Sharing Our (Baby) Stories

We, as women, are too hard on ourselves, and childbirth is no exception:

I know women who have delivered healthy, happy babies but still felt like failures because they “gave in” and got the epidural.

I know women who think those who give birth without pain medication are martyrs, or superheroes, or just plain crazy.

I know women who think epidurals are for selfish, lazy women who don’t care enough about their health, or their baby’s.

I know women who wanted to have a natural childbirth but didn’t have a clue where to start in order to make that happen, so they didn’t even try.

I have been guilty of this. So many times, I said “I would never…” only to find out later that yes, actually, I would–if I were in your shoes. I think we’d be a lot easier on ourselves–and on each other–if we could understand why other women make the choices they make.

That’s why I’m telling my baby story this week. Four of them, actually–one for each child, and all of them very different. And if f I’ve learned anything from 4 deliveries, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan.

This week is devoted to childbirth, but like so much I talk about here, it’s not just about childbirth: it’s about our hopes and our dreams, our beliefs and our fears. It’s about focusing on what’s truly important. It’s about learning to make the right choices for you and for your family.

So, even if you’re not having kids for years, or you’re way past that stage, or you’re not planning on ever having kids, I hope you’ll stick around to hear how I’ve been humbled when my strong beliefs met the real world.

You can read all posts in this series here.

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  1. As somebody who gave birth last week for the first time, I’m really interested in this series. I’m having all kinds of emotions on how the birth went. Still not sure if it went the way I wanted it to go or what I even expected in the first place. It’s still a whirlwind to think about!

  2. Katie says:

    I am looking forward to reading your stories. My first baby is almost 6 months old, and I am already fighting the “mom guilt” in many ways.

  3. I was just talking with my mother-in-law last night about my plans for future pregnancy and childbirth. At this point I want a mostly-natural birth, either at a birthing center or hospital with a midwife and/or doula, with as little medicine as possible–but there’s a lot I still need to research. I’m really looking forward to hearing your stories, Anne, as well as any that other women share!!

    • Anne says:

      Jaimie, I wish I had more time to think things through BEFORE I was pregnant. I hope this week gives you lots of food for thought, well before you need it!

  4. Bridget says:

    As we share our birth stories I tend to question whether or not I should share mine. I first want everyone to know that I am the mother of TWO BEAUTIFUL GIRLS that I love dearly but what I will attach will explain the rest.

    My first experience with childbirth was not what I ever imagined.

    Emily Perl Kingsley.

    c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

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