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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Here's to eyes wide open!

Happy New Year!  I sincerely hope everyone has had a happy holiday.  I am having a little trouble snapping back into old routines, but I imagine that is pretty common. 

Tomorrow is my baby’s third birthday!  Gregory is my third and last child, and has been done breastfeeding for a year and can speak fairly well now, but I can see why the last child stays the baby.  As happy as I am to say goodbye forever to those troublesome two’s, I know that he will be a big kid soon, in the blink of an eye. 

I gave birth to him at home, in my dining room, with two midwives, my doula, my husband, my mother and my two older children (who were not impressed with the time or my vocals).  It was absolutely perfect and amazing and everything birth should be-intense, safe, supported, loving, almost intervention free.  I know how lucky I am.  But it was a pretty crazy road to get to this point, and the irony was not lost on me.

Before I became pregnant with my first son Earl, I was a self-described liberal feminist radical (though not as radical as I fancied myself). I remember having thoughts about c-sections as being undesirable, epidurals questionable in their usefulness and birth centers as a wonderful place to have a baby.  When I did become pregnant, I found myself seduced my by fancy Edina obstetrician that I had never met before that day I had come in to be fitted for a diaphragm (happy oops).  It never occurred to me that he may have a different agenda than I, or a different view on birth than a midwife.  IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME. So when I decided to stay with him, I didn't realize I was walking right into a broken maternity system that would ultimately most likely be at fault for my cesarean section.  This is a hard pill to swallow, for sure. 

While pumping breast milk at my job for my VBAC baby, I read a book called Pushed by Jennifer Block.  It was eye opening and shocking to me, the supposed “radical feminist.”  Good heavens, what had I been thinking?  I was duped, blinded, seduced.  But then it all started to make sense.  Homebirth, OB’s, breastfeeding, working, staying home, cosleeping, vaccinations, and on and on and on. Things that seemed so crazy to me once now seemed understandable and respectable, and at the very least a choice any parent should be able to make.  There is nothing like having your own choices taken away to help you see how you may have done that yourself to others. 

The irony in my homebirth was that when I started preparing for my VBAC, our Bradley instructor was a homebirth midwife, and I will never forget how intensely crazy I thought that was.  My mind was so set in the belief that birth-is-a-medical-disaster-waiting-to-happen-that-must-be-attended-by-someone-who-went-to-medical-school-to-be-safe that I really had this air of intellectual superiority that these “crunchy “people were totally nuts.  I am so thankful I had my eyes opened.  What a gift. It is an incredible experience when your whole set of beliefs get shaken up and you find out you are wrong, and that you don’t know nearly as much as you think you do.  I am truly humbled by this.  Of course, this is something that informs me in everything I do.  If I could be trapped in a misguided belief about one thing, I surely can be about another, or all others, so I try to listen more, read more, understand more, and have faith that all things will become clear when my heart is sufficiently open to receive it. 

So it is in this light that this birth journey has made my life better.  I now see that I am a truth seeker, and a justice seeker, and more importantly I know what that really means and how it feels. And what is right for me is not necessarily right for the next person, nor should it be.  But they should be our informed choices to make. 

Happy Birthday to my baby, Gregory Patrick
Don't forget tomorrow's (January 13th) special meeting focusing on birth trauma with Maureen Campion!  Partners are encouraged to attend and childcare will be available.  More details on our website.