Since starting to write about pregnancy on my blog, I have received so many comments, emails, and even a handwritten letter about my thoughts and experiences as well as other people's opinions and their experiences and I am amazed at the numerous remarks! I have been writing blogs since 2007 and I have received more input in the last 3 months on this topic than I have for any blog that I have written in all the years combined! Which, to me, is really exciting and interesting to have finally generated a topic of conversation and opinion; but its also a hot button topic right now. What I didn't expect is that so many people would take this blog personally or see themselves in the blog.
My thoughts on this subject have come from years of being interested in childbirth, starting when I was taking entry to midwifery classes in college; I have absorbed every birth story from friends to hippiesew members (way back in the day) to birth stories I read on the web, and every pregnancy discussion over all the years including those with my friends, or members of the numerous groups that I am part of online, friends from years past especially those in college or high school friends who have shared their experiences with me and their births, my family, and lots more. This has been a subject discussed at length, because it interests me. I am also fortunate to know many medical professionals, from doulas, to midwives to physician assistants, doctors and nurses. All of these people have knowledge and opinions on the subject of childbirth and I have discussed it with many people at different points in time. So when people read this blog and think they may be the topic or subject of the post, I get confused, because I am writing this about me. I have no intention to make anyone hurt, or that I am calling out anyone in particular, or that I only have talked to *you* about this subject. I have had numerous people think I am talking about them, and really, I am not! I am making huge generalizations about the percentages of women who breastfeed or have epidurals, and many other things, so don't think this is about *anyone* in particular.
Starting this blog has really helped me heal some of my fears about pregnancy and birth itself; its also helped me understand what it's like to be a mother more than I ever knew before, even though I still don't understand fully. Writing this has helped ME heal. And the other reason I started this was to see if there were other pregnant/expecting mothers who felt same this way or did so when they were pregnant. That I cannot be the only person out there who is confused and downright annoyed with the sea of misinformation and statistics that say one thing, and then the same stats that say the opposite. I thought that I cannot be the only mother out there experiencing all the fears that surround pregnancy, the opinions from other people and trying to adjust to this new world of motherhood, which is completely foreign to me. In the process, I have really learned about myself and to not judge others for their decisions about anything (not just pregnancy) because I don't want to be judged for not wanting to know the sex of my baby or have the vanity to dye my hair, or because I chose to forgo a hospital birth for a more natural experience in a birth center with midwives not physicians. Or because I am not strong enough to have headaches all day for months on end, and I would rather take tylenol or have my peppermint oil than suffer; some might think that is selfish, and thats okay by me.
Each person has to handle pregnancy differently and feel comfortable with their decisions. And I know that I have read and studied the topics enough and am comfortable making that decision. Just like the mother drinking coffee who gets chewed out by the 16 year old behind the counter; its not like that mother doesn't understand the implications of a cup of coffee, or the glares another mother in the starbucks line receives even thought she buys the decaf, or the gal at Coors brewery drinking NA beer getting glares and stares. One friend even mentioned that her sister-in-law who was around 5 months pregnant wanted to play in the new fallen snow around Christmas time, and the family nearby all shook their heads "no" and said she should go rest instead. Is there a no snow rule too?
Maybe we just judge everyone all the time about everything superficial from skin color to the clothes we wear, and pregnancy is no different? But its something that I still don't understand. Maybe everyone just feels like they need to protect that newborn with knowledge so the woman is doing everything right? Or everyone has different reasons? I haven't really gotten into the real *hot button* topics that I am interested in talking about like nursing and the sigma that our culture has with it, medical intervention during birth at a high rate in the US, and even wine during pregnancy and I hope I can discuss these things without making people feel personally upset.
Anyway, my long winded point is that there is no one person I am calling out in any of these posts, I appreciate all the opinions, discussions, comments and more because even if its a differing opinion, its still someone caring about me enough to say "hey, maybe you should look into this." I really hope I can do better at writing and not making people think that I am talking about them, I am sorry if anyone feels upset about this personally, but I hope that at least with this post people understand no matter what I say its not coming from malice or annoyance at ALL.
Afterthought: As I read this blog out loud to Josh, who is good at pointing out things that I miss, I broke into tears, sobbing. (still a little emo in 2nd trimester) I hate to upset or hurt anyone and I go out of my way in life to make sure I say the right thing, or do the right thing, its something I am paranoid about, I never want to make anyone upset. And I again question if I should keep writing, but my husband and therapist continue to push me to write, because the positive changes in me are apparent to them (and sometimes even to myself).