(Warning: This is a long post about babies, labor, and the stupid that all moms face after having their kids…)
When I was pregnant with my daughter about a kajillion years ago, I had plans. I was going to have a natural childbirth, I was going to breastfeed, I was going to only give her organic food. It all seemed set out and perfect. I would fit in with the other blogging moms and we would all have the perfect families together. You know, somewhere in there I think I forgot that I have never been very good at fitting in anyway.
Here is the thing, I have no problem with anyone doing the opposite of anything that I have done when it comes to their own bodies and their own children. I really could not care less if you use cloth or disposable diapers. I don’t mind if you feel like germs are evil and must be kept away from your little one or if you are all into inoculation through exposure. this blog is not about judgement or who is right or wrong. It is about what was right for me and how I am breaking free from the stigma placed upon me by others. The decisions I have made are my own and, damn it, I refuse to be placed in a box or sit on the judgement seat because of them. What is right for some may not be right for me, and I recognize that this goes the other way as well. Now that I have that out of the way, here are the two main reasons why I am proud to be a “bad mom”.
As I mentioned before, when I was pregnant with my daughter I had plans. Literally. I had a birthing plan all written out clearly stating that I did not want drugs pushed on me. I wanted to do this natural. I did not have bad feelings about epidurals or think they would harm me or my daughter, I was just stubborn. My mom had me without drugs, gosh darn it, and if she could do it, so could I! Let me tell you how plans change super fast. I experienced hours, and I mean somewhere around 20 of them, of back labor. The contractions were so painful they were making me physically ill. I could not think of anything but the excruciating waves of pain and nausea sweeping through my body. When the hospital finally admitted me about halfway through my labor, I was exhausted and still hours from having my firstborn. They offered me drugs. I refused them. Thankfully, my husband talked some sense into me. Without them, I never would have had the energy to finish. I am not speaking with an ounce of hyperbole here. Halfway through, my body was giving up. I needed to rest. On top of that, I also would have had a painful 2 hours of reconstructive surgery post labor. Thanks to the epidural, they could just give me more and I could be completely oblivious to any feeling for my special O.R. time post Jenna birth. It was, as the doctor said, much more pleasant for everyone involved compared to him administering local anesthetic.
Jenna was a giant baby. Not only was she a giant baby, she inherited my humongous head. Let me tell you guys a little secret, a 9 pound baby, not so bad, it’s the head you have to worry about. Anyhow, after an almost 6 month recovery I decided that the next kid would A: come early via induction or B: be removed through stomach incision. My doctor was completely uncomfortable with inducing me, so C-section it was. Best. Decision. Ever. I had people discouraging me. I had people telling me it wasn’t best for the baby and that the baby needed its trip through the birth canal to be healthy. I even had people telling me I was being selfish or that my recovery would be hellish. Well, here is the deal, I had a super healthy baby boy (with a larger head than his sister even a week early by the way) that needed zero oxygen, and my recovery was less than half of what I experienced the first time around. Both my son and I were better off because of the c-section because I was able to care for him immediately. It was not a selfish act. It was best for both of us. I remember very little of having Jenna especially before the drugs, I was too tired and in too much pain. I didn’t even get to see her until she had been breathing air for about three hours. With my son, it was immediate. They brought him to me as soon as I was in recovery. I was there for all of his firsts, unlike with my daughter.
So, reason #1 I am a bad mom to some? I love me an epidural! And I am all for a planned c-section if it is what you want and think is best.
On to reason #2: I hate, and I mean hate, breastfeeding. Again, with my first I was going to do the supposed right thing. I planned to breastfeed as long as possible. After six months of suffering through finding privacy, experiencing intense feelings of isolation, and working my school schedule and life around when Jenna would need to eat, I gave up. I went entirely to bottle feeding. I found freedom. I no longer feared my daughter being hungry. I got to experience the same smiles she had for her father, she didn’t instantly go for food when she saw me. It was fantastic. My brain did not handle breastfeeding well. It depressed me and, honestly, made me resent being a mom. It was clearly not right for me. Even still, when I had my second child, I felt the pressure from others to give it another go, so I did. Now, let me tell you, I am a very tiny person. Having babies takes everything out of me. They steal all of my nutrition and leave me pretty ill and extremely iron deficient. It turns out that this is very bad for my babies when they are trying to grow based solely on food produced by me. Cole did not gain weight. When we went in for his two month check up, the doctor was stunned by how little he still was and he ended up in the hospital. He went on a diet of formula and *poof* he gained weight. And I do mean *poof*! It was instantaneous. The doctor told me I could continue to breastfeed for my own comfort, but it wouldn’t do him any good. She said I would continue to need to bottle feed him. That was all I needed to hear. At two months old I was given permission to wean my son and not have any regrets or feelings of guilt placed on me from those on the outside looking in. It was fantastic.
Here is the thing, I am trying to raise polite, well rounded, socially conscious, healthy, and loving children. The decisions I made regarding using disposable diapers because I was still in school and had very little time or energy and the bananas without the organic label that actually fit into my budget, well, they just do not seem to have an effect on those goals. I love my children as much as the next mom. They are fantastic additions to my life. Personally, I think that I have made good choices for me, Jenna, and Cole. We are happy, healthy, and well connected. I do not feel less attached to Cole because he was a c-section and didn’t breastfeed as long as his sister, and Jenna is smart as a whip even though I had an epidural. I am breaking my silence and standing up for those like me. Every mom has the right to choose for herself what is best for her family, and no mom should ever feel like she is less of a mother because of them. Cloth or disposable; organically grown or not; epidural, natural or c-section; breastfed or formula from a bottle: It just doesn’t matter. The decisions are individual and we should stop judging each other based on the ones we make.