Hi everyone! We’re ba-ack!! Thanks so much for understanding while we took our little break. Life transitions aren’t easy, you guys. It was a good lesson for both Paige and I and we are grateful we took the time to focus on our families and get used to our new routines. We are excited to start sharing stories with you again and hope you are excited to join us!
A couple weeks after M was born, I saw a pin on my Pinterest feed that literally caused me to stop scrolling and just stare. I follow a few natural/organic mom blogs so most days I’ll see pins like “increase your milk supply with these awesome cookies” and “how coconut oil heals everything.” (I’m paraphrasing… Sort of).
I kid you not, the title of this pin was “How to have a scream free natural birth.”
When I stumbled across that pin, I had actually been feeling a little embarrassed with how loud I was when M was born. I mean I didn’t really have a choice, my body just kind of emitted this crazy scream that came from a place I didn’t know existed. I can imagine it was unpleasant to be around. So this pin totally fed that insecurity.
Having the ability to create new life with another human and bring that new life into this world is a beautiful and incredible thing. As moms, we literally sacrifice our bodies for nine months to grow a tiny human being…and then go through the miracle of actually delivering this tiny human to the world. And then we are responsible for this person’s well being after they are born, which means a continued sacrifice of mind and body for basically the rest of our lives.
Amidst all this, it amazes me how new moms are subject to so much judgment from the moment the world knows they are pregnant.
All of these feelings are resurfacing for me now that I’m re-learning what it’s like to have a newborn in the house. Lately, I have wanted to share my experiences and thoughts on some of the common areas where others feel the most opinionated. Everything I say below is just how I feel…so take what you want from it (or nothing at all), Having a newborn can be very isolating at times and sometimes it just helps to hear what someone who is in the trenches with you is doing.
Natural v. Epidural v. C-section. There are pros and cons to any of these birth methods. When I was prepping to give birth to B, all I heard about was the benefits of natural labor. No one really talked about getting an epidural. I will say that the birth class Reece and I went to was great in the sense that it taught us some good pain-coping exercises but also taught us exercises in staying present with the birth if you decide to have an epidural. But even still, admitting that I had a medicated birth felt kind of taboo. Like I wasn’t woman enough to stand the pain. I felt guilty for quite some time afterward, like it discounted the fact that I still had to push a baby out of my body.
Frankly, I was looking forward to having an epidural with M’s birth because when you get an epidural you also get hooked up to an IV to help you stay hydrated. I never felt so hydrated until B’s birth. It was awesome.
And yet, when I did have a natural birth I still felt guilty because I didn’t think I handled it as well as I should have. Never mind that it was in my own bathroom and on accident.
Here’s something to remember. A healthy baby is the end goal. It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you and baby are healthy, that is all that matters. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise can just go birth a baby themselves. Chances are they’ll agree with that philosophy afterward.
Breast is best and all that jazz. This has been on my mind a lot lately. We all know that breast milk is good for your child. I mean, your body concocts this milk cocktail that’s tailored specifically to your baby’s needs. But formula isn’t bad, either. When B was born, we didn’t have a choice for exclusive breastfeeding. It was clear she wasn’t latching well or eating enough so from day one we were given formula to supplement. We thought we would be able to move away from the formula but it turned out that we needed to supplement for longer because, well, the girl can eat. She still can. But again, because I kept hearing “breast is best” I felt ashamed that I had to give my baby formula. In the early months, there were a few friends of mine who I knew were pretty opinionated about formula so I would sneak away to open a premixed bottle for B when I was around them. I didn’t want them to judge me for feeding her formula. Eventually, though, it also became more of a convience factor. I am so clumsy covering up while breastfeeding, it was a lot easier to get a bottle of formula ready that it was for me to turn and feed her in public.
Like I said, formula isn’t bad. It can be convenient in a pinch. It is also crazy expensive, which is stupid and definitely a conspiracy to make parents feel even more guilty because they’re paying so much to keep their child alive. But you know, whatever.
Here’s my thought on the formula versus breastmilk debate: when you son or daughter graduates from high school, or college, or accomplishes anything to be remotely proud of, do people ask if they were formula fed? NO. It is our job to raise decent human beings and help them succeed in the world. Eighteen, ten, or even five years from now, no one is going to give a you-know-what about what you fed your child before they transitioned to solids.
Co-sleeping. Ah, the five letter word: sleep. To put them in their crib or keep them in your bed. Again, there are so many opinions on this! Frankly, this is the topic I am struggling most with right now.
We held B at night pretty much every night for the first three months of her life. We just couldn’t get her to sleep alone. I could put her down for naps, but when it came to nighttime sleeping things where a no-go. M seems to be going in the same direction. It makes for some uncomfortable nights but here is my argument behind it:
Even in her deepest sleep, the most M will sleep on her own is 45 minutes. When she is held she’ll sleep for up to 4 hours. Our bed is super creaky so bringing her into bed with us is really not an option. If I can have a 2.5 hour sleep instead of a 45 minute sleep, I will do whatever I can to have the longer period, And so we hold her, most nights. Call me selfish or crazy…maybe I am, but we’re doing what works best for our family. Just for the record, we do keep in mind safe sleeping practices, which should definitely be remembered and used by all new parents (have to throw that out there).
So, if you are a new mom or going to become one here shortly, just know that you are doing an awesome job. There are a lot of opinions out there, but when it comes to you and your family, your opinion is the one that matters most. Trust your gut and do what you feel is right…no one knows your situation and your child better than you do! And just know that if you ever need to vent or a gut check to make sure you’re not going crazy, Paige and I are always here for you. :)