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!
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