(Mom, I love you dearly, but I cannot have the negative energy flow right now even when I know it is from your own care and concern)
So today I was once again confronted with negativity and criticism, doubt, etc. regarding my upcoming homebirth by my mother and uncle.
Today is 39 Weeks, 1 day...the birth tub is set up. Things are ready here on the homefront. And HOPEFULLY my husband will make it home from his duty in the Gulf before this little one decides to arrive. He is a solid rock and supporter of our natural, gentle, peaceful birthing at home - so without him I am a little more lost than normal.
My Mom today said that she and my uncle don't see how my husband and I can be so "technologically advanced" when it comes to computers, cell-phones, our home business, etc. but then we choose to turn the other way (back to the "stone age") when it comes to birth.
I once again (for about the millionth time) tried to explain that birth is natural, normal, healthy, safe and works BEST when it is left to unfold on its own, in its own time. That my body was fully designed and created to birth easily. That my body and my baby instinctively know what to do - at just the right time, in just the right way.
All the "technological advancements" when pushed upon a healthy, normal birth do nothing but interfere with its unfolding, and cause a domino effect of negative consequences -- some of which can be catastrophic. And by simply walking into the doors of a hospital you are taking on the first of many interventions -- knocking over that first domino...
As Dr. Marsden Wagner (former director of Women's & Children's Health for the World Health Organization) said -- "If you want to have a healthy, humanized birth, the best thing to do is GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOSPITAL!"
Unknowing people think that we are endangering the life of this little one. Do you know how many times I have been asked, "Will there be OXYGEN there at your house?!" ...ah! And yes, I have read the literature about this as well... and we will be attended by 2 highly skilled midwives who have been attending births for 28 years at home. They have seen everything and worked thru every situation. I am completely confident in their judgment.
In addition, my pregnancy has been completely healthy. There is no reason to "mess" with it.
SO -- how do I combat this negativity that is repeatedly THROWN at me and pushed upon me when I am this close to my birthing day?
I am not worried about changing their minds - or solving other people's ignorance at this point. What matters is that I am in an optimally healthy state of mind, at peace, relaxed, and confident so that I am able to let things flow and easily unfold on birth day.
Have ANY of you ever had a close relative who tried to discourage you?
Or who bombarded you with pessimism and naive criticism?
I understand that people who have not researched this indepth for themselves -- those who blindly just follow the conveyor belt of hospital protocols and eager-to-intervene surgeon (OB) recommendations, cannot possibly understand what they are doing/not doing for themselves or their babies or their birthing experience. So I understand where the fear comes from. But how do I keep it away from me?
What has helped you the most to stay calm, confident and secure in your gentle birthing?
What has helped you the most in dealing with negative relatives?
I am eager to hear from anyone who has something to share.
Thanks so much!! You wise, homebirthin' woman are truly fabulous and I value the friendships I have made thru this experience.
Responses I have received:
When I decided to give birth at home, my mom, who is an RN (diabetes nurse consultant & mother of 4), who does like natural birth, BUT natural birth in a HOSPITAL setting, was not only flabbergasted at my choice, but also very sure I was going to kill my baby because ‘something might happen.’
So, yes, I can relate.
I did also send her a lot of material, some of which she read. I invited her to the birth, but told her that I only wanted her to come if she could support me.
For those people who just spewed negativity, I stopped talking to them, taking their phone calls, or reading their emails until after the birth. I needed to be full of positive energy during that time.
After you successfully give birth at home once, it is much easier to withstand the negativity because you ABSOLUTELY KNOW they are NUTS as you’ve already fully experienced the beauty, peace & empowerment of homebirth.
Don’t waiver in your convictions that this is the best thing for your baby & for your family & just cut off the people who are bringing negative energy into your life until that baby pops out. Then you can brag about how fabulous it is.
BTW – At my second home birth, my mom was actually supportive (not excited about it, but supportive), she attended the birth & saw how great it was. Since these experiences, she has had the opportunity to follow my sister through TWO C-sections & me pointing out how the establishment created ALL the complications my sister encountered.
You are going to do fabulous. See you on the other side!
I encountered nothing but skepticism about homebirth from my friends and
family. I just listened to myself and trusted my decision. I also got
a lot of support from the Jens. On pretty much every visit, they would
tell me what a beautiful birth I was going to have. I think the best
way to deal with that kind of negativity is to not deal with it. Don't
talk to negative people about your birth and if it comes down to it,
just don't talk to them at all. Surround yourself with the positive
people. Birth is a totally natural and normal process. You and your
baby are going to be great and you will cherish this decision for the
rest of your life. You already know you are doing what is best for
your family, don't let others tell you otherwise. I know it must be
hard to have your husband gone as he is one of your key supporters.
Remember that he loves you and supports your decision. When it comes
down to it, that is all you need. Don't worry about the others, just
keep envisioning how beautiful your birth will be and it will happen!
Good luck (though you won't need it).
During my whole pregnancy I had my family and my husband's family try and talk me out of homebirth. My mother went so far as to tell me she would pay for everything if I just had Emily in a hospital with an OB. When my mother and mother-in-law made me start questioning my own body I would go over the facts again and I would meditate and try to center myself. There were days where all I was doing was meditating. You know you can do this, and your husband knows you can do this. You also have the wonderful midwifes at BBS that know you can do this, and I know you can do this!
I encountered all of those negative attitudes as well. I have had three
wonderful births at home. I informed those around me to respect my
decision and if they had nothing positive to add to it then to stay
quiet. This was especially hard with my mom who is also my best friend.
We had to have a long conversation about her presence at the birth. It
was conditional. If she was supportive and stayed positive and focused
on the beauty of the birth, then she could stay. If she could not
actively help my labor progress then she was out. I did make this my
husband's job at the time of the birth.
Make sure that you have surrounded yourself with a birth team that
understands the family dynamics that are happening to you. They need to
know that they may have to step in and "protect" your from their
negativity and uselessness.
Remember that only you can make this decision. It is about your
comfort, safety, and peace with birth.
First take in a nice deep breath....breathing in and relaxing....now breath out...releasing all negativity and tension....just keep doing that ....relaxing more and more and more as you do....releasing...releasing....releasing.......breathing in and relaxing...breathing out and releasing.
When you go to sleep tonite....do it in bed until you fall asleep. Center yourself with all that you resonate with....surround yourself in love....wrap your arms around your little babe in your blossoming belly....cuddle this baby....feel the love between you....and relax....relax....relax. Mothers and relatives are a challenge....mom is anxious....waiting for her grandchild...you are not following in her footsteps per se....she is worried....she probably would be some worried even if you did follow in her footsteps. Listen to your own body....embrace how it beckons you....listen to its guidance.....feel your own inner strength......be aware of your own intuition and breath.....and sleep well....sleep deep and awaken refreshed and enjoy your last few days of pregnancy as you listen to your own inner wisdom.....and follow its guidance. It is YOU that will birth....and it is YOU that will mother this child of yours.....still yourself....and listen....and most of all...release fear and embrace love.
goood nite and pleasant dreams...............
I needed to remind myself that my role as a mama to this new little life outweighed that of a dutiful daughter or any other role in my life. At the end of the day, I needed to be able to look into my child’s eyes and know that I made my decisions with his/her best interests in mind. That was what mattered. Mistakes might be made and plans changed, but that I used my available information to make my best possible choice for my baby...even if others disagreed or thought it was a “bad” choice. I didn’t need to answer to anyone else but my child.
I also knew that I wanted to raise a child that had confidence in his/her decisions and choices and stood behind them, so I asked that of myself in order to model that to them. This decision to birth at home was the perfect one for our family. And no one else could decide for me, based on their own fears, lack of research, or negativity. I was going to be someone’s mother, and I needed to put that role in front of anyone else.
While family was less than fully supportive the first time around, I think they did sense that confidence and resolution in me and stopped trying to undermine the decision. I knew it was the best choice for my baby and me, and others’ experiences were insignificant compared with my maternal responsibility to my baby. Now, they just know better. =) No one has said a single doubtful word this time around or mentioned needing space to fit a gurney through the door “just in case”...=)
Listen to your heart and what you’ve decided. You’re doing the right thing! Making tough decisions about birth and staying strong regardless of backlash from others is great preparation for the parenting ahead of us, I think. Because in all parenting decisions, it’s our child to whom we answer at the end of the day....not our parents, friends, neighbors, etc.
Just snuggle in with that baby in your belly, and know that you’re doing this for your child. What a gift!
This makes me so angry. Just STAY AWAY FROM THEM!! I purposely did NOT tell ANYONE that I was having a homebirth til I was actually in labor (had to tell mom so she could watch Olivia) or afterwards (my MIL, high up position in the medical field herself). Do not talk to them. I'm serious. Just avoid them. You only have a short ways to go and you do NOT NEED to be around that negativity. Have you read hypnobabies stuff? Bubble of peace.
You do not have to defend yourself. It is not up to you to educate them and it's not up to them to give you permission. If they start talking about it immediately change the subject. If they don't get the hint tell them once and once only "We are not discussing this. Either change the subject or this conversation is over." If they don't get the hint, hang up,walk away, leave, whatever it takes. Don't worry about being a bitch. You're pregnant. You can get away with it. :) They'll blame it on hormones, never themselves. They'll only harass you if you allow them to.
Love you and I can't wait to hear your homebirth story.
(friend in Illinois)
Oh i so feel for you! yes, of course i have most definitely had to deal with negativity from relatives, specifically my inlaws. for my first birth, a midwife attended home birth, i really tried explaining things to people, offering video tapes, books etc.. i really wanted people to hear me, and kind of felt like it was almost my responsibility to help people understand!
all of the trying to share and explain with people who were so up against it anyway never made me feel very good, so with my second birth, an unnasisted home birth, i just didn't really talk to anyone about it, except my husband and my best friend. i figured, f*** 'em.
i just told anyone that asked that i was using the same midwife and then changed the subject or something. towards the end of my pregnancy i avoided people alltogether. it was so much easier not feeling the need to try and convince people that what i was doing was safe and good and the way things should be. because those kinds of people aren't going to really listen anyway. it's like how you were saying they haven't even watched or read any of your suggested materials, right? so they're obviously not real open to having their minds changed.
also, what really helped me during my second birth was interacting with those people as little as possible. i banned nearly everyone from our home. they didn't know they were officially banned of course, but they were!
there is a book called, "come gently, sweet lucina" that really gave me the guts to stand up for myself like that. i read certain passages of it over and over while i was pregnant. it's written by an unassisted birther (don't worry, i'm not trying to push unassisted birth on you!) in the 1950's who wrote quite a bit about how the main thing that causes stress, and therefore pain, during birth, is meddling people and lack of space/privacy during both the pregnancy and birth. she felt that women had lost touch with their animal selves who all know that going off alone is best, and i personally agree with her. i did not birth entirely alone, i birthed with my husband, but i think that the author is very right on in a lot of ways.
sorry i am kind of rambling, but the following is my opinion and advice, and i hope it's not offensive to you in that it's not exactly honest:
tell your mother and uncle and whoever else is bothering you either what they want to hear or something close to it. then tell them that you will be engaged in silent prayer/meditation for the remainder of your pregnancy and will call them as soon as the baby is born. then always check your caller id and only pick up if it's your husband or midwife!
this is your birth and your pregnancy and you're never going to get to experience it again, so screw anyone whose trying to ruin it for you! just take it back. right now you are in such a vulnerable place and to waste your precious birthy energy on trying to explain homebirth to hardheaded people is not worth it because that kind of thing can take so very much out of you.
i say just cut off contact with them and be in peaceful, groovy communion with your litte baby in your belly, and also with your husband, who i hope will be back in time for you!
blessings, gentle mother...
I've been there.. With my last birth and again this time. My last birth ended up a transfer so of course I heard over and over "Thank god you went to the hospital".. Ugh! Turns out I went because my midwife was unsure and everything went perfectly fine! Here I am trying it again, this time we are having a UC. :)
My advice is the smile and to thank them for the concern but you have done your research and you know the risks and benefits. OF course the benefits are WAYY more then the risks (are there ANY risks?? LOL!) People who are that wrapped up in their own ways and that are that mainstream will not listen to you no matter how hard you try. There is no point in trying to educate them.. Well, burn an extra copy of The Business of Being Born and give them a copy. hehe Seriously though, it's wasted energy and you don't need that! This is a time for only you and your little one who is due to arrive on this earth VERY soon! You need all the positive energy you can around you. If they constantly nag about it then just cut ties with them until after the birth. That's what I would do. You just don't need the stress! If they are still nagging you after the baby is born then you go right ahead and be a smart ass and give them hardcore statistics about how safe it is! :)
I can't wait to hear how it goes! It's gonna be amazing!!!!!!!
Ah....so the big time message....IS....filter out the negativity. All you mommas are wonderful!
I just got a surprise call yesterday on my cell phone from an Ob/Gyn...that has just closed up his practice....and we talked "shop" talk for about a half hour reminiscing and he expressed his frustrations...saying that when he allowed the first father in the room for surgery...the hospital flipped out...when he allowed the first dad to cut the cord...the staff flipped out...WHEN HE HAD HIS OWN CHILDREN AT HOME...they were aghast....and his c-section rate was less than 5% which he stated was high in his opinion (no more than 3% of women NEED surgery)...but THEN he told me that the local hospital near my home town in PA has a 50% c-sec rate as of this January 2008.
So...there is REAL reason...if you have no prenatal risk factors, to stay out of the hospital....the stats are not pretty these days.
Did I feel a wee bit homesick after his call....yes....I dearly miss some of the wonderful supportive doctors that I met along my path of midwifery over the past 27+ years. I fully support homebirth...but each mother must find that strength within her own self to journey outside what is socially/medically accepted in the United States. If one resonates with it....then go full speed....muster up all your strength and seek all the positive support that you can....and surround yourself in it like a protective little bubble!
Ok....off my soap box.
I send love and appreciation to each and everyone of you lovely women that I have gotten to know...and that have shared your pregnancy and births with me. Yes...I am awed by your strength and wisdom and......I am very blessed.