Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Never talk about politics, religion, or...pregnancy decisions??? - a rant

Okay, okay, so not really because of course we talk about faith, how that impacts our world view, including politics, etc.  However, I had no idea how staunchly opinionated people can be about pregnancy and the choices you make regarding your own.

I'm kinda fed up with it, to be honest.

I feel like I have to justify the choices that we are making regarding our baby.  I get questioned about whether we want to find out the sex or not, hospital birth or home birth, to breastfeed or use formula, cloth diapering versus disposables, natural birth or epidural/other drugs.  Then, when I answer, I am oftentimes met with sarcasm or a laundry list of reasons why my choice is just "not realistic" or in some way makes me less of a parent.  I mean, come on!  How will finding out whether my baby is a boy or a girl going to make me less of a parent?

Just so that you're clear, I want to find out the sex of my baby for a few reasons.  Not that I have to justify this, but because some people have had no problem telling expectant couples that the "best" parents are willing to wait (which I find condescending...especially when it comes from people who have not become parents yet or have no desire to ever have children) and that they must not love their child as much.  One reason we'd like to know: I am my mom's only child and the suspense is killing her.  She has waited for the past (almost) ten years of my married life to become a grandmother and I know that she is chomping at the bit to buy gender specific things for her first grandbaby.  Plus, her health is not the best.  Reason #2: our last surviving grandparent (Seth's grandma) is 90 and would love to pray more specifically over this baby.  We want to bless her and allow her the chance to be praying for little girl or boy G-O. Another reason: because the bare truth of the matter is that we have no guarantee that this pregnancy will have a happy ending.  I know that sounds macabre, but based on family history and from the experience of friends, late miscarriage and stillbirth happen.  If it should be in God's plan for us to experience this, we would like to dignify our child with a name rather than always wondering.  Goodness, just this last month one of my friends told me her mom miscarried in her 6th month.  Considering it's taken us so long to become pregnant in the first place and our doctors told us that women with PCOS have a 50% risk of miscarriage throughout pregnancy, we are thankful for each and every day God gives us with this precious baby.  We don't expect a sad story, but we know this is God's child and He has a plan for it.  So, please, before you think we're just not patient or loving enough to wait until the birth of our child to find out, know that we both deeply love this child already regardless of whether it's a boy or a girl, and we will be surprised either during an ultrasound sooner or a couple months later--so what's the difference?  Besides being able to begin talking to our child by name before it's here, that is.

Now, we are still researching and deciding if we want to birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home.  What we do know is that we want a natural, drug-free birth.  Of course, we know there may be complications that take that decision from our hands, but in our ideal situation we want a natural childbirth.  What upsets me with this is when other women and men literally laugh in my face when I tell them that and then try to talk me out of it.  I was once told, "well, okay--if you want to feel what it's like to shove a bowling ball out of your butt, feel free!"

Wow.  Really?

My mom was able to birth me without pain medication.  Several of my friends have done it.  And I have a high pain tolerance.  Heck, I was still playing pick-up basketball games at a local park with the guys when my appendix was ruptured.  I've had doctors compliment me on my pain tolerance.  I've even had a deep tissue massage therapist compliment me on my tolerance of pain by telling me that most of her clients cry early in the appointment, but she was able to use all her strength on me.  So, no, this is not a flippant decision that just sounds nice to me.  I genuinely want to try to have a natural birth and trust that my body can do what God created it to be able to do.  And you know what else?  I don't think any less of any woman who chooses to get an epidural or other pain treatment for her labor.  I trust that each woman knows her body well enough to make the best decision for herself and her baby.  So, please respect my decision as well.

Since I'm sharing our ideal choices already, I hope to breastfeed and we plan to use cloth diapers and make our own baby food.  Again, these are our ideal choices.  I didn't eat jarred baby food and I'd love for my baby to have that same experience.  We'll be eating healthy, so I'll just puree what we're eating.  And I hope to be able to breastfeed.  Of course, if my baby is allergic, we'll have to switch to a formula.  We plan to use disposables for the first month or so while we settle in to a routine with our baby and try to get any sleep we can, but once our baby is around 10 lbs, we want to use cloth diapers because it's gentler on a baby's skin and helps them to potty train earlier.  Plus, they're reusable, eco-friendly, and more cost effective over time.

It all boils down to this: why do people automatically assume that pregnant women are incapable of making informed decisions about their own bodies and about their babies?  Why is there this societal divide between working moms and stay-at-home moms, medicine-supported births and natural births, and a host of other options?  Why is there so much pride involved with this life process and wanting to be "right"?  Is one woman better than another for having a specific birth?  Is one parent better than another for waiting until birth to learn the sex of the baby versus one who finds out a couple months earlier?  Why aren't we instead celebrating the miracle of life?  Why not focus on God's craftsmanship instead of the various journeys that still result in a baby or babies?

Okay, so that's my rant.  Take it or leave it.  I just hope it starts a discussion or at least inspires some thought.  Maybe a little softening of the heart.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)


  1. I chose to give birth w/o the epidural simply because I wanted to save money. At the time, I really wanted a rocking chair to nurse my baby on and I just fell in love with it. Of course, it cost the same amount of money as an epidural, thus, it being my motivation to be epidural free. Crazy idea, I know. But, it was MY choice. haha, I'm sure people would have plenty of things to say about this, haha. p.s. also because I wanted the best for my health and my baby's health. It's just more fun talking about my rocking chair and see people's reactions. I still have that rocking chair and I LOVE it. I nursed my baby in it everyday and now I read to him while he sits right next to me or on my lap. Great memories!

  2. <3 you can totally do all of the above. i labored in a birth center and LOVED it! I ended up transferring to the hospital and ultimately she was delivered by C-Section... but if I had it to do over again, I'd still spend those first 24 hours in the Birth Center!! It was like being in labor at the spa. And most people who laugh in your face about how much work cloth diapers are have never even considered the idea, much less tried it. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Shirliza. Trust your instincts. They are almost always right. Natural child birth, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering were the only options are mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers had. Seemed to work for them. :)

    oh, and I totally understand finding out the gender. I felt like I was able to bond so much more with Addy once I knew she was Addy.