Get over it. This post about mothering made me cry. And cry and cry. We mothers give the best of ourselves to our children, and then still wonder if it’s good enough, all the while fighting the urge to be like “some moms” who put their own desires first and their children’s needs last. Fighting guilt that it would even enter our minds to do such a thing.
I was at a 2 day birth as doula and got back home yesterday. By the time it was all said and done I’d been gone from home for 36 hours. My husband is awesome and came home early to cook supper for them, and see them off to school the next day. I am blessed. Yet the entire time I was gone I was missing HOME. Missing cooking and thinking of laundry, and thinking to myself, “This is for the birds. I’m going to get my RN license and go to work in an OB department, have regular hours and MAKE SOME MONEY.”
I got home before the kids did from school and quickly perused the local college’s nursing department website. I was serious. Then the kids got home, happy to see me, and wanted to know all about the birth.
The baby was born gray. Like-a-gravel-road gray. I got him up and out of the water, did some basic life-support, suctioned him to get him ticked off enough to cry. He did. He pinked up later, with some blow-by oxygen and stimulation. It was an Amish family, with Amish midwives and they weren’t really sure what do do outside of pray and talk to the baby to “Come home baby, stay with us baby.” It is part of their belief system to trust birth. No stones. They LIVE what they believe, everyday, whether I or you agree with the chances they take or not. That’s something I admire. They also admired me for knowing what to do for the baby. But I’m no hero. I haven’t even taken my official NRP course yet. I just did what I’d read needed done. (That’s on my list now, you can believe.)
So the baby pinks up, I listen for several more hours to him and watch respirations. They do not wish to transport him. He is good today, though I’ll check in several more times over the next few days. They trust me, so I might be able to pursuade them to take him in if he worsens. Right now he is fine.
And as I related this story to my family, I ended with, “But he’s ok and I’m sorry I was gone for so long. I missed you all so much. I’m not sure I’m going to keep doing this.” Boy, did THAT get an unsuspected reaction!
“But mom!!!! What if you weren’t there! What would have happened to that baby?”
“But mom! You don’t have to worry about us, that’s important work. We’re big enough.”
“Honey, it sounds like you were meant to be there. Sounds like you were doing exactly what you are meant to do.”
So I cried, loved on my family and ate Hamburger Helper that my son cooked while I napped, all tucked in my husbands arms. And felt a little better, though relieved that I don’t have another birth until after this baby comes.
And I think of “baby”. By the time that poor first time mom was done I also thought, “Geesh. I’m gonna go to the hospital, have an epidural and secretly sip cappicinno while I’m in labor like all the other moms.” And I thought again of “baby”. I can’t do it.
I did not choose to homebirth because it’s “in fashion” as some to eloquently assert. I do not choose to homebirth even for my comfort. Because we all know an epidural is usually as “comfortable” as one could get while in labor. I thought of why I chose to birth this baby and home and it’s because of “baby”. Epidurals can and do make baby’s heart rate drop dangerously low, doing who-knows-what to his future cognitive abilities. And then cause a “necessary” cesarean almost half of the time at my local hospital. Bright lights, strangers hands, rough towels and rubbings, suctioning even when it’s not needed, shots and stinging ointment put in baby’s eyes, feet stuck and bled within hours of birth, being jerked swleeping from the womb he knows and loves with no preparation… what does this do to BABY and his introduction to this world? Hurt him physically, I’m sure. But emotionally? Spiritually? What does this first environment TEACH him about our world?
I’m a midwifery student and fairly scientifically minded individual. I realize there are times when ALL of the above are NEEDED FOR THE BABY. But the majority of the time they aren’t. And unless indicated I don’t want to expose my baby to that sort of homecoming.
So I pluck a few feathers from my chest, line my nest with a bit more sacrifice and look forward to welcoming “baby” in late October when the winds are crispy and the leaves are falling. No epidural, no one to clean up the mess for us, no one to cook for us (except family), no one to heave the responsibility of this birth onto but ME. For baby. All for baby.