It’s real, it’s angry and it’s ravenous. I know, because I have a good case of it myself.
Back at the beginning of my health journey, when we were radically changing our diets, I had over a year where I ate NO processed, white sugar, GMOs or wheat. It was amazing. (And hard). However, my difficult pregnancy with my first also brought with it my regression. During the first 16-18 weeks, I never threw up (I’m pro at that), but I lost 10 pounds due to the extreme nausea and smell sensitivity to be the lightest I’ve ever been.
But I craved Pizza Hut. And Arby’s.
Yes, two of some of the least healthy things I could possibly put in my body. I resisted it often – but not always. And afterwards, the guilt. Even my NRT Doctor (who I worked for and was a patient of) tried to comfort me about it, but I couldn’t get past how I was damaging my health and also hurting my child before he was even born.
That ^ was actually one of my mildest flare ups of the beast, but I share it just to say – mama guilt is REAL, people. And it affects us Christians, same as it affects anyone.
As Christians though, we’re supposed to always search for the truth. And that means being willing to accept the truth, even if it hurts, or if it’s ‘easier’ to keep the guilt around.
How Mama Guilt Relates to Home Birth
When I found out I was expecting our first, I knew without a doubt I did not want to be in the hospital. It was absurd to me that someone could tell me I had to be there 2-3 days. I didn’t want to be there at all, let alone that lifetime. I had to do clinicals at the hospital. It was cold, glaringly bright, and sterile, with the chemical smell of cleaning products everywhere. Even working in the outpatient lab, I could sense the fear and unease in the patients coming in.
Then, working in the medical field for almost a decade as a MA and Phlebotomist, I met and interviewed many, many nurses as patients. Some were the unhealthiest people I’ve ever met, some were the meanest people I’ve ever met. Granted I also met many sweet, kind nurses and have many as friends. But there was a high likelihood I would get one or even a couple of those mean, angry, better-than-thou nurses. There was no way I was going to be at the mercy of one of them in my most vulnerable moment.
I also knew several women who had my OB/GYN. They happened to have babies before me. We saw many different scenarios play out and wanted nothing to do with any of them. I was also NOT going to be induced, especially for a stupid reason like the doctors vacation or being barely a week ‘over due’. I was NOT going to have an epidural or Nubain, or a c-section when those things slowed labor too much. I’ve been known to feel bad if I don’t do what someone else wants, so I was afraid I would be easily pressured into something.
I also knew that if I had those options at my fingertips, there was a good chance I would give in. Outside of the moment, after all the research we did, I knew what I wanted. Having a home birth was my way of handling all those things.
It doesn’t make me better than you if that’s not what you did.
It was my choice to have a home birth. You had your choice and I hope that you were supported in whatever it was.
Either way, it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to talk about my experience. Or that I can’t tell you the positives of it. If you don’t want to hear my story, I don’t want to share it with you. Birth stories are intimate and something to treat tenderly, whether they be bad or good. You should be respected about yours. I should be respected about mine.
Don’t let your mama guilt try to make me feel bad about my home birth. Don’t let it make you feel bad about whatever yours was. The past is done, and even though it shapes us, we can’t go back and reshape it. If your experience was bad, allow yourself time to mourn whatever your expectation was. If it was good, but not a home birth, stop feeling like you have to defend your decision. Some women do best in the hospital, others, like me, definitely do not.
That doesn’t make either of us wrong.
Please Mama, research before going into birth. Decide, with your husband, where you feel most comfortable. Talk to a knowledgeable, kind CNM (certified nurse midwife) to see if you’re a candidate for home birth, if that’s what you want. Talk to your OB/GYN if you want a hospital birth, and make sure you feel respected, heard and cared for, either way. If you don’t, fire them, find another. Make sure you both agree about what interventions can be taken and at what point. Write a birth plan.
Labor and birth shapes you. But you can shape it too, by choosing competent, caring people to join you for it.
So Mama, I highly recommend home birth. I’ve had two, completely, entirely different from each other, but just the same – they were where I wanted to be and safest for both baby and I. I also highly recommend you give birth where you feel safest. If that’s the hospital, I won’t let Mama guilt make you feel bad about it.
Now go hug those sweet babies and stop feeling guilty. 😉
Hugs from another mama in the trenches,