Born to Mom

What does “Born to Mom” mean? You know when someone says, “she was born to sing” Well, it’s like that. Most women are born with the ability to birth children. Some choose not to, others choose to have one and be done, some moms have lots of kids, and others get pregnant and don’t know what to think or do. I’m one of those women that always wanted to be a mom. I was, in no simpler terms, Born to Mom.

July 27th, 2012

I knew I wanted to be a mom from the time I was a little girl. I would play with my dolls and mother them. Or I would get caught “mothering” my friends and would get in trouble for being a bossy boots. I was only doing it out of my desire to be a mom, sorry Britney and Michaela.

I remember the first time I saw a mom breastfeed. I was about five years old, laying in a hammock with my babysitter  in Acapulco, Mexico. She nursed her infant son and I watched.  I didn’t know what to think at first. I knew my mom had boobs, but I never saw her feed anyone from them. I was intrigued and asked her what she was doing. You see, I was not breastfed as a baby and up until this point, I had no idea that babies could eat from anything other than bottles. This new knowledge was something that stuck with me and I am forever grateful to Daisy for telling me about breastfeeding and not using a cover.

Over the years, I became fascinated with babies and birth. By the time I was a teen, being a mom dominated my train of thought. I knew I wanted to wait until I was out of college to have children, but I also wanted to experience birth and having my own child. I watched my friends get pregnant; some kept their babies and others gave them away. No matter which option they chose, none of them seemed too interested in the art of giving birth. They all went to the hospital, had an epi, and went about their lives. Some of them had c-sections and others were just heavily doped up. I wasn’t them, though, so I didn’t feel it was my place to butt in.

Fast forward a couple of years and a story by a woman I’d never met before, changed my life and my decision-making process forever. She blogs under the moniker BabySlime on Live Journal. I was combing the  natural birth boards looking for stories of loss and hope and came across hers. She wrote the most beautiful, heart-wrenching birth stories about her daughter Tempest and sons Xan and Jericho. Jericho was born via unnecessary c-section and died shortly after birth. Thinking about his story sends shivers down my spine. The birth of Xan was an unassisted home VBAC and is the story I credit for making me capable of having a natural birth. Her stories of birth, loss, and redemption inspire me and, without her blog, I don’t know what type of birth experience I would have had. She made me aware that ten years of medical school doesn’t qualify you to deliver a baby.

After reading Bab’s blog, I knew I needed to have a natural birth. From the time I first read her blog in 2004 to the time I had Atticus in 2011, I focused on natural birth like you would not believe. I knew there would be pain; that didn’t scare me. I knew that there would be times when I wanted to throw in the towel, but that did not happen. I knew that if this tiny Canadian woman could birth a beautiful nine-pound baby at home with no one but her spouse and daughter surrounding her, that I could birth my children without medical intervention. And I did just that (you can read Atticus’ birth story here).

I remember the first time I told Kevin about my desire to have a natural birth. He kind of laughed it off. He didn’t take me too seriously, but when my pregnancy with Atticus entered the second trimester, I think it finally clicked in his head that I would be having a natural birth. I had researched birth throughly, but knew that he needed to take a class on the subject.

We signed up for Bradley classes and over 12 weeks he became educated on why his crazy little wife wanted this type of birth experience. By the time the sixth week rolled around, he was preaching the natural birth message too. I’m proud of my husband for not being shy and informing friends, co-workers, and even strangers about how wonderful natural birth is.

When it was time to have Atticus, we were ready to welcome our baby into this world without chemicals, drugs, or intervention. We said no to the eye goop, and to the HepB vaccine and let our little boy have some peace after his exciting journey to us. We were given multiple due dates and he was born between 41 and 42 weeks according to them… but to us, he arrived right on time.

Being Born to Mom goes far beyond the birth experience though, because whether you have a natural birth or not, you are a mom. No one can take that from you, but how you choose to be a mom is what your child will remember.

I am of the mindset that if I project calm and peaceful energy, my child will reflect that and for Atticus this rings true. I have what most people would call an “easy baby.” I hate that term, but it is said to me nearly daily. He is a happy baby who will smile at anyone. He only cries when he wants to be held or comforted and, for the most part, he is pretty mellow. I like to think that his sunny disposition is a reflection of the pregnancy and delivery I had. He entered the world in a low-stress environment and that is the personality he chose to develop.

When I read or hear about moms struggling with their babies and just wanting to let them cry it out, it breaks my heart. I know being a mom can be stressful, but the way you parent can impact your child so heavily that “cry it out” isn’t worth it to me. Our babies are only young once, this time is short. I would rather have it spent comforting my little one. Maybe this is because I wanted to be a mom for so long, or because my son is “easy,” but I don’t want to let him cry.  He doesn’t need to just cry.

For those moms who feel in over their heads, I can’t relate to you. Sometimes I try to relate to you, but I really can’t. I read your posts about hating your babies or wanting to lock yourself in a room without them, and I don’t know what to tell you. I have never felt that way towards my son, and sometimes I just wonder if it’s a difference in circumstances. You couldn’t imagine natural birthing, and I couldn’t imagine having an unplanned pregnancy. Maybe that’s the difference.  I wish there was a way I could support the struggling mom out of her slump, because the joy I have with my son is unparalleled.

Tomorrow marks eight months of breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and natural birthing. Not everything has gone according to plan (read co-sleeping), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was born to be Atticus’s mom, I hope you were Born to Mom too.

If you would like to read my birth plan and tips for making a successful plan you can click here

If you would like tips for achieving a natural birth you can click here 

 

 

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About the author

Xza
Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Stephanieparis -  August 4, 2012 - 9:04 am

    This is the type of story I read & say “yep, awe, uh-huh, yep, totally….” and so on.

    The whole story. Entire story. Except Matt is a fan of what He is influenced by & wasn’t a fan of me wanting natural birth but promised he’d hold my hand.

    I commend you on diving in. Learning. Sticking to it all. I try so hard to & sometimes it’s easier to cave let others opinions happen since I can’t tell them shut up. (frowned upon apparently) BUT I refuse to do CIO so for that part I have stood my ground.

    Xza you definitely make me smile when reading this. Totally makes me feel like I’m not crazy. Or alone on the feet to accomplishing my mommygoals. Happy 8 months. We just achieved 6!

  2. Mercedes -  August 4, 2012 - 9:10 am

    I think your mothering experience has been so wonderful because you have such an easy baby. I always felt I was made to mother, I was ok with giving birth in a hospital and letting them goop him up. I let him sleep skin to skin the 3 days I was in the hospital. Once we got home he changed and started crying all the time. He is a testy baby…he can be in my arms all day and the moment I put him down he screams. I put him in a wrap and he screams. I co-sleep with him and pick him up whenever he cries but even then he will scream in my arms for no reason.

    I think this is where the frustration starts. I am a single mother handling this alone. Even though I have changed him, fed him , burped and am rocking/singing to him…he is screaming…in my face. When you have a tiny human screaming in your face for hours a day despite talking softly and calmly and massaging him and what not….the feelings of inadequacy arise. I always felt it would come naturally but clearly I am lacking something my little man needs because he’s not a “happy baby”.

    On the same coin, all babies are different. If you have a second one, he/she could be a crier like mine. I think you just got the luck of the draw that your first one was a breeze.

    • Geneva -  August 4, 2012 - 8:29 pm

      I doubt you’re lacking anything! I agree with the whole luck of the draw thing. I cannot imagine having a baby screaming constantly. My son was fairly good natured as an itty bitty, and is still always very happy and adventurous and friendly, but I am none of those things. I am stressed out and overworked. I am not calm, and my baby tends to be. Now that he’s mobile, he’s loud and fast, but still happy. I didn’t do anything special to make him that way, it’s just the way he is.
      I cannot imagine how stressful it must be to deal with a screaming baby 24/7. And doing it alone? That’s where even Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book recommends putting your baby somewhere safe and walking away for a few minutes to collect yourself. Motherhood (for me, anyway) is hard. That doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a great job.

      • Mercedes -  August 5, 2012 - 2:12 pm

        Thats basically all you can do with a touchy baby like he is. Nothing sets him off really…he just cries in his down time.

        I dont think the birthing experience has anything to do with the type of baby you have. I think they develop their personalities in the womb. I’m sure even the most calm home water births create screaming babies, and stressful hospital births also create calm babies. It’s just all luck!

        I would have loved to have an easy baby, maybe it would have made the whole process easier, but I am pretty emotional, i dont know how I ever expected to have a calm baby lol

  3. Risa -  August 4, 2012 - 9:56 am

    Xza I love this post. I always knew from IG and just getting to know you via text you would be an exceptional mother. Than I got the honor of meeting you and Atticus. You blew me away. You are truly one of the best mommy’s I know. You are right because Atticus does mimic that.

  4. 1_stefanie -  August 5, 2012 - 4:02 am

    Beautiful post! Loved it! I too have an “easy baby” and people almost make it seam that it’s a bad thing or say it in an almost jealous tone. This is what I always get, “is she always like this?”,”of course you want more because she’s so easy, the next one won’t be.” really? People are just rude. What really gets under my skin is people saying, just wait a few more years, she’ll start annoying you, you’ll want her to shut up blah blah blah. I can’t see myself ever being like that. I love being a mom and I want to be there for my daughter 100%. I want to be as involved as she will let me.

  5. kimberly -  August 6, 2012 - 9:05 pm

    I dont have an easy baby. I have three boys, amd i can honestly say ben (just turned one) is by far my most challenging baby BY FAR! from the moment he was born he has been a needy baby. But you know what? I love it. I know that as he gets older and more mobile guess what he wont need me! and maybe its because I have two older kids that I understand now that the crying doesnt last forever (even at 3 am) when you cant figure out what they need and your thinking your going to break. It ends and one day you wake up and hes starting kinder and your realizing you raised an amazing baby into a kid. I am a young mom, had my first at 19 second at 21 and third at 24. I LOVE being a mom! I was never able to let them “cry it out’ It hurt me to hear them cry when I knew they wanted something even if it was just for me to hold them. Sure when ben was real little I didnt get much done. I didnt get any me time, at all. I am proud to say he is 1 and still breast feeding. I am still co-sleeping. and I am happy.

  6. Hollie -  August 10, 2012 - 11:41 am

    This has been my favorite post this month. I feel the exact same way, I feel like being a mom is what I was put on this earth to do 🙂

  7. Erin -  August 19, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    Nice article-but it bothers me the way you talk about ‘goop in the eye’ and ‘c-sections’ like its some awful unneccesity. I had a c-section because the umbilical was wrapped around my baby’s neck several times and therefore she never descended. I don’t think of myself as less than a mother who refused an epi, and would have a ‘medicated hospital’ birth tomorrow if it was an option. Don’t think that’s such a terrible thing!!!

    • Xza Louise -  August 19, 2012 - 1:38 pm

      Hi Erin! Thanks for reading my post. “Being Born to Mom goes far beyond the birth experience though, because whether you have a natural birth or not, you are a mom. No one can take that from you, but how you choose to be a mom is what your child will remember.” I put that in there specifically to reiterate that birth experience has nothing to do with the ability to mom. I know amazing moms who opted for eye goop, rooming-out (baby in the nursery while in the hospital) and c-sections. I personally am very much against unnecessary interventions as they pertain to my son. Since I do not have an STD, the eye goop was unnecessary for us. Sometimes c-sections are necessary, and there is nothing one can do about that, that wasn’t my case. I am an advocate for less intervention and more natural birthing, that’s all any of that meant.

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