So, I don't really have high blood pressure problems. It was a little higher during a couple appointments but that was because I was dehydrated. Now that I've been drinking enough water, my blood pressure is fine.
But, my blood pressure tends to rise when I talk about maternity care in the U.S. and birth and parenting decisions based on misinformation. I've learned during this pregnancy that people seem to think that a pregnant belly (or a babe in arms, I've heard) is an open invitation to tell you what you should or should not be doing/ saying/ feeling/ thinking.
This is the reason that Dave and I have kept a lot of our decisions to ourselves. Most of my friends and family don't know that we are planning a natural birth at home in a birth pool, we will not have the Vitamin K or Hep. B shots at birth, and we won't put the eye ointment on our son. He also will not be circumcised. We plan to have baby sleep in our room, I will breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, we will cloth diaper from the beginning, we will have vaccinations given on a delayed schedule, we will carry our baby in carriers or our arms rather than carry him in the carseat and we will do baby led weaning. Every single one of these decisions is based on research. None of these are based solely on what a doctor or midwife has told me we should do.
The funny thing is, I would never walk up to a pregnant woman who plans on a hospital birth with an epidural and tell her that she is making the wrong choice for her and her baby. I would never tell her horror stories about hospital births (even though I know of MANY), I would never say she was endangering her child's life by choosing a hospital birth. And yet, if I tell someone that I am planning a home birth with a midwife, they feel like it's their place to tell me that it's unsafe, that they knew of a friend of a friend of a friend whose baby died because they were at home, that I am some sort of whackadoo hippy who isn't getting proper prenatal care, etc.
I also wouldn't tell someone that putting their baby in a different room to sleep is cruel. I don't think it's right that parents allow their babies to cry themselves to sleep, but I'm not walking around telling anyone who reads the book Babywise that they are teaching their children to not trust them. But, if I tell someone we plan on cosleeping, I get told my child is going to be spoiled, he'll sleep with us forever, he won't learn to self soothe...
See the problems here? Other expectant moms are able to talk excitedly to anyone and everyone about their birth plans- how they will be getting their membranes stripped a week early, how they'll have a Pitocin drip and then they'll get an epidural when the contractions become too difficult (which, with an induction, can happen very quickly). Or a woman can say that her doctor told her the baby is going to be too big to fit through her pelvis based on an ultrasound, so they scheduled a c-section two weeks early. I can't give my opinion on any of those things because the person would be extremely offended that I would dare question the choices they've made for their birth.
Yet I feel that I can't talk about home birth, natural labor and delivery, delayed cord cutting and spending the first two hours after birth holding my son skin to skin.
Because my choices are not mainstream, I'm apparently fair game for all judgment, ridicule and doubt. This causes my blood pressure to go up!
But you know what? I'm not going to hide my choices anymore. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that what Dave and I have decided to do is best for us and is best for our son. Everyone is allowed to make their own choices based on their research. So, if anyone has problems with my decisions, they are welcome to do the same research I've been doing. If they come up with a different decision - fine, they can go have a baby however they want.
Woo! See, I tend to go off on these topics. It's a good thing I didn't have an appointment today, otherwise my blood pressure would have been up again! But, really, I feel like most women don't even realize they have a choice in their births. They don't know that there are options out there for them. And, if I keep what I have discovered to myself, then it's possible they'll never hear about it. So, maybe, if I share my choices and deal with the doubt and ridicule from most people, maybe one woman will realize that she does have a say over what happens to her body and her baby during birth.
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