Dear Sister

Dear Doctor, Midwife, Mother, Sister, Husband, Childbirth Care Provider,
These letters are a compilation of letters that have been shared with me from some of my clients' journals. I ask many of the women I work with to start writing... forgiveness letters, truth letters, anger letters, secret letters... healing letters that allow them to be honest about what they are holding in their hearts.

Some of these letters make it into the hands of their intended recipients... sometimes not... 
Dear Sister,
It was never about you. I know that sounds mean, but I don't know how else to say it. It was never about you. It has always been about me. This was my pregnancy, my birth plans, and my baby.

I never asked for your advice, and I never gave you any of mine. With Ella's birth, I found that I needed healing. My cesarean was emotionally and physically traumatic. Do you even remember my months in counseling, the family being on watch to make sure I didn't hurt Ella or myself and my deeper depression after I found I couldn't nurse anymore?

Maybe you thought you were trying to help me when you told me to just schedule a cesarean. Maybe you thought it was being supportive and keeping me from dwelling on how baby got here. Perhaps you were only trying to help save me from disappointment when you kept harping on me about the ease of a cesarean.

But I wanted more!

When I found out I was pregnant with Roscoe, I wanted a healing birth. When I told the family about my plans for a VBAC, they were all. so. negative.... and you included. I needed someone to tell me I could do it. But everyone said

Remember what you went through before? Just schedule a cesarean!

Come on. Your my sister. But it doesn't mean we want the same things. You were happy with your scheduled cesarean for both of your babies. You were happy with formula feeding and day care scheduling.. but I wanted to birth, I wanted to nurse, and I wanted to stay home and raise my children my way. I loved and supported you through your choices, whether or not I agreed with them, why didn't you do the same for me?

And then, at my baby shower and during girl's nights' out... when you found out you couldn't convince me to go under the knife again, you started planting the fear; in front of everyone:

"It's so dangerous!"
"What if you BURST your uterus wide open?!" 
"You're being selfish to risk the life of your child for an experience!"

Did you ever even read any of the studies and material I gave you? I don't think you did, otherwise you would know that your opinion was only that, opinion. Otherwise, you would have known that this was very much my choice - and a safe one at that.

And then, after Roscoe was born (born MY way) you never congratulated me, never apologized. In fact, the only thing I remember when you held him for the first time is what you said to him:

"Aw, poor baby! Look at that cone head! If your mama had listened to me you would have this pretty little perfect round head."

I was so hurt. Hurt at the insult to my son and hurt at the insult to my body and my achievement. MY moment.

And finally, breastfeeding. Yes, I said breastfeeding. You hate the idea of, as you put it so kindly in front of our friends, the "nasty nipple stretching, boob sagging" event of letting my little one "suck on [your] tits in public". You said it was like watching someone have sex... or go the bathroom... you said that knowing your little nephew you was eating my bodily fluids grossed you out and made you afraid to hold him for fear he would spit up on you.

And I won't even start on your whole "my sister is going to turn into one of those boring housewives with nothing to talk about but her kids".

What does all this mean? It means I think you are being selfish. It means that I am done being your whipping post for all of your opinionated lashings. Its fine to have your own opinion, but I am going to start giving you mine.
  • Formula feeding is selfish. Especially without a good reason for it. Breastfeeding doesn't change my boobs, the hormones of pregnancy do. Breastmilk is the best food for my baby, and yours! You are giving your baby less than the best simply because of your own sexual hang ups
  • Vaginal birth was the best thing for my baby and myself. Physically and emotionally, we are both so much more healthy for it. I may have failed, but at least I would have tried... which is more than I can say for you. And I did it! You should be congratulating me and my smart, amazing, powerful body! You not doing it only shows one of two things: either you are jealous or sad because I got something you didn't and you wanted, or you are too insecure to admit when you are wrong.
  • Being a homemaker is great in my opinion. I can go to the gym whenever I want, make home made healthy meals for my family, and home school them so that they are smarter than the neighbor kids! And, although I might have more to talk about than my kids, I only want to talk about my kids - because I am around them enough to know how very awesome they are. I will be there for their first step, first tooth, first bruise, first everything. And I wouldn't miss that for the world. 

Guess what? I am going to be very vocal about my opinion, as well as the facts from now on. So, I encourage you to read up on those facts so that you are well equipped to try to keep up with me when we debate in front of our friends and family - since you like to make my business and your opinion so very much a public affair.

P.S. (please see the research and medical studies of interest attached to this letter).

Your twin sister
Update: This mom never gave her sister the letter. She did, though, do exactly what she said she was going to and began speaking up. Since that time, her sister has stopped the opinionated comments in public. The trade off is that the mom is sad she knows that there are some things that she and her sister can never discuss: parenting choices and birth choices.

Their mutual friends have told her on many occasions that her birthing and parenting styles have encouraged them to consider their options. As a result, she has attended two of their closest friend's births as a photographer and helped one friend to get breastfeeding help through their local LLL. She is regularly asked for help with researching medical studies, pediatricians, and birth options from friends and family. Her sister has not been given these same opportunities.

1 comment:

tara said...

Good for her! It's hard to stand up to family and I can't imagine not having the support of a TWIN sister.
It's so wonderful that she is now helping other women fulfill their own desires for birth and breastfeeding.


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