Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Voice in the Chorus


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,
an instinct
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
gestation
or 
a birth-like process (creativity, goal-setting, etc):

let's start a dialogue in the comment section!

xoxox,
A and O


15 comments:

mairedodd said...

following your instincts is key...
my parenting style often raised eyebrows - which was sad as i needed to talk to people too... i felt isolated & didn't talk about what was really happening in our lives... at the time, it was rather not in keeping with modern western thought... so i found comfort in books such as 'the continuum concept'... and i found immense joy with my kids - i treasured the time we spent... and tried to learn the lessons they were teaching me (they are my personal zen masters after all)...
you find your way and make sure you stay true to what you believe... there are as many opinions as people - it is a test of your confidence in yourself... which is hard in the best conditions, but more so when you are sleep deprived!
you are going to be just fine - just look at you only a month after birthing that beautiful babe!

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Mary Jane,
Yes - the sense of isolation if you do it differently - and the idea that your children also teach you - yes!
I have a few ideas of gifts I want to give Orion, of validating his feelings, etc - doing things a bit different.
Your kids are lucky to have you as a mom.
Xoxo
A

UmberDove said...

That last letter I wrote? I'm here to second it all again.

I'm so proud of you mamma.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

My dove,
That means the world to me!!
Xo
A

Marcie Abney said...

Have you thought about using a basinet? My sis let all of her babies sleep in the room with her and her husband, but just a few feet away so that her sanity was kept, but they were both there for baby time. She's passed the basinet to me, and I plan to do the same when I have my first. (Of course, point of post...I may not feel the same way at that point!)

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Hi, Marcie!!
We keep the bassinet in the living room where Anthony sleeps: co-sleeping is not recommended for fathers (at least according to Dr. Sears!) because they don't have the same spacial-protective instinct as a mama. During my shifts I cosleep with Orion.
When his time between feedings gets toward 3-4 hours (right now we're at 1.5-2 hours in between feedings) we'll all be in the bedroom together, but right now the task mostly falls to me and my boobs ;)

xoxox,
A

akamilby said...

I think the best thing anyone ever told me as a new mom, was that you know your baby best. Better than the doctor, better than any book, better than any well-meaning advice dispensers. And what works for you as a parents is what's best for you to do, because each family is unique. Orion is lucky to have you.
Oh, and the Dr. Sears The Baby Book was my most helpful resource for years (my kids are now 5 and almost 7), and I still use it now and again when they're sick. I'm glad you've found it.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

akamilby:
Hear hear!! Your own children look happy and lovely - it's nice to know that Dr. Sears's information is so helpful. thank you for taking the time to write this - :) xoxox

akamilby said...

I feel like I should introduce myself--I found your blog from The Noisy Plume. I grew up with her husband in northern California. I'm Holly. Hello!

mairedodd said...

i came back to visit - and i too just adore dr. sears... so glad you have found him...

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Hello, Holly and truly glad to meet you :)
Xoxo
A

swoonjewels said...

Hi Sunny,
Congratulations on your bub, such a sweety!
I love reading your updates about bubs and sharing in your new found experiences being a mama.
Especially, as my baby was born a day after yours! But Im in Australia, so perhaps they were born on the same day :)
I hear ya..The mama club and smiles we get on walks are beautiful. Im now IN also!

Ive had good and bad advice given also..I guess the bad advice given has solidified my decision to just follow my instincts with bub as much as possible.
One of the big suprises for me was how much baby demands of me. After nannying in San francisco for a time I thought I was an 'expert' on kids. HA!
I know this is a special time though and just try do the best I can. Although some days there are small tears, I know she will get through it and so will I.
Her need to suck right now is ferocious!
I also thought I'd never have her in the bed with me..We tried it a couple nights ago and it was beautiful. I loved it and so did she, my steely resolve all melted away again!
Anyway, Im happy to be sharing a couple of my parallel experiences with you now :)
On a last note, Well done ladycakes!Your new work is beautiful... I dont know how you find the time to make.... My tools are sitting there taunting me to pick them up, alongside the overflowing laundry basket! Hehe
xo
Jenna

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Hi again, my dear :) the picture of you on your blog recently - you are so beautiful!!!

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Jenna,
Ten thousand thanks and congrats on your new daughter!!! It is amazing how they break your resolve in the most innocent way... I am blown away by the power of the infant :)
What a beautiful note you've left here; you will get to your tools again, truly :) xoxo
A

lisa said...

Hey ;o) I have never commented before but read your blog often. I love your work ;o) But your so right about being a Mum and wanting to share as much advice and experiences as people are interested to hear ;o) So My little boy Roo would never settle on his own in his moses basket at first. It was just too big for him. My sister suggested putting blankets around him to reduce space etc but we went for the option of using a breast feeding pillow to make it more of a snug fit, with that and swaddling he settled, felt like he was still held i suppose and viola no more constant co-sleeping ;o) , I also had 2 hourly feedings with him so I feel for you , its a tough start but i enjoyed every moment ;o)