I have a bit of a rant / vent that I just needed to get out of my system, but would love any thoughts if you’ve ever dealt with similar experiences yourselves.
I'm a FTM currently 38 weeks pregnant and my husband and I are excitedly expecting a son very soon. We're having a planned waterbirth at our home in San Francisco and we have a FABULOUS birth team: 2 UCSF trained Nurse Practitioner Midwives, a 1 CNM Assistant, and 1 incredible Doula. We are talking women with stellar medical credentials and a combined record extensive record of successful homebirths in the low thousands with an incredibly low rate of hospital transfer. I've done years of research / homework into homebirth safety (homebirth is VERY popular in San Francisco - yeay hippies!) and taken all the necessary precautions including having a hospital on-call with with very supportive pro-homebirth OBYGNs in the rare event that there should there be an emergency need to transfer. We are confident, excited, and well prepared to embark on our homebirth journey.
My rant is with my Grandmother, who is very conservative (picture country club wasp-y in that Madmen kind of way) and incredibly unsupportive of even discussing the concept of homebirth. She considers the idea of waterbirth to be silly and relies on 1950s birth culture to dictate all of her opinions on childbirth... going to the hospital on the first contraction, having a highly medicated if not totally unconscious birth (twilight sleep), having an episiotomy and lithotomy positioned birth, having baby stay in nursery exclusively), staying in the hospital for as long as possible. We are talking about as out of touch as you can get, even with modern hospital maternity practices. I never really had an opportunity to explain our birth plan and the research I've done because she was so volatile against even discussing homebirth, and I essentially resigned myself to lying to her about our birth plans (saying we would be in a hospital) so that she would get off my back.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel awful about lying to my Grandma, but I feel that I need to protect myself from her bad energy / attitude. She’s mentioned that if I were to go into labor in her presence, she would whisk me off to the hospital without a thought… even after explaining that hospital policy would require my contractions to be a certain timing apart (5-1-1 for example). She joked that I would just have to lie to them… sigh. I’m really frustrated with her attitude and declining invitations to have lunch with her for fear that I’ll go into labor and suddenly find myself in a position where she’s attempting to hold me captive. Totally ridiculous scenario… I know. I’m just feeling angry that she couldn’t be more supportive or confident in my ability to make an informed decision for myself and my family. I hope to be able to be honest with her as to how our birth plans really went once our son is born, and hopefully they’ll be no bad blood between us over it.
Anyway, I was just hoping to vent to empathetic eyes and wondering if anyone out there has dealt with this kind of unsupportive family member and how you dealt with it. I guess the obvious answer would to be not caring about what she thinks, but we don’t have that kind of relationship sadly. I’ve always felt the need to placate her as she’s pretty opinionated and judgmental. Maybe I just need to grow up, claim my authority as a woman and mother, and get over it. ;p
Thank you all for reading my long vent… already feeling the pressure gauge dropping. *breathes sigh of relief*
Hi Mrs Smith!
I just noticed that you joined today! That's interesting in that I hardly ever read the forums here but thought I would check it out!
I am a midwife and I have had so many families deal with other members that simply do not understand why a woman would possibly choose something so "off-the-wall" as a water birth.
So I have some encouragement for you! First off, I would recommend that you try to speak to her even though you fear her volatile reaction. Her reaction to knowing the truth will likely be less angry than if she later finds out abou the lie. Second, maybe try to approach her from the perspective of why she is so against your choices. What I have often seen is that families are truly afraid for their loved one and just don't know how to express that. From that perspective, you have an awesome opportunity to educate her and inform her about the high quality of your chosen team, the protocols that they would use for transfer, the back-up system that you have in place, the safety equipment they bring to your home, etc. That really helps people understand that home birth with a skilled and experienced provider really is a safe option. One thing that I do when I consult with families as the midwife is to show them my kits and bags, organized and filled with my supplies, everything all labeled so I can find things quickly. This really impresses people that I know what I am doing and am prepared to take good care of mommies and their babies. That might help too! It makes it all seem more "legit"
You might be feeling like you shouldn't have to prove anything to her in order for her to support you, but when families choose something other than what the world considers "the norm" sadly we do have to defend our postition as educated and mature women making good choices for our births!
When I myself had my first home birth and spoke to my own mom, she poilitely said, "I don't want you to call me when the baby is coming" " I don't think I can support you in this" I was heartbroken and just gave it some time, answering any questions that she had, etc. As my due date approached, she called one day and said, " Remember I told you not to call me? I have changed my mind and I don't want to be anywhere else, even if it's uncomfortable for me" She had had the time to ponder all that I told her in a positive way and made a better choice for both of us! Funny story though, that baby came in only 40 minutes so she missed it, but she still did right thing!!
Try to think positive and remember that you are an intelligent woman who has made an awesome choice! This is a normal "bump in the road" that we see with many family members
I'm so glad to have met you today! Wishing you the very best!
Connie Garcia CNM, MSN
OP, your not wanting any negative energy on your hb is exactly why I didn't tell anyone aside from one friend and my parents for the first 7 mos of that pregnancy...as I knew they would be supportive. I had already had 2 children (one at a fsbc and one in our truck en route, lol) but as it was my first hb, I had my own emotions to work through without trying to help others work through (or not--blow off on me) theirs.
I knew HB was the prefect choice for us, but it was still a lot of responsibility to take on; also, I didn't want something that felt very special and personal hashed over behind my back and questioned to my face. I didn't lie, necessarily, but I just said I was having the baby locally instead of travelling to the FSBC. Everyone took that to mean the hospital, of course.
Anyway, I am just trying to validate you in your feelings. If you feel the need to keep it to yourself--if bringing it up causes anxiety that you don't want or need right now--you absolutely have the choice to not discuss that decision.
A bit over 7 mos, I suddenly felt I coul take on the world and so did begin telling people that we were having baby at home. I told it very matter of factly an left no room for argument. I did try to answer any questions that I felt were genuine; butthe decision was not up for discussion.
I am awaiting the birth of our 5th, my 3 HB, in a week or two or three. I now have no problem telling anyone we HB, but with my first, I just didn't want to waste my energy in negativity. GL!
caution: one-handed nak