Ugh - the condemnation....

Sorry ladies (and gents) but I am going to vent here because I can't, in good conscience, hijack another's blog to continue this... so, bear with me...

I get it but I don't get how women can do this to each other. Rather than give a woman a place to simply be, we have to pour in ourselves into their space and fill appropriate silence with inappropriate and empty platitudes.

Recently (I mentioned in another post regarding the same woman whose birth I replied to) ***** returned to her blog with a heart-felt grief for her birth experience. She was given many good 'safe place' and 'its ok to grieve' responses... but, amongst them all, there were also a good many 'you should be happy you have a healthy baby', 'what did you expect going overdue and trying a homebirth's, and 'birth is overrated' comments...

My response at this point follows:

I can only offer this: a safe place to grieve what 'should have been'. We know, those of us who are honest with ourselves and our bodies, we KNOW how important it is! This is not an over-dramatization, this is not a fantasy, this is not a selfish thing: it is a personal right, the way it was intended, a process which was denied. You have every right to allow yourself time to grieve.

Be what you need to allow your emotional self to be. Know that there is a bottom to this grief, and at that time, you will have the chance to be still and listen to that voice which, initially called you down to the bottom of this grief. That same voice, while you are in the belly of your soul, will again call, quieter this time, to collect your body around you and start climbing out.

Listen closely to what that voice tells you - just as it commanded you to leave things behind in your birth (expectations, places, etc..) it will demand you to collect things on the way up. These things will be a balm to you, a mend, a blessing to your heart.

You DO have a healthy baby, and I know you are eternally grateful, but you have every right to mourn this without the cliches of others who intend well but either have not been there and can't understand, or have refused to make their own journey.

You may have thought you started and ended your birth journey with Lova's actual labor/birth. In fact, you are in the midst of it.

WOMEN: it is our responsibility to continue to protect her birthing space as we did before babe was born. She is not through this journey and our well intentioned and misplaced platitudes will not help her to make this journey what it needs to be for her: personal.

Someone's response to MY response?

"Cliches of others"? As far as I'm concerned, all of this obsession with the perfect birth is a cliche. Birth is a primal, miraculous thing, but some of you are taking it way too far. 42 weeks and trying to have a VBAC at home sounds risky and dangerous to me. What about focusing on the fact that we're lucky to live in this day and age when we have the knowledge and the means to have safe births when things go wrong and don't follow the "perfect birth plan". Instead of mourning all that went "wrong", rejoice in what went right. Nicole, you say that natural birthing is our "personal right, a process which was denied" of *****. What about all of the infertile women in the world - what about their "personal right" to conceive and bear children? I recently lost a friend (who never smoked a day in his life) to cancer - where was his "personal right" to live a healthy life? I just can't understand this whole subculture of women who are obsessed with birthing and seem determined to undermine the entire medical community. Doctors and hospitals are not out to get us.

Ignorance and assumptions. No one said there is a perfect birth or is there an obsession with it. It is a fact that birth MEANS something. Why in heaven's name would God have something like labor if it wasn't for a purpose?! Otherwise, we would simply HAVE babies - not labor for them. 42 weeks is not risky, VBAC is not all that risky, and homebirth is not all that risky. ***** mentioned in this post that it was HER choice to transfer, not her mw, not her doctor. She chose it.

The replier is missing that we are not 'mourning all that went wrong' and neglecting what went right - we are rejoicing that her baby is safe and healthy and what went right, but validating *****'s emotions to be able to mourn what did not go the way nature intended it to be.

Birth is a personal right. When it is taken (whether by fallen nature, by doctor, or by circumstance) away, it is RIGHT to be able to mourn it. It is healthy and valid to feel that. And, just as a woman who is infertile is right to mourn that which is her right to bear children, just as her friend who died of cancer was denied his right to a healthy life, so **** should be allowed to grieve her right to have born her child. It is a mourning of that which is out of the natural order.

And finally, her jab that we are out to undermine the medical community and her assertion that I believe doctor's and hospitals are out to get us... I never breathed a word of that and said nothing against the medical community. The thought never crossed my mind. The thought that was in my mind is that our fallen nature robbed this beautiful birth warrior from the way it was intended to be.

So, roll up your argument and plant it back where it came from El.

Ok - I feel better. How about you?


lindsay said...

I feel better too, I love it when you vent!

Kara said...

Well put :)

I am a Monkey's Mama said...

I wish I had read this two years ago while wallowing in the pit of despair my life had turned into due to severe PPD and PTSD. I constantly criticized myself for feeling disappointed, let down, and cheated because everyone around me kept saying "but at least your baby is healthy!"...as if MY health meant nothing! It never once crossed my mind that it was OK to feel what I was feeling until I reached out for counseling 6 months or so into the misery.

Your words are incredibly validating and I appreciate you taking the time to think this through and put it out into the world. More women need to--no, MUST--read this.


Sheridan said...

Very well put. It is so important for moms to have a safe place to share their disappointments in their birthing experience. Who are we to judge what they feel?

Thanks for your wisdom!

Kim said...

I agree 100%!!

And I've got some blog fodder for ya - my next appt is the GBS swab appt and we'll also be talking about routine newborn meds (ie. erythromicin and vitamin K). Could you whip up the best evidence on these topics for us expectant mamas?

Lil said...

I KNEW you'd have something to say!! SOrry Nicole, I knew your name started with a "N"...I just forgot which one *blush*

Way to support her. I've also added my two cents since the onslaught seems to be continuing.

We just have the hold her space for her until she's up to battling it out herself (as we both know she can).


Anonymous said...

Much better thank you.
And send El over to my house. I do believe that a lot of doctors and hospitals ARE out to get us...
laughs maniacally and giggles in fits and spurts as I prance away!

MereMortal said...

so glad you wrote this. that blogger is a close and personal friend of mine who did amazing, deep, and beautiful internal work for years in order to birth her baby. on top of that, she has written publicly about other dark areas in her life she struggles with. she is a brilliant woman - full of gratitude for her healthy baby - yet trying to process and multi-layered experience that includes both heart-bursting joy and quiet grief.
An article from The Sun magazine has incredible things to say about grief and here are a few:
"Our culture tells us to get over our pain; to control, manage, and medicate it...Instead of making us feel we must “get over it,” certain rituals allow us to stay open to our grief. Rather than being directed to jump back into our routines, we are given permission to move more organically through the grieving process."
You can read the entire piece here: http://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/385/through_a_glass_darkly?page=1

Love and blessings for all birthing women, no matter the process or outcome.


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