During this time, I've been prepping for it all and attempting to focus on myself. I didn’t want to add the pressure of releasing a monthly episode to my plate. I still absolutely love doing this and have no plans to stop but for the time being, episodes will be released...when I feel like it? Yea, that works! :)
So! The point of this post isn't just to announce awesome news. This is a rant nicely disguised as a blog post 😁 There are things I’ve experienced in the relatively short time since becoming pregnant that I’m SURE other women have experienced. Great things and not so fun things. Not so fun things involving other people telling you which way is up, right and how to turn left.
A lot of this comes from a fantastic, caring place. I know that most people don’t wish me or other pregnant women any harm. They are truly just trying to help. I think where all of this ‘stuff’ fails is in the delivery & approach. This is a time of great joy but also one of angst and uncertainty - especially for first time moms. The last thing we need to hear are horror stories or wives tales that happened to you or your best friend’s sisters’ second cousin in Florida. Not because we think we know everything but because everyone's pregnancy, everyone's baby, everyone's experience is going to be completely different. So while you think you’re preparing me for something, you’re not. No one can. No one knows what’s going to happen. The best I can do is do my research (not too much though because these mom forums are crazyyy!) and speak to my doctor/midwife/doula/OB.
In trying to navigate this new world, I soon realized that this entire experience goes with the whole theme of theSPOT. Women judging other women. Women not supporting other women in times of need or or even in times of happiness. Women needing advice and not being able to turn to others for fear of being judged, criticized or talked down to. I knew this was an issue before as a non-pregnant woman but gollyyyy! The mom-shaming that starts the moment you tell people you're pregnant really surprised me. Below are some of the big issues I've encountered and that seem to be an ongoing theme for pregnant women.
NATURAL BIRTHING: We live in a world where as soon as you make a statement about something you want/believe in/aspire to, people's insecurities on the topic immediately rush to the surface. When I say I want a natural birth (no epidural, no c-section) that does not mean I have any opinion on women who feel differently. It does not mean I think I’m better than anyone. It doesn’t mean anything actually! [Disclaimer: Trust me, I know this is a super lofty goal. I have no idea how I'll feel, how much it will hurt, what will happen. Me saying these things is very much like throwing words in the wind. This will ultimately not be my choice. Anything can happen. I don't know much but I know it will hurt lol. I chose to have a midwife and deliver at a birthing center which has acupuncture and laughing gas that I'm very prepared to use to help me get through.] I’m not anti-medicine, anti-doctors or anti-science. Doctors and medicine made it possible for me to have this baby after having surgery to remove cysts caused by my Endometriosis. It is my strong desire to deliver naturally and so I chose to put myself in an environment not where this is the only way to deliver, but where this can be A way.
There are women who decide months in advance that they will opt for an epidural. There are women who also decide that a c-section is the way they want to deliver their baby. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don't think any differently of those women. You are delivering a baby, you’re already a shero in my eyes. In fact, I envy women like this. These women have some kind of idea of how their labor day will go. Their birth plans have made the day of delivery a little more certain. Whereas I can sayyyyy I want (a), (b) and (c) but the day-of will continue to be a complete mystery to me until the time comes because, again, none of this is up to me. I am walking into the complete unknown with only wishes and hopes to bring with me.
BREASTFEEDING. I'm not a mom yet. I don't reallyyyyy know anything about breastfeeding. Anything I know I got from where the rest of the non-moms got their info from: the Internets and maybe a health professional. But I am a human being with logic and reasoning so my opinions are based on that. And looking at things from this standpoint: I am sure there are positive effects of breastfeeding your child. I'm positive that breast milk provides some amazing nutrients. I, personally, plan to try to breastfeed my child for as long as I can. You know what else I'm sure about? That feeding your baby any which way is the way to go. If you don't want to, if you can't (whether it be because you were unable to produce milk or you physically can't because it hurts like a bitch or you can't because you have to work and have no time), your baby will get fed. And that's the entire point of this baby feeding/keeping them alive thing, no? So feed your baby. Whatever way that looks like. Stop worrying about how someone else will feed their baby. To quote the famous philosopher, Jay-Z, "what [your baby] eats won't make [other babies] sh*t." The end. #FEDISBEST
CATCHALL: Random list of more annoying things I've heard.
- "You can’t eat/drink that" - I've been told I can't have spicy food (here's looking at YOU, girl from JustSalad!), I can't eat seafood, I shouldn't drink coffee, I shouldn't have wine, etc. Let's talk through some of these things. From my personal research and from speaking to my midwife, I've learned that pregnant women can still have all kinds of cooked seafood. The levels of mercury that are concerning for us exist mostly in a few different kinds of fish - shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish - when’s the last time you had shark? Exactly. Pregnant women can also have all the spicy food they want. Some women cannot handle spicy food during pregnancy because it causes extreme heartburn. Now, let me get double buffalo chicken Martha, pleaseandthankyou. I think with the coffee and wine situation, it's a personal choice. It's something that's still very debated on in the 'pregnancy' community so there will obviously be lots of controversy. Talk to your doctors and make your own choice. I simply cannot function without coffee so you can guess where I stand on that one.
- "You should stop working out" - While very difficult (for me anyway), it is perfectly normal to work out while pregnant (with a few modifications, of course) and actually recommended by most health professionals. People who told me to stop didn't realize that this was the only thing that calmed my 1st trimester nausea and gave me unbelievable amounts of energy to be able to make it through most days.
- THE POINT IS - Hi, I’m the pregnant one. I’m an informed person. You don't know me to be irresponsible with my body. I’ve done my research and talked to the appropriate professionals. I got this.
All of these situations can be extremely frustrating. Particularly when it's related to comments/advice that are unsolicited. There's a lot going on in this pregnant brain of ours and when we'd like some advice, we will ask for it. And even then, you can only tell me about your personal experience and not about what will definitely happen to me. The even weirder part is hearing these things from people who have never had a child. Yep, you heard me. People who have never been pregnant, never carried or birthed a child. But that's a story for another day and a future episode.
Let’s just stop all this. Being pregnant and being a mother is hard enough without other moms down your throat every minute (and non-moms for that matter). Everyone’s journey is different.
Live and let live, ladies! Stay tuned for a mom episode coming soon!