Editor’s note: This editorial first appeared in Having a Baby Today Issue 6, Summer 2002.
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Having recently given birth I am awash with love and devotion to my newborn. Arlo was born May 7, 2002, after many bubbles had been burst regarding normal and natural birth. Even though we transported from home to hospital and I used pitocin, which was incredibly painful, I was still able to enjoy the moment of birth when I reached out to receive my son. It was a great moment. Of course, the problems did not end there. We proceeded to have breastfeeding problems and at 4 weeks postpartum I started bleeding and getting dizzy.
So why is it that through all these trials and tribulations I feel so at peace with this new person? Because parenting is an incredible gift. I’ve been a midwife for 20 years and have seen everything from sweet homebirths to very intervention-heavy hospital births. I have been able to step back, to be flexible in my ideals more readily now than when I was younger and having my two other children. Something has shifted deep inside me. What is important is the now, even if that means the now of transporting to the hospital for the safety of my baby, or the now of supplementing, pumping and feeding other than with my own breast milk until we can get things resolved. The now is about being open and willing to follow your instincts as a new mom and a new family. Looking deep into your child’s eyes while he is suckling creates an instant balance that evaporates all stress and negativity. I believe Mother Nature provides this instinctive bonding to create patience and endurance in the face of adversity. Rarely do our expectations of birth and parenting match our vision of purity. I am finding comfort in the simple aspects—little smiles from Arlo. My breast milk is finally increasing for him through endless pumping. Great friends and family have stepped in to help while I rest and get my bleeding to stop. And incredible midwifery care from women who trust birth and love family has been a huge support.
Once again I am reminded that good care and support are the best ingredients to a happy, healthy childbearing year. I once thought that good meant non-interventive. I have now come to believe it is about the least intervention combined with the best loving care possible.
I encourage you mothers to go out and find the best birth practitioner you can, someone who meets your special needs. Do not settle for anything less! Then envision the best birth for yourself, keeping an open mind and trusting your intuition always. When you get to the sacred time of parenting be sure to take time to acknowledge what your personal power has brought you. Enjoy the fruit of your labor! Any adversity you have met along the way is simply and purely melted by the smile of your child. If you accept the gift you have been given you can make it through anything. I’m proud to be among you.