Sad about "The System." How to respond? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 02-08-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Background info: I've had two homebirths - one a very long, arduous labor with six hours of pushing and the other an accidental unassisted childbirth due to baby being born WAY sooner than I thought. Both times were obviously med-free, empowering and incredible.

Today my little brother's wife gave birth to their first in a hospital. I am absolutely, emphatically NOT militant about homebirth. I feel that there are people who definitely would not be comfortable at home especially with their first, and that some people need various interventions, etc. However, with that said, I'm totally aghast at how the birth went. It was such a typical cascade of (unnecessary) interventions that I'm mind-blown. They went into the hospital at 3AM yesterday morning with very weak contractions, dilated to 4, leaking fluid slightly. She laid around until mid-morning when they started Pit. Contrax got stronger but baby wasn't moving. She finally agreed to the epi which apparently didn't help. She laid on her back until 9PM when the doc checked her and said she was at a 9. The doc told her that it would still be 5 hours or so - this was completely disheartening for her. (I should mention that the doc is actually my sis-in-law's colleague since she's a doc too!) They increased the epi and she laid on her back until 4AM when they said she could push. She pushed until she gave birth at 7AM. Baby was a bit lethargic but ok.

So here's the thing: My brother is now saying all these things about "thank God we were here since baby was lethargic!" And "imagine if we hadn't had an epi! She would have passed out from pain!" And "what if she had tried to push too soon?!" It's driving me nuts! I feel like the labor could have been way shorter if she had moved around and changed positions. Or if she had gone about her daily activities instead of going in so early. I feel sad that he missed out on how amazing the woman's body is and the potential for gentle(r) childbirth. I also feel sad that she, as a doctor, seems to think her l&d affirms everything she's learned.

Maybe none of this is my business. Perhaps I'm just sensitive because I feel like their statements are a reflection on my choices in some ways. I don't know. I'm conflicted. If it were anyone else I would just smile and nod but with family I feel the need to defend my choices.

Anyone been here? Any insights?

Mama to Maia (12/04), Nora (9/09), Sam (8/12) and Step-mama to Aidan (3/02) and Luci (10/04).

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#2 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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No insights, just BTDT. And I just try and grin and bear it.

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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#3 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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This is tough, I would say if they ever came across as "anti-homebirth" or you felt that they judged you for your choice, would absolutely tell them....well, the truth.

If they don't, I'd say maybe ask them, which every you are closer to, "hey, do you mind if I share by birth story with you?" This way, you can say, "oh, baby was alert and looking around, nursing, etc since I had no meds. Contactions were so empowering because they were what my body did, and I was able to move around and it shortened my second birth a lot....etc"

I'd tell them the fact, but that's just who I am. I'm a loud mouth, and pushy at times, and ok, maybe a little over bearing, but hey, it's important to me for those around me to know the right information, especially when it comes to something so amazing, empowering, natural, and do not mess with like birth.
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#4 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saffrongirl View Post
So here's the thing: My brother is now saying all these things about "thank God we were here since baby was lethargic!" And "imagine if we hadn't had an epi! She would have passed out from pain!" And "what if she had tried to push too soon?!" It's driving me nuts! I feel like the labor could have been way shorter if she had moved around and changed positions. Or if she had gone about her daily activities instead of going in so early. I feel sad that he missed out on how amazing the woman's body is and the potential for gentle(r) childbirth. I also feel sad that she, as a doctor, seems to think her l&d affirms everything she's learned.

Maybe none of this is my business. Perhaps I'm just sensitive because I feel like their statements are a reflection on my choices in some ways. I don't know. I'm conflicted. If it were anyone else I would just smile and nod but with family I feel the need to defend my choices.

Anyone been here? Any insights?
YOUR choices are not being attacked. This really isn't about you at all. It's about them, and all the emotions they are experiencing.

Repeat after me:

I am so happy that your beautiful daughter arrived safely! I can't wait to meet her!

Now is not the time to discuss all the ways in which the birth of their daughter could have been "better."

Leeann, mama to 3*magic*kids: DD 1/03 DD 9/04 DS 8/06
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#5 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
YOUR choices are not being attacked. This really isn't about you at all. It's about them, and all the emotions they are experiencing.

Repeat after me:

I am so happy that your beautiful daughter arrived safely! I can't wait to meet her!

Now is not the time to discuss all the ways in which the birth of their daughter could have been "better."
Beautifully said!!!
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#6 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 03:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
YOUR choices are not being attacked. This really isn't about you at all. It's about them, and all the emotions they are experiencing.

Repeat after me:

I am so happy that your beautiful daughter arrived safely! I can't wait to meet her!

Now is not the time to discuss all the ways in which the birth of their daughter could have been "better."


Quote:
Originally Posted by saffrongirl
So here's the thing: My brother is now saying all these things about "thank God we were here since baby was lethargic!" And "imagine if we hadn't had an epi! She would have passed out from pain!" And "what if she had tried to push too soon?!"
Your bro has been through a scary and upsetting experience. He is trying to process - and maybe justify - what happened for himself. I know this sounds to your ears like it is a judgement of your choices, but just from what you've said I really doubt it is anything like that. I'm sure your SIL would have loved to have an intervention-free, complication-free labor but things didn't turn out that way and now both she and your brother are having to process what happened in the aftermath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinMom
If they don't, I'd say maybe ask them, which every you are closer to, "hey, do you mind if I share by birth story with you?" This way, you can say, "oh, baby was alert and looking around, nursing, etc since I had no meds. Contactions were so empowering because they were what my body did, and I was able to move around and it shortened my second birth a lot....etc"
No. Just, no. Imagine you've just come out of an exhausting, intervention-filled birth which was clearly not what you had been hoping for (you did say your SIL initially did not want the epi, right?), and someone with two successful HBs under her belt starts making preachy insinuating comments like this. I would be LIVID.

Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011).
I'm not crunchy. I'm evidence-based.

Vaccines save lives.

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#7 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 03:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
No insights, just BTDT. And I just try and grin and bear it.
Same here. It is hard sometimes but unless they are asking for my advice or opinions, I don't offer it (especially after the fact).
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#8 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 04:23 AM
 
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I completely understand where you are coming from. I have "qwerty" permanently imprinted in my forehead from banging my head in frustration over similar stories. However, once a birth happens, I would not touch it. At least not now anyway. Congratulate them...coo over the new, wonderful baby. Give props to Mama (she still worked very hard and *deserves* kudos!). Feeling frustrated over a birth is ok...just do it out of site.

If they ever have more kids in the future...just lend her a few books like Ina Mae or Bradley or the like. That would give her the opportunity to process the possibilities w/o feeling like someone is looking over her shoulder or that someone is judging her. Feel free to talk about birth stories (at a later date) but make sure you reflect only on your own w/o judging hers. Feel free to talk non-interventionist if she opens the door but don't force the issue.

- Kim
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#9 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 04:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
YOUR choices are not being attacked. This really isn't about you at all. It's about them, and all the emotions they are experiencing.

Repeat after me:

I am so happy that your beautiful daughter arrived safely! I can't wait to meet her!

Now is not the time to discuss all the ways in which the birth of their daughter could have been "better."
Exactly. This is your SIL's birth experience not yours. Celebrate the arrival of your new niece and be happy for them.
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#10 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 04:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 3*is*magic View Post
YOUR choices are not being attacked. This really isn't about you at all. It's about them, and all the emotions they are experiencing.

Repeat after me:

I am so happy that your beautiful daughter arrived safely! I can't wait to meet her!

Now is not the time to discuss all the ways in which the birth of their daughter could have been "better."
well said!

OP i totally understand where you are coming from tho! it would be hard, because you know the truth...

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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#11 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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It was scary for them. And they really believe they were blessed, lucky, whatever, that they had the medical system to rescue them. It makes me sad that other people will hear these stories and have their fears about birth confirmed. But this is definitely not the time to talk about it. I know it makes you want to pull your hair out and scream at their ignorance and the way you feel they have been led astray. But give it time, maybe get them a good book later. Be the accepting, happy sister that they feel comfortable sharing with.

Mom of 4 aspiring midwife "Friend"ly seeker
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#12 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by saffrongirl View Post
So here's the thing: My brother is now saying all these things about "thank God we were here since baby was lethargic!" And "imagine if we hadn't had an epi! She would have passed out from pain!" And "what if she had tried to push too soon?!" It's driving me nuts! I feel like the labor could have been way shorter if she had moved around and changed positions. Or if she had gone about her daily activities instead of going in so early. I feel sad that he missed out on how amazing the woman's body is and the potential for gentle(r) childbirth. I also feel sad that she, as a doctor, seems to think her l&d affirms everything she's learned.
I know what you mean. You're not trying to "take away" from their experience by being critical about it, but I can see how you would feel that she's been "cheated" with the experience. After watching "The Business of Being Born", it's made me question the birthing process in hospitals. They are businesses and the quicker they can push the babies out, the more money they make. So as you lie in your cush hospital bed, the nurses at the nursing station are chanting "Pit! Pit! Pit!" =)

The way I read it is that you're upset at your brother's misconception of how the labor actually went. He sees it as the doctors came in and saved the day, when it reality the docs are probably the ones that complicated things in the first place by INDUCING her, causing her unneeded stress by telling her that it would take at least another 5 hours, and making things more difficult than they needed to be.
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#13 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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but here's the thing- it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! They are happy with their birth. LEAVE IT ALONE. I can see commiserating with them if they weren't happy. But they ARE. I have to say that I think that all of the arm chair monday quarterbacking is a big reason people feel like failures or that they weren't good enough after birth. Just as it is no one else's business to critique or judge how YOU choose to give birth, it is not your right to judge theirs. Also, since you are not a dr or midwife or looking at the records, you really can't even comment that none of it was necessary.
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#14 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Just adding encouragement that as time goes by some doors might open for better conversation and communication. Many second time mothers make research and empowered decisions after a first birth that went as you described, but remember it is her/ your bro's journey. Be positive where you can, stay true to yourself if attacked point blank. Yes I wish the medical system was changed to and it can be so strange to experience with a loved one after your own empowered births. Blessings to the new baby and family!

Mama of 4 all born at home : Mothering
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#15 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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I think in a lot of ways, discussing birthing experiences/choices can be a lot like discussing religion. People have all different opinions and feelings about both, and I truly believe there is a time and a place to open up a forum where you're going to be coming up against another person's thoughts and feelings about their birth experience. As previous posters have said, if they're happy with their birth experience and feel that they were in the right situation with the right interventions and outcomes-you should leave it be.

While I have always been disenchanted with the medical model of maternity care and dreamed of a home birth, my SIL has no issues with it, and would never even consider giving birth outside of a hospital with an epidural and whatever augmentation they would administer. Nothing I ever say to her is going to change her mind, just like she's never going to convince me a hospital birth is the best way.

Some battles just aren't worth fighting, and sometimes you just have to sit back and say to yourself "To each their own."

jamie. crinkly (not quite crunchy) mama to 3 amazing little girls, an awesome little boy, and a baby girl making her debut at the end of this summer.

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#16 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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It was scary for them. And they really believe they were blessed, lucky, whatever, that they had the medical system to rescue them. It makes me sad that other people will hear these stories and have their fears about birth confirmed.
Bolding mine.
It is for that reason that I would, of course, zip my lip to them, but I would really have a hard time sitting still & ALLOWING them to perpetuate the myth to others that birth is horribly dangerous & we all need the medical system to save us (and, therefore, HB & even FSBC birth is reckless & dangerous, and you should blindly trust your OB.) Bad stuff.

I have trouble sitting still when that message is being spread. I'm not saying speaking up is the right thing to do, just that personally the FORCES spreading that message are so pervasive & ubiquitous that I have trouble zipping my lip when I'm privy to it. Of course, I'm not referring to one particular, personal birth story here versus another - but just that we need to spread the truth that, yes, OBs often "save the day" with a CS or something, but so often they CAUSE the very problem they "save" us from... crucial info most people simply don't know.
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#17 of 21 Old 02-09-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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The thing is, they are happy and thankful they were in the hospital TODAY. They might not feel that way as they get further along the road of processing their experience. I had no issues with my induction turned c-section the day my baby was born. It was later as I started to realize just what had happened, just what I hadn't known and been lied to about, and just what the complications I was dealing with meant did I start to be upset.

Let it be for now. Be happy for their baby and willing to listen in the future if need be.

A, WOHM hoping to be a SAHM married to E (7/7/01), mama to R :: (2/8/08) : : hopeful for ::
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#18 of 21 Old 02-10-2010, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know what you mean. You're not trying to "take away" from their experience by being critical about it, but I can see how you would feel that she's been "cheated" with the experience. After watching "The Business of Being Born", it's made me question the birthing process in hospitals. They are businesses and the quicker they can push the babies out, the more money they make. So as you lie in your cush hospital bed, the nurses at the nursing station are chanting "Pit! Pit! Pit!" =)

The way I read it is that you're upset at your brother's misconception of how the labor actually went. He sees it as the doctors came in and saved the day, when it reality the docs are probably the ones that complicated things in the first place by INDUCING her, causing her unneeded stress by telling her that it would take at least another 5 hours, and making things more difficult than they needed to be.
YES! This is exactly what I was trying to state. I certainly haven't and wouldn't say anything to take away from the joy of their baby being born and her strength for doing it in, as far as I'm concerned, less than ideal conditions. I guess I just feel sad that it seems that these kinds of births are "the norm." And I feel sad that my little brother didn't get to witness a gentler birth for his daughter. But of course at this point I'm smiling, congratulating them and empathizing with the long sleepless nights they have ahead.

Mama to Maia (12/04), Nora (9/09), Sam (8/12) and Step-mama to Aidan (3/02) and Luci (10/04).

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#19 of 21 Old 02-10-2010, 02:30 AM
 
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Ok, ITA with the comments so far on this thread and I've often done this, too. BUT is this a possible case of the brother attacking the OP?

That's something only the OP can answer.

Yes, it's likely that he is simply processing and justifying what happened to them. BUT I have seen this happen where the person is attacking the HBer. It's even happened to me a couple times, where the woman emails me or tells me how "wonderful" or "lifesaving" her birth was and then XYZ (the XYZ being some rude comment about how I was simply trying to scare her, I'm a whacko, I'm stupid for hbing, etc).

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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#20 of 21 Old 02-10-2010, 02:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rainashine View Post
The thing is, they are happy and thankful they were in the hospital TODAY. They might not feel that way as they get further along the road of processing their experience. I had no issues with my induction turned c-section the day my baby was born. It was later as I started to realize just what had happened, just what I hadn't known and been lied to about, and just what the complications I was dealing with meant did I start to be upset.

Let it be for now. Be happy for their baby and willing to listen in the future if need be.
I think this sums it up pretty well. Obviously we all, including the OP, know that immediately after the birth is a time to just express joy that the baby got there safely. But it doesn't mean that in the future you can't have conversations about it, if they're interested in talking. I have heard dozens and dozens of women on these boards say they were initially pretty happy with their hospital birth experience, or though that was just they way things went, but later as they researched and learned more about birth they realize how they often were cheated out of a normal birth.

Quote:
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YES! This is exactly what I was trying to state. I certainly haven't and wouldn't say anything to take away from the joy of their baby being born and her strength for doing it in, as far as I'm concerned, less than ideal conditions. I guess I just feel sad that it seems that these kinds of births are "the norm." And I feel sad that my little brother didn't get to witness a gentler birth for his daughter. But of course at this point I'm smiling, congratulating them and empathizing with the long sleepless nights they have ahead.
I know exactly where you're coming from and I struggle with this too. I can really be a home birth missionary at times, and I have to be careful not to step over the line. I get really sad when people I care about describe being subjected to the whole slew of interventions (fortunately the vast majority of my friends have used midwives, so I haven't had to hear too many stories of epesiotemy recoveries or the pitocin to C-section pipeline.)
I think there is a sea change in the works in the way that many people think about birth -- we're all sort of doing our part in a larger cultural shift, just by thinking of and discussing birth as a normal physiological event that sometimes needs medical attention, rather than a medical emergency all the time.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#21 of 21 Old 02-10-2010, 04:40 AM
 
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I do think that a gentle way to reassure them both, later on, as they talk about birth, that things may be different next time, is to mention how "the first birth is the hardest!" Because it really is that for most people - it's usually the longest, etc. And if they know anything about your births, they certainly know that your first was a long, hard labor and the second so fast and manageable that you surprised yourself with a UC.

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