motherly love

This weekend we reached 33 weeks! As we get closer to full-term, thinking about delivery is definitely starting to outweigh thinking about simply being pregnant. And there are a lot of possibilities to consider: I may be able to have our baby without any intervention or surgery. I may need to have a c-section, if the doctor is unable to remove my cerclage. Things may get more complicated if the baby comes especially early. The doctor explained this many months ago, and as a type-A firstborn who likes to know and plan as much as possible, I've appreciated having time to think about the various scenarios.

One aspect of being pregnant that I've loved is the support I've immediately gotten from the mothers in my life. I feel lucky that this first-hand support has been so positive, especially since as soon as you move from your friend-circle to the internet-circle, support seems to be squashed by competition. I've been struck by the fact that people can in the same breath admit that each baby and situation is unique, and then assert that one method or technique is universally superior. Epidurals, induction, breastfeeding, co-sleeping....it seems like every aspect of parenting is open to criticism and censure.

I bet that they're aggressively comparing birth stories, don't you?

This touches a bit of a sore spot with me. I don't understand why women would turn something that should engender compassion and comradeship with each other into an opportunity to emphasize differences. One phrase that particularly frustrates me (which I should just let go - there's no way to replace it) is "natural birth"....as opposed to the thousands of scenarios where some sort of assistance or intervention is needed. Someone else recently expressed my thoughts succinctly: "All birth is natural." It'd be unnatural if the baby stayed put forever! I think each birth is a miracle, but it's also what our bodies were made to do, and therefore natural. And more importantly, I think we need to remember that there are some women who would do anything to have an emergency c-section or a baby living on formula. To be at the point where those are the decisions to make is to have already received a great gift.

I don't mean to be preachy or negative. I don't think there's any reason to be, because there seems to be a simple solution. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones if you want, but this article made me tear up. And to all of you who are trying to love and take care of your children the best you can (or if you've been doing that for the last 20 years): you are a good mama.


  1. AMEN. I get so frustrated with 9/ 10 of birth stories I read (which I know means that I could just stop reading them) because it is usually written in a way that seems to snidely condemn or chastise mothers who do a different option. There is no wrong way to birth a baby. And I know adults that were fed/ sleep trained/ raised/ birthed in all different ways and turned out just find. You just do whatever you need to do and I am cheering you on!

  2. Thanks, Hannah! I might need to solicit regular pep talks from you when I'm frazzled and sleep-deprived :).

  3. I love this. It's such a good reminder -- especially as a naturally (overly) critical person, it's so easy to bash on others' choices. Especially because parenting is on the whole so confusing; it's as though we need to affirm that we're doing things the right way by accusing others of doing them the wrong way.

    Which reminds me: when I was pregnant, we went to a Lamaze class (har har, right?), which was awesome, but one of the best things we did was in our last class. Our instructor handed everybody about 15 3x5 cards. Each card had two opposing things written on each side -- so one side would say "c-section" and the other side "vaginal birth," one side "walking around during labor," the other "confined to bed," one side "no painkillers," the other side "epidural" -- you get the idea. The last card said "healthy baby" on both sides.

    She told us to lay them all out on the floor with the side that we would choose facing up -- our "birth plan" or whatever. Then she told us we had to flip a card. We picked one to flip, and she told us we had to flip two more cards. Then three. Then five.

    At the end, nobody was left with the faux birth experience they wanted -- but everybody had a healthy baby. And that's what matters.

    1. Ok, that's fantastic. I've never had someone tell me their birth class was really great before (usually just something to check off the list), but it's CLEARLY because they didn't have your sweet teacher :)