There are times when I feel like I’m hiding a whole slew of dirty little secrets. Like what kind of birth I want to have, how I plan to feed my baby, and what kind of diapers she’ll wear.

I live in what many consider to be a pretty progressive city. Even so, I frequently feel as though I need to hide my plans, thoughts and ideas for fear of judgement.

For example, I’d really like to have a med free birth. It’s not something that I’m going to be absolutely devastated if I don’t get, but it’s still something that I’m striving for. Living where I do, I don’t really think that this is an uncommon sentiment, but there are always people who think that the desire to birth med free is absolute lunacy.

Take, for example, my boss. I’ve mentioned her before, she’s technically due about a week and a half after me, but is scheduled to have her baby on February 22nd. She ended up having her first son via c-section which was scheduled immediately after they discovered that the baby was breech and he was delivered two weeks prior to his due date, as planned. Her second son arrived by scheduled c-section two weeks prior to his due date as well, since she had no intention of attempting a VBAC. Her third son will arrive one week prior to his due date, which makes her incredibly nervous that she may actually go into labor on her own before the surgery is scheduled. Yes, that’s right. She’s afraid she will go into labor beforehand. She has never felt a real contraction before, and she doesn’t ever want to.

When I was talking to her about how my little girl was breech, she said “well, that may work out to your benefit and you can have a c-section and not have to go through labor and birth the regular way!” She also made the comment that she thought that recovery from birth is so much easier when you’ve had a c-section versus a vaginal birth (not that she would know, having only experienced birth one of the two ways).

But she’s an extreme example. There are plenty of other women I know who are more than willing to sing the praises of modern medicine and how crazy anyone would have to be to even attempt a med free birth. Let me set the record straight: I’m no martyr and it’s not about feeling like I’ve earned a gold star for going through some horrific pain without taking meds. I’ve never birthed a baby before, and I obviously have no idea what it is like. I do know that sitting here right now, not feeling any contractions or discomfort, that I would like to try to give birth without drugs. If it comes down to it and I can’t hack it, then I’m not afraid to accept meds. It won’t ruin my birth experience. I won’t forever be disappointed that I didn’t get a med free birth. What’s most important to me is that I bring our daughter into the world healthy. How she gets here is much less important to me than her health.

I would also really love to breastfeed my daughter. Again, living in the city where I do, this is not uncommon. However, in my support group, which has seen four babies born since its inception, all intended to exclusively breastfeed, yet most had given up on it within four months. And please understand that I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I know they all really wanted to breastfeed and I know that none of them took the decision to stop breastfeeding lightly; it was a difficult decision for all of them.
The problem I have now is that they seem to almost shun breastfeeding. They too easily write off the benefits of breastfeeding and too quickly say that formula feeding is the way to go. They seem to put on an air of “been there, tried that, didn’t work, so you shouldn’t bother with it either.” And I don’t want this to come off as them not being supportive of my decision to try breastfeeding; I know that they support it up front. I just feel that if I were to go to any of them with a problem, they would just suggest giving up and moving on to formula feeding.

And I know that this may very well happen. I don’t know a single woman who had a perfect experience with breastfeeding. I know so many women who went through everything that they and their lactation experts could think of to try to keep breastfeeding. And it’s one of those things that women really beat themselves up about, feeling that they should keep breastfeeding because it’s what’s best for their child. There are so many potential reasons that women are unable or unwilling to continue breastfeeding and I’m trying to prepare myself for that, should it happen to me. Just like a med free birth, it’s something that I want to try, but if it doesn’t work out for me, I won’t let the fact that it wasn’t what I originally wanted to taint my experience.

Then there’s the whole subject of diapering and this one seems to be the most controversial of all. I’m really looking forward to trying cloth diapering. I’m definitely interested in the cost savings aspect of cloth diapering, and putting nice fluffy fabrics on my daughter’s bum definitely appeals more to me than chemical laden paper and plastic. Of course the benefits to the environment are nice as well. It seems like a win-win situation.

But so very many people do not see things the way I do. In fact, a lot of people that I would expect to be all for cloth diapering just turn up their noses and comment that they would never, ever consider it. It’s too messy/gross/time consuming; just a hassle in general. And they may be right. Who am I to say…I’ve never tried it. But then again, neither have most of them. I’ve got a fine stash built up, hoping that it will work out for us, but if I doesn’t, then I’m not going to be crushed.

Like I said, I live in a really progressive city where a lot of these desires of mine are considered commonplace. Even so, they’re not things that I share with most people, not even my closest friends in most cases. It just seems like everyone’s got their own opinions and if yours doesn’t match theirs, then you are constantly defending yourself. I don’t want to feel the need to be constantly defending my choices and decisions. I especially don’t want to end up not doing any of these things and have someone come back and say “I told you so.” When people ask me if I have any plans for my birth I just reply to them “we’ll see how it goes.” And when they ask if I’ll breastfeed, I tell them that I’m definitely going to give it a shot. And diapering? Well no one asks about that…they just assume that you’ll use disposables, and I just keep my mouth shut.

And so I carry these hopes and desires silently inside me. These are my dirty little secrets.

Shhh…don’t tell anyone.

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