March 6, 2012

I Wish We All Could Win

Can you believe it's March already? 2012 is in full force and sometimes I feel like I haven't gotten any time to catch my breath, but I think that's how life is. I'm certain one of these days I'll blink and Miles will be going off to preschool. I'm so lovestruck by the leading men in my life these days. They're funny and silly and handsome and completely lovable.

It's in these lovestruck moments where I find clarity on feelings that I, over the last year or so, have been working through and mulling over. When I found out I was pregnant with the tiny sesame seed that became Miles, I researched all kinds of things like the novice baby maker that I was. Topics like birth and breastfeeding became even more fascinating because it was something I was about to experience. I realized that there are very staunch camps out there in MommyLand: breastfeeding versus formula feeding, natural birth versus epidurals or C-sections, cloth diapers versus disposable diapers, the list went on and on. I told myself that I would go for a natural birth- I watched The Business of Being Born more times than I could count. The moment the midwife would say to the mother, "Reach down and pick up your baby!" I would smile and happily imagine myself easily and effortlessly give birth without any medication, in no more than eight hours. I set natural birth up on a pedestal and actually felt bad for the poor women out there who got the evil epidural in the hospital. Looking back, I laugh. Sympathetic laughter for the girl who thought she knew it all, and joyful laughter for the girl who learned this bit of truth: a mama and baby who are both alive and well are all that matter.

I did learn my lesson. After Miles was born, the lactation consultant at the hospital told me to expect a hard time breastfeeding because I got the "evil epidural". Someone actually asked me how I felt about my "birth failure" and told me I put Miles in harm's way. I was upset, until I realized that this was exactly how I had thought of other women before I experienced my son's birth. It dawned on me that this is not a right or wrong situation. Neither is how a baby gets fed, and I don't think Miles will get frowned upon in college because he didn't wear cloth diapers as a baby. Women should not be so hard on each other; I shouldn't have been hardheaded about things I knew absolutely nothing about. Miles's birth still brings tears of joy to my eyes and his existence brings me joy each day- what more could I ask for?

Moral of the story: if you don't want a natural birth, there's no shame in that. If you planned a natural birth but decided to get an epidural, there's no shame in that either. If you want a natural birth, I say go for it! And by all means, feed your baby whichever way works for you.

Whew. It felt good to get that written down. I just feel blessed that I'm getting enough sleep at night that I have time to type these thoughts out. Speaking of which, it's that time again- goodnight for now!

Leave a comment here!