As a mom of four, I was really torn between two choices when I was pregnant. I chose to have a home birth and deliver my baby via Cesarean section, which would save my health insurance provider thousands of dollars in the long run but was completely unsafe.
And then, after my son was born, the nursing plan offered by my doctor to my mom and my husband’s health insurance provider suddenly became an option, because they wanted me to give birth in their hospital. This obviously sounded a lot more attractive than home birth. And so I did.
So when my kids were old enough, I gave them all the best quality time that I could and became the perfect, loving, supportive, non-judgmental mother. It just didn’t seem that great, though. I was so scared to fall apart, as I’d heard from so many other mothers, and yet, for whatever reason, I couldn’t let my guard down with them.
Fear of the unknown, that is. I’d been a midwife for several years and experienced a lot of fear and anxiety, but this time was different. I didn’t know what to expect, or if it would work out in my favor.
I went to my first child development classes and was terrified. I didn’t want to be away from my child for any length of time, not to mention feeling alone for that time. The worst part about it was that nobody really cared how much it hurt me, it seemed because all they were really concerned about was whether the classes were teaching them anything.
So I got all of my co-workers and friends to invite me to visit them at home, even going to bed with them, just to feel less alone and more comfortable. Then we had the ritual of being in their living room, eating spaghetti and meatballs, watching TV, and discussing the lessons we were learning. I tried everything to make myself less anxious about having my child. I told myself that I was doing the right thing.
My co-workers and friends made it clear to me that they were there for me and believed in me. I could get over the fear of home birth and then take the steps to make it happen. Not that I was planning on being a happy mom at that point.
Then, finally, one day after we’d waited all year to go into labor, my husband and I told ourselves that we would always be able to have a home birth and go into labor at the same time. Then, we took a little vacation and felt so relieved. After that, things were better.
But then, later that summer, things started to change again. My new pediatrician informed me that he wanted to start me on some form of medication, even though I was still in the perfect, loving position of parenting. And it seemed like every time I looked for ways to be more involved in parenting, I was reminded of the situation.
There were times when I’d just kind of dread going to the hospital, but I really wanted to keep my experience with the new situation. This time, I wasn’t even that much in the dark about what was happening. I was informed about all the right ways to be a better parent, and I kept doing what I’d been doing.
Communication with my husband, parenting techniques that worked with our son, making sure that he knew what his mommy was doing, learning more about my pregnancy, figuring out how I could deal with my fear, anything. It’s taken a few years, but now, when I am thinking about my own parenting, it doesn’t feel like a failure, but a learning process.