I would really like to address a topic that seems to be a recurring theme on mommy blogs and articles about pregnancy. It has to do with unsolicited advice and judgement when it comes to a mother’s choice about how and where she wants to give birth.
At our pre-natal class this week, the subject of being overwhelmed by negative comments and advice from friends and family members came up and really resonated with most of the women. I, however, have not had to deal with any of the unwanted advice or concern from others about my decision to have a natural birth. I think it has to do with two things.
1. I don’t have close Peruvian family members. As soon as one of the women talked about the meeting of the tia madres (aunt mothers) everyone gave a little laugh and rolled their eyes as if they knew exactly what was coming. I think it is normal that family members want to chime in with their advice and experience when it comes to having children. That is totally fine but there comes a point when it gets overwhelming and a bit too much. I can definitely understand where this woman was coming from when she started to tear up. It was really nice that they threw a shower for me but there was a point I couldn’t take it anymore, she said. I have seen how aggressive Peruvian mothers can be when it comes to letting people know how things should be done. Even with the idea of the suegra or mother-in-law who can’t seem to be quiet when it comes to her son or daughter’s life and meddles in everything. I am lucky to have a mother in law who is very relaxed and gives advice when asked. I really like her.
My American family has been super supportive. My mother, of course, wants to know that I have a back-up plan should there be complications but I have never received anything but positive reinforcement from her and everyone else. I think people assume that I am doing what is best for me and my family. That may also be an American concept. (I have a feeling that there are plenty of American families with meddling members who have to have a say about everything including one’s pregnancy.) That brings me to my next point.
2. I am very sure of what I want to do when it comes to my pregnancy. A lot of the women say that they have received negative or less than encouraging words when they explain that they plan on giving birth at a birthing center and not at a clinic. One woman said she was made fun of for it. I think that having lots of intense personalities in her family and not being super sure of everything herself, the woman who originally expressed her frustration might have been taken under by all the well-intentioned but maybe a little too aggressive commentary from her family members.
I personally, have received nothing but honest interest in my decision. “What’s a water birth? What is a birthing center? What will you do if there is a complication?” many of them ask. I am happy to explain and diffuse the information so that maybe more women can feel like they have more than one option when it comes to giving birth. I have done research and I am confident so I am not taken advantage of. If people are against the decision, I have yet to hear them go too deep into the topic with me.
Here is my pregnancy decision (supported in full by my husband):
I want to have a natural birth and possibly give birth in water if I find it comfortable. If not, I want to have the freedom to move around and listen to my body as it prepares to release a new being into the world. I can stand, I can squat, I can get on all fours. There is not being strapped to a bed for me unless it ends up being the most comfortable position (although very highly unlikely if you think about how gravity works).
I am going to give birth at a birthing center instead of a clinic. It is a house. There is no emergency on-call equipment but there is a clinic and a hospital within 15 minutes of the center.
I want to have complete trust in my doctor and I know that she will respect my wishes and only suggest things that she really thinks are in my best interest, not because she could make money from it or make the birthing process happen within her schedule like many doctors at clinics do here.
I want to trust my body and be in an environment that is comfortable. Maybe there will be some music. I can listen to my baby and my body and go into the zone as they say pain and all!
On a final note, when it comes to advice, it important to remember not to take offense because most people are well-meaning when they offer their advice. I always listen to people’s stories and I also remind myself that everyone is different and everyone’s experiences are different. I refuse to let fear be a part of my pregnancy.
So a quick side note, Even though this doesn’t have to do with getting unsolicited advice I have noticed myself getting a little defensive when people make the comment that I am so big. I want to just say “duuuhhhh” but I know they are just excited and I am too, so instead I say “yup!” and carry on.
Happy Thursday everyone!