In the past week I have been watching twitter closely and observing a first time mother become overdue and some of the comments she got as she considered talking to her provider more about labor induction. While I am not someone who supports labor induction for non medical reasons, I am someone that supports women being able to make their own educated choices in their health care.
Now, we all may favor natural childbirth over medicalized childbirth, but when we start telling women they are uneducated, or putting them down, this is not going to reflect positively on the natural childbirth community. I have had so many women pregnant, and not pregnant contact me via twitter thanking me for my information and not putting it in a radical way. I always viewed myself as a radical when it came to passing along information regarding childbirth too.
I think it was about a year and a half ago I made the change from radical to true advocate. I had a couple people in our local community talk to me about my approach on childbirth and give me some tips that could help me get my message across in a more positive manner. One of these women is a highly respected local midwife, and also internet blogger. So when her words came out, I listened very carefully and then started to understand and see that the message I had, and information I was passing along was received better when backed up with facts, information, and given in a positive delivery than it did before when I would just rant and rave about how bad hospitals are or about how women are idiots for listening to their provider and taking their word as gold.
While those are certainly some things I believe, there it just a better way to approach things that wouldn’t make me look like a raving lunatic and in that period of time, I also found my message is reaching more people. From increasing my own blog traffic, writing for our local newspaper about childbirth, pregnancy, and early parenting, and getting on board the new Giving Birth With Confidence Blog powered by Lamaze, and reaching more women in my local community, it has really put my message and approach into perspective for me.
Certainly there is a time and place for rants, and for raves. I saw some amazingly authored ones this week by Kristen at Birthing Beautiful Ideas, and from my all time favorite blogger Gina The Feminist Breeder, which talked about Doula Bans and birth plans. Well authored, amazingly worded, positive outcome rants. Which is how we should all work to word our rants instead of spur of the moment words we can’t take back that will in turn make others look differently at you, or maybe not take you as seriously as they once did.
The purpose of this is not to hand slap anyone, or to say you should or should not be approaching childbirth the way you do, or the way you council women, or tweet, or however you are involved. The message is simply step back and take a look at your approach and ask yourself… Will this be helpful or hurtful to the cause I am working for?
The other day, I was reading Sarah (One Starry Night)’s blog and I could more than relate to her post about natural parenting and being the “odd ball” in your family because of your parenting choices. I wanted to write something about it, not only in support of Sarah, because there were some people who got pretty… ugly… with her choice in not vaccinating her children, but I think that a lot of us who are on the more attachment parenting side of the spectrum get a lot of this from our families unless they are really parent, or parented the same way.
I have had so many experiences with my own extended family, as well as my husbands extended family that there are so many stories just to simply not get into, but it has certainly made me feel like a bad person on more than one occasion for the way I parent my children, or the choices I make/made regarding their and my health care.
I will start with a family member who has had 4 elective cesareans. Not one, not 2, but 4. All for no medical reason. I am sure there is way more to it, but after I had my first I got heavily involved into the cesarean awareness community because of my feelings on my experience. Now, if you are in my shoes, and ever sat down with someone who had elective cesareans, or LOVED their c-section you can already know you aren’t going to get very far. But what upset me the most was the facebook remove for the ICAN stuff I posted. Luckily I have my kick ass mom to back me up, and she unfriended her right back. BOOYA sucker! No more picnics for you!
Virtually no one in my family, besides my mother knows that our oldest child we have selectively vaccinated, and our youngest, we have not vaccinated at all. Nor do we plan on even thinking about it until after he is a year old. I spoke of this choice one time in front of my FIL and his long time girlfriend. BIG mistake. I spent hours upon hours trying to explain my parenting choice, and why as a family we made this decision.
Again bringing me to the cross roads where I decided to simply not bring it up again.
With my oldest, I breastfeed much longer than my second (if you don’t know what happened with my second child, you can refer to this post) but I remember with my oldest I went to my sister’s baby shower. Her pregnancy was a huge surprise as she had not told anyone until after my baby shower, which was October, and she was due in April… SURPRISE! Anyways, my youngest was about 2 months old, and clearly he became hungry. So my instinct? Feed him. I sat down on the couch, grabbed my blanket, and went to nurse him. I was interrupted 3 times by my grandmother offering a strangers bedroom to nurse in. No thanks, I got a blanket, I am all set! Took 3 times before my mother stepped in and basically told her to go fly a kite.
When I got pregnant with my second child, a few months into my pregnancy, we were having a sit down dinner with a couple family members when one chimed in and asked when my cesarean was scheduled for. If you had seen the look of horror on my face you would have got a pretty good laugh. After the initial shock wore off, my husband chimed in and said we were planning a VBAC with midwives and a doula. Said family member, ex nursing school student from 30+ years ago chimes in about how dangerous VBAC’s are.
My words could not come out of my mouth quick enough with statistics, and facts mixed in. I am sure I looked like a raving lunatic, but she is lucky she didn’t get drop kicked along with my words.
All in all, I think we all have some family members who think our choices as parents may be “extreme” or “radical” but I have come to realize it doesn’t matter in the end what they think. These are my children, and my choices to make.
They had their children to raise any way they deemed fit, and now it is my turn, and I think I am doing a pretty damn good job thus far.
They are both still alive right? LMAO!
There are a lot of things people in our families may not like, but we have made the choice to simply keep the majority of our choices to ourselves now. It makes life so much easier in the long run. No drama, and nothing for others to criticize.