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Old 01-07-2010, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I am 38 weeks and four days pregnant with baby #2 now. I don't know about you guys, you all seem so cool and confident and breezy, even the ones who face complications seem so forthright if not down bubbly...but I am riddled with fear and anxiety lately. I am researching every possible complication and what my choices are to be fully informed and it's like trying to fish at the bottom of an abyss with a pencil and a gob of gum. I hope that knowing every possible outcome will somehow make me more prepared and less afraid

In my research I came across this site:

http://birthingnaturally.net/encourage/fears.html

I thought I'd give it a try...every book, magazine and blog I have read on Natural Childbirth say if you want a successful natural birth, you have got to face your fears...so I tried the exercise and I thought I'd share my feelings here...cause where else? Who else could get this? Maybe some of you might like to try it too.

I'm not sure yet if it's cathartic or just scab picking, but here goes:
I believe childbirth is something I never got to do with ds, I was just handed motherhood without the right to experience the most important part, and it’s my fault for not asking more questions, for trusting untrustworthy doctors and for not educating myself.

I believe it is the measure of a woman’s worth in so many ways. Her ability to do it gracefully and without shedding tears or expressing needs or fears are held up by the men in her life as a measure of her coolness, her ability to fit in with the boys and as such her right to be loved. Her ability to just sit back and do her time as deemed by nature or god or whatever higher power determines these things with a smile on her face and no demands of her partner, or special requests from her employer, is lorded over her like a guillotine ready to dice her into pieces should she ask someone for empathy or companionship along the road.

It is a test of the greatest kind, and it seems there is no way of passing it without total selfless martyrdom, the fertile soil of resentment and emotional hermitage, where icy frigid souls grow out of the ashes of once warm and caring hearts that believed they were worth more than their ability to grow an egg into a child. And I am failing.

One of my worst fears for the labor and birth is that the baby will die and I and my big fat ego will be the only ones to blame.

When I talk about giving birth with other people I get defensive and emotionally flustered. I try to retain my idealism and optimism, but every story I read about premature labor or sudden emergency c-sections, I think: all this work, all this research, all this time invested in making sure I don’t let myself be manipulated or terrorized into unnecessary interventions again and what if it’s all for naught, what if I do all of this and I still wind up hospitalized and treated like an empty vessel for someone else’s right to be…what about my right to be, to be the mother I want to be, the woman I want to be, the person I want to be.

And I think; “Why do I feel so alone in this fear?” Why does it seem DH’s and in fact anyone's only fear is if someone dies -- a healthy baby and a living mother is all he wants for. There are worse things than dying in childbirth, and there is more than one kind of death that can happen…and what if I can never resurrect the person I sold to the slaughterhouse when my son was born, the once fearless woman I sold in exchange for some cheap sense of security that I had done the most sacrificial thing to save my child. What if all the babies in the world passing through my vagina never ever takes away the mistakes I’ve made. What if I am just broken forever and then I wind up alone and saddled with two children that I can’t help but love but whom I’ll always know I’ll never be able to protect by myself.

I always feel like less of a woman compared to women who gave birth vaginally. My mother, my step-mother, my mother-in-law, my sister and sister-in-law, they all have something I don’t: the knowledge of their power, their strength and ability. I feel weak and small next to them. I want to believe having this baby at home on MY terms will change everything, and I do believe that if I can’t I will always be half the person I should be, and it strikes at the core of my confidence and I shudder to think how I will shrink further into invisibility and self-deemd irrelevance if I can’t make this happen.

I have concerns about giving birth because I might not be able to do it. And then who am I? What good am I to anyone?

What fears arise from your mother's retelling of your birth? That because I was born by C-section all my babies will be too. I took away her right to birth me naturally, and I don't deserve to have a natural birth because of it. I fear my baby girl is going to be born to a mother who has no right to be a mother.

What fears arise from previous experiences at birth? That I am not built to have babies. That my body can’t do it. That I might hate my children for proving to me what a sad pathetic excuse for a woman I really am.

What fears arise from the anticipation of being out of control? Are they kidding with this one? Every fear I have ever had comes out of this one thing. How can I give over to my nature and my instincts and a higher purpose if I can’t let go, but how can I trust anything I am not in control of?

What fears arise from the expectation of pain associated with labor? None. I am not afraid of the pain. I believe the pain will be the only thing that saves me.

What fears arise from the understanding you are becoming a mother (again)? That I will be doing this mentally and emotionally alone because my husband does not want to share this with me. That he sees how broken I am and he will leave me for a life of freedom and easy choices and that I am unfit to do it alone. That I will let my children down, or grow to hate myself and everyone else trying not to. That if it is a girl I will make her neurotic and crazy trying to live up to my failed expectations for myself, and that she will grow up never knowing how amazing she is just in her own precious right to BE.

What fears arise from the anticipation of the physical process of labor? Tearing scares me, and that I might never regain my prenatal shape. I also fear I won’t go into labor…that everyone will say it is time and my stupid body won’t be able to do what it needs to do and it will be my fault, for abusing and hating my body for so long throughout my life. Maybe I broke something and it can’t be fixed. Maybe I’m the only one to blame for being such a failure at the only thing I should be able to do right.

What fears arise from the anticipation of being "watched" and meeting expectations? I might let my mother or husband’s judgments stop me from doing what I need to do. That seeing me labor will make my husband feel disgusted with me forever.

What fears arise from the anticipation of breastfeeding? None here. Milk, I can do.

What fears arise from comments made by family or friends? If I can’t do it at home, naturally, I will feel like a buffoon. That they are secretly rooting for me to fail, even my husband.

If I felt strong and powerful, I'd like to give birth to my baby completely alone, in my bathroom or my closet, with no one around but my heart and my baby. So...there it is. Not pretty, eh? I have so many scars to heal...where am I going to find the strength?

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:20 PM
 
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I don't have much advice, just wanted to say that anxiety is normal at this stage, no matter what kind of birth you're planning...I do hope that you get the birth experience you want, and that it can be the healing you are looking for.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Nola...I don't know if I am looking for advice...I just thought maybe telling someone else might make it feel more real, and maybe help expel some of the fear...make it tangible, ya know?

I do know it's normal to be filled with anxiety, but this feels so overhwleming lately, and I just wish the baby would come already so I can get over this, que sera sera, and all that, ya know? The waiting is so nerve wracking.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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mama- i couldn't read your post and not write because I can relate on many levels. i find myself wishing that i didn't waste the last 9 months trying to control this uncontrollable situation of pregnancy & birth and instead focused on healing from my previous birth experience. One thing that I have learned is that our birth experience is not the only measure of us as mothers. It really is just beginning of a lifelong journey as a mother. While I hope that we both can have healing births, I know that either way we are AMAZING mothers just as much as anyone else here.

hugs to you

two girls for us! 04.23.07 & 01.17.10...
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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Thank you for sharing that, Rebekah. It sounds like it was very powerful to you to "own" it by making it public.

I think I'm going to answer the questions, also, but don't want to overshadow your comments.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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When I was planning my first HBAC I was a mess. Thank goodness I had friends going through the same thing (found them through ICAN). Planning an HBAC is an experience all it's own. Putting down your thoughts and fears can really help you to talk it through and release the tension. This I think is a great way to come to peace with birth in all it's glory. I hope you get to enjoy the rest of your journey and defeat the fears you have. May you have a blessed HBAC.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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those are strong, well articulated feelings Rebekah. Thank you for sharing.

My babies were born at home! 09/07, 01/10, and 09/12 joy.gif

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:23 AM
 
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Hi there,

Just had to reply to commend you for taking this huge step toward facing your fears and working to have the birth you want. I went through a similar process when planning my 2nd birth (after an induced, traumatic 1st birth). I was also planning a home birth that I hoped would help me heal after the 1st birth and would help me find the strength and confidence that I (hoped) I knew was in me. I was terrified of failing, of how I would deal with the pain, of not being able to do it, of 'losing control', of needing too much help, etc, etc,etc.

I talked with my midwife some about my fears (which was hard for me to do, b/c I didn't want to admit to being 'weak' and scared) and she was wonderful. One suggestion she had which I took, was to visualize every part of my labor and birth happening just as I wanted, with as much detail as possible. One night, I did this, in front of the fireplace, as comfortable as I could be. I imagined each part of labor and the birth, and tried to visualize where I would be, who would be there, what I might be wearing, how I would deal with contractions, what I might be eating or drinking, what music was playing, what lights were on, where ds1 would be, what time of day it was etc..... I pictured myself strong and confident and handling labor well with all the support I needed. I imagined birthing the baby and holding him afterward and pictured nursing going well (it didn't start well with ds1).

I also talked a lot about all of my fears with dh just so he would know where my head was and what I was worried about. As you are doing, sometimes just putting light to the fears helps in its own way. Writing about the fears and worries can be really helpful, too. Do you journal?

I can relate to sooo much of what you've written and I see myself in your post. I just wanted to tell you that I *did* have a wonderful birth with ds2 and it *did* have a huge impact on me and my confidence. It was truly a rite of passage for me. It wasn't easy, but I did it, and **so can YOU**. I also had another homebirth with dd (my 3rd baby) and it was also a wonderful experience.

Be still and quiet in your mind, continue to face your fears while also putting positive images in your mind of how you will follow your body, trust your baby, listen to your instincts and do all of this along *with* having the normal fear and anxiety before giving birth. It's not either/or. Both fear and confidence can be there- just feed the confidence, while acknowledging the fear.

Stay strong mama. You can do this. Keep us posted on your journey.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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I've done it before--naturally, vaginally and I'm getting a little freaked!!

So we can be freaked together.

I'm afraid too of the breach

I'm afraid of F'ing up my last birth.

Crunchy con wife with 1 DS and 1 lil DD born in Jan. I love breastfeeding, CDing and Friday night family bed.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:12 AM
 
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I'm so glad you posted this.

I am feeling so anxious about this birth. I'm not worried about giving birth, per se, what will be will be, but I'm terribly afraid that something is wrong with the baby and that s/he won't make it.

I don't know why I'm so freaked, but I am.

My next appointment is on Tuesday, and I plan to ask for a stress test for the baby. It isn't rational, but the worry is there.
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Old 01-08-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone. The worries are there for me too. The difference for me is that I have had this whole 9 months in therapy to work through those worries (I had a very traumatic birth with my DS and needed help with that). So that may be why I seem to present a calm front.

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Old 01-08-2010, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all, Thank you for reading all of that. It is SO long!

And thanks so much for the support and thoughts, you guys. So many great suggestions, and it means more than you know to know I am not alone. Sometimes I really feel like the last month of pregnancy is a WAY lower depressed scary time than post-partum. It helps a lot to know I'm not going totally crazy.

Mamadedos, I really love that suggestion! I think I will ask dh to take ds to the pool this afternoon so I can try a little positive visualization therapy. I used to keep a journal. I used to have time to keep a journal! Now I just write letters with an old friend, and apparently, write long winded posts on UBB message boards.

It does feel better putting it "out there". FWIW, I so wouldn't feel overshadowed if someone else posted their answers too...it might be good, like group therapy.

Thanks SO much for listening and comisserating...You ladies are amazing!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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you know, I am so glad you posted this. It makes ME feel more normal. I couldn't even read all of that because it might work on me in a worse way, but I do know the feelings. Crazy huh?

Super mom to a 5 1/2 year old girl, almost 4 yr old girl, and 2 year old boy.

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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Rebekah, this soul-baring post is amazing. I think really working through our fears is a cathartic experience. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote...even though I had a great birth experience last time, I still have a lot of fear this time around. The loss of control I experienced physically was really shocking - I needed it to give birth but I really fought it. I'm struggling with being able to put aside my "rational" fears and surrender to the experience. I'm also having a lot of fears about something being wrong with the baby, which I think is normal for us. Birth is so unpredictable and I really want a guarantee I know nobody can give.

You sound like you're really doing some cleansing...during birth it will be so helpful to have confronted those "tigers". I think I'll do this exercise, too. I really hope your birth experience is exactly what you're dreaming of.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I'm 39 weeks today and these are my answers. Unlike many on this board, I'm not in need of a powerful/uplifting birth for healing purposes...I'm just trying to keep up with my track record. Anyway, here are my responses...

I believe childbirth is an amazing experience that I'm fortunate to get to experience.

One of my worst fears for the labor and birth is tearing again. Knowing that it will affect my mind and body in a negative (painful, scars) way.

When I talk about giving birth with other people I explain my excitement of feeling every ounce of this person exiting my body. I share my dreams for another "perfect birth" (which can only be defined and described by me). More than anything, I try to discuss only myself to remove any judgment from their personal choices.

I have concerns about giving birth because I really wanted a homebirth to share this experience with my daughter and my husband and not a slew of strangers in the hospital. I know that stepping into the unknown puts me at the mercy of the "professionals" in the room and that petrifies me.

What fears arise from your mother's retelling of your birth? I've never asked my mother about my birth.

What fears arise from previous experiences at birth? Again, the tearing, the loss of control, the need to "remind" people that I want to be left alone with my child and don't want to have to repeat what should NOT be done to my child.

What fears arise from the anticipation of being out of control? Thinking my OB (whom I trust) will just go through the motions instead of making my son's birth something of beauty and awe.

What fears arise from the expectation of pain associated with labor? No fear. I did it before and will do it again.

What fears arise from the understanding you are becoming a mother (again)? I am horrified at the thought my daughter's life will be turned upside down and I won't be able to help her as I fight out of another PPD haze.

What fears arise from the anticipation of the physical process of labor? I know it will be uncomfortable at times, but also know those times end and the result is a lovely boy on my chest.

What fears arise from the anticipation of being "watched" and meeting expectations? As I don't plan on walking into the hospital until I'm feeling pushy I'm hoping this isn't an issue. Otherwise, I don't mind having people stand in dark corners.

What fears arise from the anticipation of breastfeeding? I had not one issue with nursing my daughter - never an infection, never a latch issue, nothing. I often wonder if I lucked out with her and this time will be more difficult.

What fears arise from comments made by family or friends? None. People are generally supportive of my choices. Better yet, many are in awe of having unmedicated births.

If I felt strong and powerful, I'd like to birth this child in my bathroom - all by myself. Allowing my daughter and my husband to come and go as they please. Making this child's birth something positive and loving.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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I just wanted to comment on your post and say that I commend you for facting your fears and sharing them. For me - I already birthed my "January" baby in December so for me this is all behind me, but I wanted to say that I had many fears as well - some of them I read within your post and I was birthing my 9th baby. I think it is natural and normal to have some fears and worries - that is what makes us human. I know that within the weeks just prior to giving birth to my son I kept telling my dh that I can't do this again, the I don't want to do this again, that I was afraid. With each thing I would say he would attempt to comfort me, but all I kept thinking is "I can't do this again" and was really afraid. In the end I had my longest labor ever, but it was also one of the best. I felt educated going into the birth, very supported and in the end very proud of how I handled the labor and birth. For me it was a very empowering and healing birth even though it was hard. For me it was something that I got to share with my dh (and even my 18 yr old dd) that I will never experience again.

Hang in there and please know that fears are normal no matter what your situation, and all you can do is work through this wonderful process no matter how that path may twist and turn or even go straight. Hugs.

Michelle married to my highschool sweetheart and mom to: DD '88, DS '90, DD '91, DD '94, DD '97, DD '98, DD '01, DD '08, and DS'09

(Non-profit Organization Director and Program Coordinator / Doula / Educator / Massage Therapist)

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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One day at a time.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
So...there it is. Not pretty, eh? I have so many scars to heal...where am I going to find the strength?
Sweetie, you just found your strength out of your fears. You wrote them down & now you just have to face them when you are laboring. You are going to experience birth on YOUR terms, no matter what those terms happen to be.

A doula who married a cop & became a mama to 3 boys: G 12/22/00, my rainbow baby B 2/2/07 and L 2/10/10 my CBA2V baby, waiting for my little caboose late February 2013 & always remembering my two angels 2006 & 2012.

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Old 01-08-2010, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Angela...I hope this doesn't sound weird, but I have found you to be such an example of strength and courageousness throughout the progress of this DDC, and I am amazed to read that you have any doubts. You seem so invincible and tough. It''s sort of nice to hear that you aren't entirely super human.

I went today to register at my back up hospital, it's a really nice hospital, goregous, and the birthing rooms are lovely (certainly compared with the public hospitals of Buenos Aires or San Jose CR that sort of resemble very old run down insane asylums), but the contract you have to sign...I know I CAN say no, but ultimately they will be the ones in chage if I have to tranfer there and that scares the crap out of me, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post
If I felt strong and powerful, I'd like to birth this child in my bathroom - all by myself. Allowing my daughter and my husband to come and go as they please. Making this child's birth something positive and loving.
And how! But ya know, I can't imagine you not coming back here to tell us about anything but a positive and loving birth...I sense that you would kick anyone in the groin who tried to stand in the way of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray's Mommy View Post
Sweetie, you just found your strength out of your fears. You wrote them down & now you just have to face them when you are laboring. You are going to experience birth on YOUR terms, no matter what those terms happen to be.
I think I am getting there.

Thanks again for reading my words, you guys. It means so much to me that I have this safe place to share this. I try to talk to dh but I go into absolute puddles and get that horrible sheep voice and then he starts crying trying to stop me from crying and we get nowhere...Maybe I should let him read it.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:43 AM
 
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My biggest fear is going to the hospital which is totally backwards, because I am a nurse who works in the hospital. Maybe that is why. I know what we do to our patients. I know how things work there and I dont want to be a patient!

Super mom to a 5 1/2 year old girl, almost 4 yr old girl, and 2 year old boy.

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Old 01-09-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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This is my first birth and I am feeling anxious too, mostly at night time. During the day I feel more confident. I never know if it is good to still read a lot about the birthing or if I should start reading something completely different, a novel, to relax because reading about birthing always winds me up a bit. Also, I am wondering if I should focus more on beyond birth when baby is here but all I naturally do is thinking just until the birth.

Mom to Olivia Marlene, raising bilingual: German & English 
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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Thank you for your comments, Rebekkah. You made me tear up.

I hope all of us get exactly the births we want and deserve.

Angela
Chatty Girl - 3/2006, Lovey Boy - 1/2010, Delicious Baby Girl - 1/2012
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