrap that due to high blood pressure just hours before labor began and had a natural midwife only hospital birth), we were totally supportive of each other and had a lot of fun!

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