My husband looked at me today and said, “I feel bad for your mother.”
The first thing that entered my mind was, “great another person ganging up on me. “ Turns out he wasn’t ganging up on me at all. He was about to tell me how he felt bad for my mother, because I had read up on parenting techniques and babies so much more than she had.
Grandma and Atticus
Over the weekend my mom and step father were in town and while we don’t always agree on things it was amazing to watch them love on their first grandchild.
I remember speaking to my mother while I was pregnant and laughing off most of her suggestions. She had a very typical pregnancy and birth. She had an epidural, an episiotomy and her water never broke. I was formula fed, put in disposable diapers and was probably severely colic in addition to having acid reflux without being diagnosed.
She never had any other children.
She thought her birth was as good as they come and reiterated throughout my pregnancy to get the epidural and have the episiotomy. I was determined to have the birth I wanted and for simplicity sakes would just ignore her comments. I told her I wanted a water birth and yes, that would involve me saying no to drugs. I told her I didn’t want an episiotomy and she cringed. Oh well. It was my birth and I was determined to have it happen my way.
In order to have the birth I wanted I researched and read every article I could get my hands on. The husband and I went to Bradley classes to gain knowledge towards having a natural birth. I looked up better ways to raise my child and came up with lists of things I wanted to try. I knew the first step would be having a natural birth and everything else would come just as naturally.
At birth we breastfed, we opted against the eye ointment and Hep B vaccination, we said no to a pacifier and for putting Atticus in the nursery. We wanted to room in and we did not want to adhere to a hospital schedule. When Atticus was 3 days old I put him in his moby wrap. Partially for him to be close, but in reality it was so I could try to get back into the swing of things. At 5 days old we found a doctor who agreed to a delayed vaccine schedule and at 8 days old we started cloth diapering.
Each day I learn something new in the realm of parenting and each day I try to be a little more informed. My mother’s experience isn’t rare; it’s more like the norm. I don’t judge her for having an epidural, formula feeding or using disposable diapers, but I do judge her for not being more informed. It scares me that she didn’t know any better and that the women, family and doctors she surrounded herself with didn’t tell her about the benefits of the alternative options.
Being informed is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and child. Natural birth isn’t for everyone, breastfeeding may not work out for you and sure cloth diapering may not be feasible for you, but knowing about all the options will make you the best mother you can be.