Making it all look easy

6 July 2009 at 8:11 am 4 comments

On July Fourth we had a barbecue with a bunch of friends we don’t get to see very often, and at one point–around 10:30 at night, when most people were up on our roofdeck watching the fireworks on the horizon–I was sitting on the couch chatting with a really good friend about, you know, pregnancy, babies, breastfeeding, etc.

This friend is younger, engaged but not yet married, and very sweet. Before the Fourth, I’d only seen her once since my baby was born, and so that night she’d been asking me a lot of questions, while my baby slept in a wrap on my chest.

“You make it look so easy!” she exclaimed finally, sort of summarizing her take on our conversation. “Natural childbirth made you high, your baby feeds himself in the middle of the night while you sleep–wow!”

Like I said, my friend is very sweet, and what she said made me very happy. But I told her, of course, that these were just my experiences–every woman is different–and that while I would not say that motherhood was easy, I don’t think (again, in my experience) the hard things about it are the things that people typically complain about–labor pains or middle-of-the-night feedings, for example.

For me, a truly relaxed homebirth with a midwife I trust and freedom to change positions at will really did give me a pain-free birth with an unimaginable natural high. And for me, co-sleeping (bedsharing) and nursing on demand really have made nights very peaceful: I wear a pajama top with a slit cut across the breasts (uh, yes, sexy I know) so Marcus just rolls over and latches on when he’s hungry or thirsty or just wants reassurance. He never quite wakes up fully, and certainly doesn’t cry, and I sometimes wake up a little and then slide back to sleep while he’s still suckling.

For me, the harder things about motherhood have been alternately the very physical ones (up at six in the morning with a cheerful baby who’s ready to play, then laundry and housework and out-of-the-house work and daycare pick-ups and dinner to make and a crash in exhaustion at ten at night) and the emotional ones (I personally struggled a lot with the baby blues and also just with the anxiety of realizing I’m responsible now for another life).

Ultimately, I told my friend that when the time comes for her to have children, whenever that is, I’d tell her the same things I told all my other friends who’ve had babies in the past ten months: here’s my cellphone number and here’s the number of the best lactation consultant in Boston. Call her (she’ll get back to you anytime and she makes housecalls) if you need help breastfeeding. Call me–or text me or email me, whatever and whenever–with anything, any random rant or frustration or “is this normal” question. It’s what my husband calls the “motherhood brotherhood”: some things about pregnancy, birth, and mothering have been easy for me, but there were definitely times when I could have used a friend who’d been through all this to call in the middle of the night, so I’ll gladly help another friend in turn with whatever she needs.

–Christina

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Johanna Silva  |  6 July 2009 at 11:08 am

    I just found your blog maybe 2 weeks ago. Very happy to have found it because I live in MA too, western MA. Just wanted to introduce myself and to thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us. I am the mother of a almost 22 month old girl. Breastfeeding, cosleeping mommy, just like you. Unfortunately, cosleeping doesn’t work as smoothly for us! Question – are there any websites/blogs you know of that talk about home birth in MA specifically? Thanks!

    Reply
  • 2. christinamichaud  |  6 July 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks so much for the comment! There are a bunch of us here who blog at MFOM–always happy to have more Mass. readers! Homebirth in MA–planning one, or researching it, you mean? I don’t have a specific website to recommend, but I’d look at the local MANA-provided links, the Mothering.com forums, and I’d do some extensive googling of midwives in your area. Also your local LLL leaders may have good ideas. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • 3. Johanna Silva  |  7 July 2009 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions! We need to decide if/when we will be trying for #2 first! But, if we have a second baby, I would like to seriously consider home birth. I would like to research it. I would want to show my husband proof that it is perfectly safe. He is not convinced right now! Lastly, somewhat related, I wish there was a website where I could learn about my local hospital’s stats. Thanks again for an awesome blog!

      Reply
      • 4. christinamichaud  |  8 July 2009 at 6:34 am

        Well, this site (http://www.thebirthsurvey.com/ ) doesn’t have a ton of info yet, but is a good place to start looking at doctors/midwives/hospitals and stats. My husband–like many, I think–was also initially skeptical about homebirth. He’s a scientist though–a statistician and mathematician–and he was really brought along by the things from Marsden Wagner’s and Henci Goer’s books, in particular. We even looked up the original studies in a lot of cases so we could read those rather than just summaries of them. Good luck!

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