After posting yesterday about my birth plans for baby #2, there were a couple of great spin off posts written in the community regarding birth experiences and the different expectations that women have for how they hope their birthing times will unfold. Honestly, it was hard for me to read through the comments without getting fired up, mainly because it felt like there were a lot of the same old “just be grateful” mantras being repeated – as if women who are pregnant after an ALI journey don’t deserve to hope for the perfect birth experience for them that includes feeling loved and supported and validated AND includes a healthy baby at the end. This definitely isn’t the first time I’ve read comments like these – it just brought it to the forefront of my mind since I had just written my post!
A few points I feel I need to throw out there:
- Having birth preferences doesn’t mean your ultimate goal isn’t a healthy baby.
- It’s as simple as that. I’m sure this is something I’m overly sensitive about, but it hits me wrong every time I see someone say “well all I wanted was a healthy baby at the end” — as if that isn’t true for all of us!
- Having birth preferences also doesn’t doom you to devastation and remorse if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
- For me, we even had a plan in place for if a c-section became necessary for any reason, and I had my “change of plans” HypnoBabies script ready if I was feeling upset about how things were going to help remind myself that things were happening that way for a reason and that was okay. I’m a planner, and for me, it made me feel good to know that my husband and my midwife and my nurses were all on the same page as me and to know what to expect if different situations arose.
- No woman should have to lower the bar on her expectations and hopes for her ideal birth experience just to avoid getting her hopes dashed if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
- I read this over and over as well – that it was somehow better to go in with no expectations so that you didn’t risk having the experience not match your expectations. I call bull shit on that, because I think it totally depends on the individual. I’m a “shoot for the stars and plan and hope for the best” girl on most stuff, and you’d better believe I’m going to plan for the best experience possible for me and this baby! However, I get that not everyone is like that. As a commenter and friend on my last post said, she’s a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” person, so for her, her ideal birth experience looked totally different than mine. That’s fine! But can’t we all just support each other’s plans – whether it’s for an OB delivery in a hospital with a level 4 NICU or a midwife assisted home birth? We all have to do what we feel best and safest about!
- We all have different views on birth.
- In my opinion, it’s not a scary, painful event to fear – it’s a natural, normal part of life. I truly believe that. I think having that mindset about it has completely shaped what kind of birth experience I hope for – just as your feelings about birth have shaped YOUR birth experience expectations.
- And maybe most importantly, I don’t give a rats ass how other people choose to birth their babies.
- If you are winging it and showing up and seeing how things go – fine.
- If you are want an induction and an epidural – fine.
- If you are having a c-section because of some high risk situation – fine.
- If you are doing it all natural because it feels right to you – fine.
My point? You gotta do what feels right to you. The important part is feeling supported by those around you (your partner AND your care providers) during the experience.
The judgement and condescension and “just be grateful” mantras need to stop. I hear it in real life from my friends as much as I read it in blogs, and it’s so pointless and does nothing but make people feel bad and defensive about their decisions and birth experiences. We all deserve to be supported during our birthing times, and that can start by us supporting one another! I’m sure some people think I’m crazy for the type of birth experience I’d like to have. I don’t claim to understand people who want a total opposite birth experience of me. And again, that’s fine! I can’t say that enough.
Let’s just work on supporting one another and saying “YES, I wish the best for you. I wish the best for your baby. I pray you get to experience the perfect birth experience for you.”
Let’s quit lowering the bar just to avoid the potential fallout, and instead work on holding the bar up a little higher for each other to make sure we’re there to catch each other if we fall.