Tag Archives: Birth Plan

Unsolicited Comments and Advice

Photo/Cartoon courtesy of www.newbiemom.com

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!

Expats Giving Birth in Peru

Last night I had the pleasure of going to a meeting of future moms who are going to give birth in Peru and moms who gave birth here. It was coordinated by a wonderful expat group that I am a part of made up of expat moms. I am a part of various expat groups and I am really happy to have been able to join this one. It has already proved itself to be a wonderful network of resources and connection. Not only is it nice to be able to connect with other expat moms, it will be great when my baby is old enough for play dates and has the opportunity to hang out with other English-speaking kids.

Anyway, the chat was held at one future mother’s apartment in San Isidro and in total there were 7 expecting moms and 2 moms who participated. We all shared how far along we were, what clinic we are planning on using, fears and expectations, and general information.

The majority of us are in our second or third trimester with one at 11 weeks and something I keep reminding myself is that every woman’s body is different so 27 weeks for one person may look like 20 on one person and 35 on another. I feel like I look like I am 8 months pregnant some days and other days I feel like I am at 6 but comparing really doesn’t do any good. The most important thing is that the woman feels healthy right?

In terms of clinics it was really interesting hearing where everyone was planning their birth and how their doctors have attended to them so far. The clinics that the women are using are San Felipe, Monte Sur, Americana and Good Hope. I am the only one planning on using Pakarii, or a birthing center that isn’t a clinic. One of the mom’s who gave birth here used Pakarii for her first birth but opted for a c-section the second time around because of complications from the first. Respect.

For some reason I thought that clinics didn’t take the baby away right away after being born but that is standard protocol here. I thought it was more like that in the States but from what the other women said it is not. I was also surprised to hear that episiotomies are pretty routine here as well. (C-sections are also at 80% in clinics here which is insane!) One expecting mom expressed her concern that her doctor would perform one unnecessarily on her against her wishes. I sure hope not. I hope her husband and her doula stand up for her and her wishes. Another woman said she heard that there is hair stylist and nail specialist for the mothers at Clinica Monte Sur. That cracked us up. Of course every woman has got to look fabulous when leaving the clinic with her newborn. 🙂

One of the best things that the moms who gave birth here said was how the husbands or partners should be on the same page as you and that when push comes to shove, stand up for the decisions that the mom made and wants to stick by. Sure, there are always exceptions but in general I totally agree. I think that the more informed the dad or partner is, the better. Who knows what kind of mental state I will be in when things start to hurt a lot. I am comforted by the fact that my husband will be there the entire time ready to do whatever necessary. We have had lots of discussions about possibly scenarios but in the end we have no idea what could possibly or possibly not happen and for that reason we are pretty relaxed. We will worry about things as they come.

Another thing that I didn’t think about was a pediatrician. In the clinics the doctor is only there to help with the birth of the child and then after that a pediatrician takes over and is in charge of the baby after it is born. One of the daughters of a mom was born 6 weeks early so she was taken to the neonatal intensive care at the clinic Monte Sur and she said was very happy with the care that her daughter received. I hope that all goes well and that I am able to give birth naturally and at the birthing center instead of having to deal with neonatal care and clinics but if it comes to it, I know that the EsSalud hospital Rebagliati has excellent services.

I have to admit that I have been pretty relaxed about my pregnancy and I haven’t stressed too much about all the possible problems that could arise. I believe the more one worries and thinks about that kind of stuff, the more one is attracting it. If I stress out about all the things that could go wrong I would definitely cause my body to stress out and that surely isn’t good for my baby. While listening to other’s birth stories or worries I just kept in mind that it is not something that I have to take on as a worry unless I want to and everyone is entitled to have their worries and fears about birth and raising kids. That is completely normal and makes us human. I am super grateful to have found this group of ladies and know that we are all in the same boat. It is so exciting!