Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remember what matters the most

Last night on Twitter there was a chat group about the live birth that was streamed live online. A woman was in labor with her first baby at the hospital and she chose to share her labor and delivery online through video cameras in her delivery room.

I followed the Twitter chat and the delivery online. I don't know how many of you followed it as well. I don't know if the woman had any prior pain medications before her epidural, but she did an awesome job of handling her contractions if she had not. Many women participated in the Twitter chat and it was interesting to hear what all the women were saying. Some women were very supportive of the woman's birthing experience while others were not supportive of her medicated birth. As you can imagine these negative comments came from doulas and others who had a natural births. Some women even commented they wished they were able to have a vaginal birth. I was very surprised the negative comments I received after I commented that all that matters was a healthy baby in the end.

Listening to these women stirred up more emotions again about how judgmental moms are against other moms. I try not to participate in controversial topics, but I think I need to voice my opinion here on my blog.

In the short time I have been a mom I see time and time again how women are judgmental against each other. You know what the hot topics are:
  • vaginal birth vs. c-section
  • medicated vs. natural
  • breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
  • breastfeeding to 1 year old vs. breastfeeding through toddler-hood
  • stay at home mom vs. work outside the home mom
  • delayed vaccinations vs. regular vaccination schedule
  • having several kids vs. having one child
I could go on and on about the various parenting topics as well. We all know the different opinions, but I would list these as the most controversial topics.

My Thoughts
As moms we all have our own opinions and beliefs about how we want our childbirth to be and how we want to raise our children. We also both have our own facts, studies and experts that we can "show each other why our way is the best".  You could talk to another mom til you are blue in the face about your facts and studies and more than likely you still still not convince her that your style of parenting is best and if she wants to be a "good mom" she better switch to "your side".

I am going to talk about some of these hot topics:
  1. Medicated Birth vs. Natural Birth: The largest group facing judgment from the other is the medicated births. The majority of natural birthing women cast judgment on the women who choose a medicated birth. This was clearly demonstrated last night on the Twitter chat. For whatever reasons a natural birthing mom chooses her birth route, she is not a better mom because she chose no medications. She does not experience a better birth or a more enjoyable birth. I think some natural birthing moms were even surprised how pleasant the woman's medicated birth was last night as she was laughing and smiling! Yes, I believe a medicated birth is more enjoyable than a natural one. You can focus on the joy of the moment and not focusing on your pain. However, that is my opinion, and some natural birthing moms may feel that they experience a more joyful birth. I wish I would see less judgment from natural birthing moms to the medicated birthing moms! You are not a super woman, we all are!  What matters is a healthy baby at the end of that delivery!
  2. Breastfeeding to 1 year old vs. breastfeeding through toddler-hood: The majority of woman only breastfeed to 1 year old or less. Women who breastfeed past 1 year old are often criticized saying how "dirty and gross" it is. There is nothing magical about turning 1 year old that makes feeding your baby wrong! Women continue to breastfeed their toddlers because of the benefits they believe it brings to their children. I just weaned my 14 month old although I really wanted to breastfeed until 2 years old. For several reasons I chose to wean earlier than planned, but that was my choice. Before I weaned him I had made it clear to family and friends of my plans to breastfeed him to 2 years old. I had many negative remarks made to me. It is very sad that my own friends and family were not supportive of my decision and felt the need to express their opinions to me!
  3. Stay at home mom vs. working outside the home mom: We all know the working mom gets criticized more here! I'm a stay at home mom, but we all have our own choices to make in life and do not criticize those who choose to work.
  4. Having several kids vs. Having 1 child: Both groups are criticized! Everyone seems to be nosy when you are having kids and how many. I really avoid asking this question to anyone unless it is a close friend. This is a very personal decision and really it is not anyone's business! Quite judging those who have 19 kids or 1! I have already been pressured by people to have another child already. Really, are they supporting me financially and have the right to tell me??
All of this being said: I think we fail to realize to Remember What Matters the Most! A healthy, happy child(ren) and family! Quite judging others how they choose to bring their child into the world or how they choose to raise them. Even if you don't agree, just support them and go on. Don't express your negative thoughts or ideas to them. Being a parent is stressful enough, we don't need to hear crap that comes from another person.

Just remember, there are millions of women out there who are trying to start a family and have a healthy pregnancy. There are also moms daily who give birth prematurely, have miscarriages or give birth to a sick baby. There are also moms who have a sick child and is fighting to live at this moment. Really all that matters to them is to have a healthy baby or child. If you have given birth to a healthy baby or have a healthy child YOU ARE BLESSED & THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS!

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Samantha said...

Amen! :)

flowers said...

I appreciated your voice last night in the discussion, because it is so important to remember that the most important thing is (well, first healthy mom and baby), but woman's ability to choose the birth style she prefers.

Coming from a doula perspective I have to tell you it was a first for me to attend a birth and yet not attending the birth. We were freed from using our professional personas where we stand by that mom and bite our tongue. We didn't have to do that last night and true emotions came out.

I think, for the majority that the criticisms were not of Lynsee. I didn't get that sense at all. We, as doulas and mws saw the holes in her support system and because we see births we also see some very disturbing outcomes that can come with medication. It was our own emotions and commentary of our experiences tied in with our inability to help where usually we are helping.

I think it was a learning experience for everyone. It had never been done before.

Thanks for you thoughts.

Unknown said...

AMEN, SISTER. I agree with you 100%. We defintely do NOT need to be so judgemental!

Katie said...

Great post!

Lisa said...

preach on! I can say with all honesty that to me my second birth was so much more relaxed as I had an epi with that one, I had a spinal with my first but it was botched! It was so nice with my son to be relaxed during the majority of his birth and to only experience a small amount of pain compared to my first. We do not need to be super woman. having pain meds does not make us an less of a woman nor does it make our birth any less special or work! Breastfeeding is a personal choice and I am so pissed at the woman who try to make those that do not feel bad. For me I loved the experience of bf my son however I was forced to ween after only 2 months due to a heart condition and my meds. I understand being passionate in our opinions but there is no reason to be disrespectful or hateful.

felicitouschick said...

Let me provide the flip-side...I had a medicated birth first, and a Hypnobabies drug-free, natural birth second. It was my drug-free birth in which I felt less pain, was peaceful, able to sing, laugh, talk normally, relax, and experience God's amazing creative design in childbirth. I am not more of a superwoman than a non-natural birthing Mom, but I am passionate about natural childbirth. Why? Because I felt like superwoman! The first time I was afraid and unsure, the second time, I took responsibility for my birthing time and made well-researched decisions (compared to my first, which was not a good experience--I needed that to learn from). There is a flood of endorphins at the end of a natural birth that was halted by my pain meds the first time--that is the flood that leaves you refreshed instead of tired, and feeling like superwoman, instead of like sleeping--and my babe was this way too--far more alert! It is that experience that I long for others to have, not because it is right, but because having had both, it would be sad to miss out on--God's mercy and plan was so evident to me! 9 lbs 2.5 oz can be a comfortable birthing experience w/out pain medication--no one was more shocked than I!

Annie said...

Awesome fantastic wonderful post!

Yes, all of us as moms need to focus on the joy of seeing your baby for the first time - not how it got to that point! Sure I still wish I could have a vaginal birth but that does not make me any less "empowered" and I can still do anything, even though I couldn't have a vaginal birth!
Thank you for this post Cheri! You are amazing!

cwendel said...

Ok, this issue is now more than a month old and I am just getting on board! I agree whole-heartedly, a healthy baby is top priority! I will tell you from a medical professional standpoint - I am a physical therapist with emphasis in spine and women's health - that there are so very many things that can go wrong with a birth PERIOD! I also am very "alternative" in my approach to many things. That being said, having a baby is one of the most hazardous "natural" things a woman can do. Yes, it is a natural thing, but also has so many ways to be tragic. Just look at the veterinary world - they have natural births 100% of the time, and still lose their babies and themselves quite often. And I won't even go into the sequelae in later life of nearly 50% of women who've had children - incontinence and organ prolapse WHICH CAN BE HELPED BEFORE IT BEGINS!!! See your women's health PT today!! :)
That being said, I tried for a Bradley Birth, was in natural labor 26 hours and ended up with a csection 8 hours later after 4 and 1/2 hours of pushing! She was stuck, face up and not turning. In that moment I was never so glad to see the surgeon and the needle, and I realized that there was NO WAY I could have had that baby without medical intervention. Yes, our bodies are wonderful and meant to have children, but please realize, I laid there and knew that she was not coming out by my efforts alone. It was a terrible feeling. If not for modern medicine, she and possibly I wouldn't be here today. That's what used to happen.
So I agree with Chari fully. Let's all be supportive to this tough job of parenting, and if someone wants to hear why we feel the way we do, then share it. Otherwise, let's be kind and non-judgmental. I wanted a natural birth, tried it, couldn't do it, and was so grateful for modern medicine. Encourage those on the fence to do their own research and decide for themselves. Being there as a resource is the best example you can set! Our special time with our little ones is too short to worry about others!


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