Birth "Wisdom:" To Stay in Control, Relinquish It
--Oh, and ignore all "wisdom" or "advice" because everyone is different--
Four years ago today, I was one day away from giving birth to my second child. I was surprisingly calm even though my first experience was rather traumatic.
Yes, I was one of those Type-A pregnant folks who thought that as long as I studied hard about the whole birth process, practiced my breathing, and read those horrible "pregnancy is so easy if you are vigilant!" books that I'd be fine.
But, as I've said many times, no matter the amount of preparation, number of birth classes, parenting books read, or your earnest nature to really "get it right," you won't. For my first child, I definitely didn't get it right. In fact, my son was born via vacuum because of "maternal exhaustion," also classified as a "failure to progress." Yes, I was exhausted and apparently failing. My first official job as a mother (aside from taking those nasty vitamins and forgoing my beloved wine) and I was failing?
Well, my oldest is here, alive, so I didn't "fail" completely; however, every time we do IEP paperwork or other psychology or medical-related forms, I must rehash the whole birth story. Medical professionals nod as they note "birth trauma:" Aha! So maybe his autism is because of birth-related brain damage! (I don't think so, but to have a doctor imply as much is hurtful.) Even when getting care for my younger son, they ask about "unusual" or "assisted" births in previous children. Usually moms like to tell their stories, but my oldest son's story has become a reminder of difficult times and an inadequacy on my part.
After the exhausting birth, he was carted off to a continuing-care nursery and pumped full of antibiotics. I didn't get to nurse him until well after he was born. That first night was difficult: I felt alone and unconnected to my new son. Not surprisingly the hurt took awhile to heal.Continued on the next page