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  1. #41
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    when all you hear is: breastfeeding is best. if you love your child, you should breastfeed. breastfeeding gives your child the best start in life....

    and it doesn't work out for you.... MANY women feel guilty.
    I kept breastfeeding longer than was good for me with my first child (I MADE myself stick with it but it never got better for me). At the time, I had a lot of other issues going on so I really thought other women were judging me. Now, in hindsight, I realize that what I thought was guilt over breastfeeding not being what I had hoped it would be and other womens' reactions was actually me grieving the experience--I personally felt a sense of loss. So, very recently, I've been able to recognize the situation for what it was, "own" those emotions, and move on. But it was never really a question of whether breastfeeding was or wasn't nutritionally healthiest (in right circumstances--meaning your child is gaining weight properly etc.). Still doesn't, in my mind, change the fact that "breast is best" in general. I just have a lot of compassion for women who did their darndest to breastfeed as long as they wanted and it didn't work out--the truth is that sometimes it simply doesn't work out. I felt sad about it--I felt let-down but that was outside of what others thought about or said to me.

    Because, the fact is, any number of opinions held by others on various topics relating to childbirth and child rearing have the potential to make me feel guilty if I let them. I think most moms struggle with some amount of "mommy guilt"--and if it's not about breastfeeding, it will be about something else. It sure does take a certain amount of resolution to be a mom and stick to one's decisions and accept the rewards/consequences for those decisions. Everything in life is a choice, afterall.

    whether you agree with it or not, doesn't matter. it's how they feel. not one person makes them feel guilty. it is just how they feel... society seems to look down on them because they are not doing what they are constantly told is best for their child. ie) if you love your child and want the best, then breastfeed...implies to those who can't/don't that they must not love their kids as much as those who do.
    I think it really matters which society you're living in. Because in HK, the breastfeeding mothers often get 'the look'--sometimes of bewilderment but then local women get pressure from their families, friends and doctors to switch to formula as soon as the "going gets rough" which may not be the choice they are most comfortable with. But, back where I'm from, every mother--down from the oldest generation to the youngest, that I know breastfeeds their children. So, it really baffled them that I couldn't resolve the problems I was having because they were all able to resolve theirs. Again, it takes resolution to do what's right for yourself and your child. I just chalk it up to that. Some people don't understand and that's cool. As long as they're not aggressive and confrontational with me about it, sometimes you just have to say to yourself, "They don't understand, but I do because this is my experience and what I'm living."

    it's the same with should i work outside the home or not? if you do, you feel guilty, because you think you should/you want to be home with your child. if you stay home, you feel society looks down on you because you are "just a mum" or "just a housewife"...and don't fool yourself. lots of women who work outside the home look down on those who don't... those who don't look down on those who do.
    So, we're all caught in the middle then, right? Again, "mommy guilt" is what you let it become. Life of a mother: dXmned if you do and dXmned if you don't.

    This past autumn I had a sort of "falling out" with a long-time close friend from the States. We were college roommates and worked at the same company as well. She also has two small children. She was telling me her SAHM woes and I told her that I could relate a little bit and that I'd give SAHM life a fair run but had decided that for me, personally, working outside the home was healthiest and best for my family on so many levels. She's university-educated (and I believe has a longing to have a career outside the home). She took this to mean that I was judging her as "just a mom." That was really not the heart of what I was saying at all. I just told my story--as it was. In the beginning, I was a SAHM. I was miserable. I looked at my situation and said, "I should change this." I changed it. I feel better. The end. She came back at with me with, Well, you just don't care about your family and are letting other people raise your kids. See where this is going? Honestly, moms can be the worst enemies of each other sometimes. What I was saying was being a SAHM is DIFFICULT--I mean, in my experience, it was extremely difficult--not really the work but the mental/social aspects of it. I respect anyone who is a SAHM. It is a valid, noble career choice. Some people, despite the difficulties, really enjoy it--they are made for it. Others are not. So, anyway, my friend and I communicated better and came to an understanding and we're probably better friends today than we were before this incident.

    it's great that you are comfortable enough in yourself (as am i) that you don't feel guilty. not all people are that strong/self-confident.
    True. But to be frank, we're responsible for our own selves. We can't go out in the world and say, "Don't say anything to me that I don't like or don't know how to deal with because I'm not confident enough in myself to know how to handle it." Now, definitely, I've felt this way at times in my life. There is one person in my immediate family who constantly projects his emotions on others--in that way he doesn't have to take responsibility for them. He is also one of the most discontent people I know. No one likes to be judged--it's not a good feeling--but it's a learning process--especially for us women and mamas. "Know thyself" has to be one of the biggest parts of this human experience. New mamas do need supportive people in their lives but they also need to know how to walk away from the people who are only giving them grief about their choices--those people will always exist in this world, unfortunately.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  2. #42
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i agree with all you have said. i, personally, have rarely felt guilty for any of my decisions (ever). i do know mothers, though, who often feel guilty about so many things.

    i guess, all i was trying to say was this: while a "normal" birth may be best in some situations, it isn't always (for various reasons). each woman should make the decision for themselves as to what is best for them. i think that ALL information needs to be readily available about the various possibilities and that doctors etc should be prepared to answer any and all questions in order to give the mother to be the tools necessary to make such a decision.

    on a side note, my cousin, had a "normal" home birth in canada 3 weeks ago. all went well with the birth, but she then started to hemorrage and was rushed to the hospital for transfusions. she didn't have a complicated pregnancy and all signs were that it would be a "trouble-free" birth. she was lucky she lived close to the hospital or she could have died.

    for me, i think (after experiencing what i have), if possible i would go for a normal birth in a hospital setting.
    however, that will NEVER be possible. i would probably have a heart attack or stroke mid-labour if i were allowed to try....

  3. #43
    catan is offline Registered User
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    "Life of a mother: dXmned if you do and dXmned if you don't."

    Yes. Everyone is so ready to jump on mothers for anything 'wrong'. Support is hard to get in HK sometimes, especially in a chinese family (from my experience). They criticize everything, not just breastfeeding, but baby's size, shape of head, sleep habits, how much clothes you put on baby, whether or not baby cries with new people, etc. You have to be made of steel not to start doubting yourself at some point!

    I get flak for being a SAHM from my family (what did I go to college for, lol), but I've stopped explaining myself... people who haven't experienced it wouldn't understand. If you stay at home, you give something up; if you work and have a career, you also give something up. Life's like that, there's no way around it.

    Having confidence as a mother is really important. To be confident and positive helps baby grow well. If mother constantly tense and in doubt, she'll wear down quickly-- that's not good for anyone in the family.
    TNT likes this.

  4. #44
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    Although I am quite saddened by the fact that c-sections seem to be the norm these days (especially here), while I believe they should mainly be used if medically necessary (and plenty of those circumstances can be found obviously), I never opted for a home birth (in my home country close to 30% is home birth, I moved before delivery anyway). I was more than happy to accept pain medication, I never breastfed my children and I don't regret it (plus I don't feel guilty about it either).

    I made educated decisions that I felt happy with and I have had 2 very normal and pleasant birth experiences. The first one was long but they supported a natural delivery until the end because my baby was doing fine, so no reason to intervene. The twins came naturally (with pain meds) with a breech baby B (born by breech extraction) which was a breeze. They came home with me 2 days later.

    Again, I do feel c-sections are taking the overhand for the wrong reasons. And sadly a lot of doctors are not very open to natural/vaginal births, especially not with multiples, but a lot of things like breastfeeding, having the baby placed on my chest after birth, being able to move around during labor, etc. were not very high on my agenda. I don't really care to be completely honest. Other things may be more important to me, and other people may feel differently, that's fine too. I wish there would be more doctors here that would cater to those who have different wishes and opinions. However I was happy with my choices, my children came into this world smoothly, healthy, large and without any medical issues and that's all I could be hoping for.

  5. #45
    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    the problem with trying to have a normal birth in a hospital is that medical personnel spend a great deal of time and money learning how to treat the abnormal. In classes, they study all the things that can go terribly wrong and how to fix them; this creates a mentality that birth is filled with potential life threatening complications. Its like when you take a psych class and suddenly you start "diagnosing" all the "disorders" your friends and family have. Of course, your friends and family probably are "normal", but since you are studying the abnormal, that's what you see. So it makes sense that if you only study the abnormal, you will get a skewed idea of what birth is.

    In days of yore, women only went to the hospital when things were going horribly wrong, which compounded the problem. Now the medical staff actually WITNESSED all the things going terribly wrong, just like it said in the book. This cycle cultivated this perception among the public that birth is basically to be treated as a disease that must be cured with all the bells and whistles available.

    So when you ask to be treated like you are doing something normal, they cant help themselves but stare dumbfounded.

    In addition, most women themselves believe (subconsciously at least) that they have a condition that must be treated and medicated, and don't themselves know what normal means. In fact, so many generations have passed since any of us saw a real normal birth that few even really have a grasp of what normal means (unless they do copious research...imagine having to do research to discover what normal means! Normal should be obvious, shouldn't it?).

    Women who make normal requests are often denied in a hospital setting because no one understands it is a normal request; and in fact, when no one does something anymore, it ceases to be normal at all. So actually "normal" childbirth as thanka advocates for is actually not normal these days (how is that for a mind-bending thought?).

    Normal, by definition, should be what at least 68% of the population does (statistically). I am pretty confident that 68% of women in HK are NOT doing all the things thanka says is "normal".


    So where does that leave us? Do we accept the highly medicalized new normal (that treats us all as abnormal cases-in-waiting), or advocate for a return to the old normal (that accepts a wide range of behaviors and outcomes as normal), as thanka does?

    I for one think it is commendable for people to try to get us out of thinking everything is a potential disaster, and thinking that birth is something women have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years, long before the bells and whistles, and still we managed to survive as a species, so we must be able to do it without bells and whistles.

    If you have a genuine medical problem, it is wonderful we have all the technology and medicine at our disposal, but it really shouldn't be part of the game plan otherwise. I think women sell themselves short and the medical profession sells us short. They push interventions on us that we don't need and offer medications that we don't need to "help" us when most of us are perfectly capable of helping ourselves.

    So I see no problem with at least keeping the conversation going and get the idea out there that there is a normal birth experience and they are entitled to it.
    thanka2, TNT and catan like this.

  6. #46
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    yes, women have been giving birth for thousands of years.... i would say even longer.... BUT up until recently the most dangerous thing a woman could do was give birth. there is a reason why all the "bells and whistles" have come about.

    i am in no way saying that those bells and whistles are necessary for everyone, or even for a majority. but they are there for a reason.

    so while birth is a natural thing, it can still be dangerous.
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  7. #47
    TNT
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    genkimom you are spot on. Carang, she does say quite clearly it can be dangerous (and i don't think anyone would dispute that) but that the whole medically focussed nature of modern birth means that every birth is seen as dangerous and that therefore normal is no longer thought of as possible!

    While the bells and whistle may have come about to reduce the dangers of childbirth then now may end up contributing to it....
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  8. #48
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    yes, women have been giving birth for thousands of years.... i would say even longer.... BUT up until recently the most dangerous thing a woman could do was give birth. there is a reason why all the "bells and whistles" have come about.

    i am in no way saying that those bells and whistles are necessary for everyone, or even for a majority. but they are there for a reason.

    so while birth is a natural thing, it can still be dangerous.
    Can be. Isn't always. And often the things doctors do actually make the situation more dangerous.

    The best analogy is that birth is like swimming. If you're not trained or ready to swim, you can drown. You can also drown if you're attacked by a shark or the water is too choppy or the water is too cold. Some people are paralyzed from the neck down and can't really swim on their own--they need more help and shouldn't just be thrown into a pool. Small children shouldn't be left to swim on their own. We have lifeguards who stand-by in case they see a person drowning or who needs help but they spend most of their time simply sitting there observing. We have special coaches and equipment to help those who need it. But, in general, the lifeguards don't go jumping in the pool every time someone dips their head underneath the water. They don't insist on holding every swimmer's hand while they swim or making every swimmer wear a life vest and, water wings. They don't make swimmers lay down on an inflatable raft because getting in the water would just be too dangerous for them. For those who need the equipment and help, it's there and we're thankful it is. But, the very act of swimming is pretty natural--you just need a little bit of skill and some confidence. My parents know a man who died while swimming because he panicked--the water was only about shoulder-deep but he didn't stand up and he died.

    So, childbirth can be dangerous. A lot of things can be dangerous. In the past a lot of women died in childbirth but their living conditions were drastically different than what we face today--often times they didn't even have the option of medical treatment should they need it. Many of them didn't even have the luxury of a midwife--trained or not. They didn't have vitamin-fortified food in large quantities at their disposal. They still worked long days in grueling conditions (farm work, factory work). They didn't have prenatal screening and scans. They didn't have immunizations. . So, comparing womens' conditions then and now is a bit hard to do. In many places then (and in some places now) womens' status in society was close to nothing so they weren't afforded any special care during pregnancy.

    Still not an excuse to force every woman to labor and give birth in a set model of fear and dread--giving over one's rights over one's body and child to another person.

    Another way to look at it--and most people I know who are strong advocates of intervention-free birth hold this view. Birth is the ultimate culmination of the act of lovemaking. In the same way I don't need someone in my bedroom giving me a play-by-play instructional on how to make love, I believe that birth is a sacred and special time that is best accomplished with only necessary interference in a calm, respectful, supportive and loving atmosphere. This is why many women opt to have a homebirth. Like these women, I believe that I am more than just a "piece of flesh" and so is my child and the act of giving birth really represents something more than "get the baby out." One of the things I will treasure for the rest of my life is the way in which my husband and I were able to work with each other to give birth. Not every situation will turn out like that but I think that women who aren't barred from doing so because of medical conditions should at least entertain the thought.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

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