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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Birthzillas - Uh oh!

I was a little confused to read a comment on a Facebook post which said something along the lines of 'Tara Moss - a REAL journalist unlike Mia Freedman...'

I thought 'Uh oh spaghetti-ohhh! What's Mia said now?'  I'm a bit of a fan of Mia's. I like her wit, i like that she helps people get their crying trolls* (i mean babies! Babies..) to sleep and i just think she's a cool person. An ordinary Mum doing really great things. I've met and know a lot of them. True story.

I realised the hoo haa was over this post. All I read into Mia's post was how sad and hurt she was by being constantly bashed and judged for her birth choices and for teaching her babies to sleep in a way that some people disagree with. And i get it. I also get the other side, as a proud Mumma of one i had a 'birth ideas' A4 page that i carried around with me, i did pre-natal yoga, felt confident and in control mostly. My beautiful, extremely intense, painful and 'i am being torn in half!' natural birth and natural placenta birth IS something to be proud of. I chose to breastfeed, it was hard, i persevered, it was still hard, i persevered, i took it week by week and finally it was the easiest thing ever and we had 16 loving months of breastfeeding snuggles til he shook his head one day and never went on again. Another true story. To backtrack a little, he fed every two hours around the clock. I used a slightly gentler version of the Tizzie Hall 'Save Our Sleep' program when he was 9 months old and he started sleeping.. really sleeping. And i started to get the hang of things. Very slowly.

In no way did my natural and drug-free birth (natural placenta birth too! Did i mention that? Jokes) mean i was out of the woods. I suffered from debilitating anxiety and pre and post natal depression. For Jude's first year i fed him, cuddled him, fell in love, obsessed over him,  cried, napped and worried. That's about it. It's all i could do. I gave up trying to work for the most part. I don't regret it at all, i never pushed myself after that. Ever. I learned to be gentle on myself. I learned to be a Mother. I took advice from column A, and some from column B and the rest of the time i simply made it up.

I get that the smugness is annoying. We natural birthers need to quit that. There's a difference between proud of yourself (as EVERY woman who's birthed in ANY way should be) and being smug. So let's just stop. 

We do on the other hand need to watch out for being one of those storytellers that scare other people preparing to be Mums. It just simply doesn't help. Anything that doesn't empower, uplift and lovingly prepare a woman for what is ahead of her should be shoved in the 'We can swap stories AFTER the birth' pile. Stuff that does help is hand-me-down clothes, making food and tea for pregnant ladies, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on when being preggers gets all too much for some, if you're loaded - a nice pregnancy massage and foot rubs if you're poor.

Calmbirth helps. Pre-natal yoga helps. Counselling helps if you're hormones and weird pregnant lady brain is making pregnancy tougher than it should be. All you are doing is improving your odds. There are no guarantees in life and childbirth is one of the biggest reminders of this.

So at 41+ weeks there i sat on my birthing ball. Praying for a healthy, live baby. Praying for a smooth birth, praying for acceptance of the fact that it would be beautiful no matter what the outcome. And it was. It was simply magical.

I would have swapped my drug-free, short labour for any relief from my post-natal anxiety in a heartbeat. That was hell and it was sad. I'm still sad that i went through that. That i doubted myself so much when i look back and all I see is a beautiful new Mother trying her very VERY best. But we can't play swapsies, we can only play the best we can with the cards we are dealt. 

I am sending all you Mums love. Homebirthers, Elective Casesarian birthers, Emergency caesarian birthers, natural birthers, epidural lovers - all you women making your own choices. 

x Sarah

PS - I would just like to say that i believe a big part of my short labour was that I have MASSIVE child bearing hips that i'm eternally grateful for. My pre-natal yoga teacher Jodi said i was also really bendy and stretchy in that area - I could pretty much lay them completely on the floor in balasana - that's good i think. They make shopping for jeans interesting but that's a whole other story. So we each bear our own cross... Again -jokes. But seriously, these hips!

* - Babies are not trolls. I know this. But seriously the look on a newborn's face when it's been crying for a RE-HEALY long time is somewhat troll like. Jude still has troll-like moments occasionally. I love and will always love my little troll.

Me. At 41+weeks pregnant. Tired but ready.