I am writing this morning to tell you it can be different:
one of the things about motherhood and pregnancy is that even more so than other life events, women often need to share their stories and give their advice (which is normally hard won.)-
it's the nature of the experience:
you join a mama club in a sense
and just like anything else, it takes all kinds to make a world.
On one of our first post-partum walks Anthony and I passed a woman with a stroller and as we came close she smiled at me and I returned the beam.
"I'm IN!!", I laughed to Anthony after the lovely exchange and I meant it in the best way -
the crucible of the birth experience should indeed be something that shines a light of sisterhood to fellow women
but then, so should simply being a woman in a perfect world.
Once you announce your pregnancy
some women will tell you what you are going to experience
as though you have no choice
and some will listen and pour tea.
When you share your choices
as a womb-giver and as an in-the-flesh mama
some will be supportive
some will give education
and some will fill you with fear: birth stories I've been told come to mind - it took days to clear my head
once I'd heard those things I could not unhear.
Sometimes each of these roles will be played out solely in your head
as an angel on your shoulder,
or a righteous devil's advocate.
Here are some things that happened in my experience that went counter to some advice or story but never against my instinct:
I did not take prenatals: I opted to get my folic acid through dark leafy greens consumed almost daily in large quantities and researching other nutritionally dense foods to include in my diet.
There was the occasional coffee when Orion was in the womb.
I did not stop listening to the radio loud in the car before the babe was born, nor did I stop singing at full volume right along with it. I will not raise a child who has not been exposed to life happening around them - I love that he slept through a dinner party filled with loud laughter and good friends last Monday night!!!
I hammered and cabbed rocks - he can sleep to both now (with appropriate ear protection, of course - they look like earmuffs, the baby version!)
I still vey much enjoy cooking and tidying, though I certainly do far less of both than I did while nesting...
my house has not fallen apart.
I did not beg for an epidural, I did not scream for one: I thought long and hard through some of the most overwhelming contractions about getting one.
I had previously said "no baby will sleep in our bed and break that norm!" -haha-
for sanity and sleep we are currently divided between two spaces, working towards bed unity, doing 'shifts' at night.
I miss Schmilly!!
I let Orion dictate the level of attachment, feeding time, etc: he is a tiny benevolent Nomulan overlord and thankfully a very relaxed and calm baby!!
I still work, even though I set aside everything I'd need for a maternity leave: I passionately love what I do: no other time in life have I realized this more.
I suppose I write all of this to say how wonderful and surprising it is to be experiencing this time in a unique way: it is easy to be swayed by what you read and hear, though it is fabulous that we live in an age where the internet exists
and friends share their thoughts without fear.
I would love to hear what surprised you/countered given advice about your experience with children
a birth-like process (creativity, goal-setting, etc):
let's start a dialogue in the comment section!
A and O