This post: Especially the last line!
I had a hard flashback moment today. It was to the pain I felt during childbirth. I was brought back to the operating table and was feeling it when they made the incision in my lower abdomen. I could feel the pain again but pulled myself out of the thought. I remember screaming ‘Tam, they’re trying to kill me’ and saying ‘OW, it hurts!’. After that I was ‘out’. I would have liked it someone was telling me what they were doing as they went on, but it was a very painful, confusing time. I was ‘put under’ after all my yelling but I don’t remember much else. As I thought about this all today, I thought wow, this is how women die. In my most vulnerable moment, I couldn’t speak to say if anything was happening to me, such as shortness of breath or heart palpitations. I just know it is an experience I never want again. Though bittersweet, as I do want another child. I’m just hoping it can be a VBAC. I tell myself all the time that I’m going to be so much better in my next pregnancy. I’m going to eat well, drink more water, manage my iron and haemoglobin issues better. I’m going to be more prepared. More vocal, more involved in my delivery. I’m going to speak up more. I tell myself all these things but know once reality hits, ‘get the baby out safely’ will be my only focus. No one else will matter. That’s how it was with my son. No form of dilation was happening, and the only peace came with feeling my water break. I think that will be the difference in my next birth. An environment with warm water. A dredge for my tingling veins and disturbed body. It is the least I can do for pushing my body to do what it needs to before it’s ready. Birth is a very natural process, a severely underrated sentiment. The effects on the body is extremely life altering and has continues for years. Yet, that is hardly discussed! There is so much care needed for the mother but no one ever remembers this. My first birth felt somewhat like a plunge. Somewhat procedural, done on rotations or rounds. I don’t want that again. If I do have to be induced, I want to labor in the comfort of my safe, peaceful home. If my health allows, this would make me extremely happier and calmer for delivery. In reality, a hospital birth saved my life, but we weren’t prepared for the process at all. Looking back, we were too ‘limp’. No matter how many birth stories, YouTube videos and TLC’s ‘A Baby story” I watched, it was extremely too new and unlike anything we’ve ever been through. I want to be prepared to deal with it all, especially the doctors and nurse.
I’ve realized too, the older I get, that people are weird. You really must advocate for yourself and your body. There really are people so self-absorbed and miserable in the health field that do no deserve to be there. They give sub-par treatment despite it being YOUR worst moments. I want to be somewhat prepared for it all!
Should you find a minute, to pay your respects to a queen!
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I wish more people would decline to give parenting advice. The stigma around the very presence of children is so telling! We see the annoyed looks on your faces and that twisted smile. There is nothing wrong with saying, ‘I can’t say because I’m not sure myself’. Saying, ‘my situation is a bit different’ is acceptable too. It’s perfectly fine to just keep quiet as well. It just gnaws at me when people who do not celebrate their children tell others not to have any. It physically pains me when people say ‘they ruin your life’. No, you ruined your own life with your choices and is now inflicting this irresponsibility on an innocent being. Do not tell people to not have kids because you don’t want any. Don’t speak against children knowing you want them but just haven’t found the right ‘situation’. I completely understand times where children are born into situations that end up changing. As a product of a single parent home, I know it’s extremely hard. Hats off to all of you! I’m referring to those who were told their partner doesn’t want children, lays bare to procreate then find themselves in a ‘rut’. I’m speaking to those who birthed a child out of a convenient relationship and is miserable with being grounded. Do not fix your mouth to tell people children are a nightmare, when you couldn’t control yourself long enough to use protection. I’m also referring to those who have multiple children, inflict all sorts of abuse on them and have the nerve to say they ‘messed up’.When I was pregnant and about to go off on mat leave, I had lunch with my manager and he blatantly told me he has no advice for me. I made a face naturally and he laughed and said seriously, ‘I’ have no advice for ‘YOU’. Of course, I called out his unfairness because he had recently become a father and could have imparted so much knowledge on me knowing what ‘this thing’ is going to be like. He was quite bemused with my pressing, as his statement was simple. Simple, but weighted. The only other thing he said was that I should do what’s best for my child and don’t listen to anyone. I shot him another side eye as his mother was a prominent figure in his child’s life. I let him have that one, as much as I wanted to know more.
When we had our son and came to grips with PARENTING a child, not babysitting or tolerating one, I got it. When I went back to work, we had lunch again. He was smiling from ear to ear and so was I this time. We talked about the antiquated ways of child-rearing and all that I had escaped by doing things our way. I trusted him and would have listened to his advice; this stranger to MY child. We learned about our child and we cared for and led him with our choices. Everyone was happy. When I told my cousin I hadn’t read any books she was in a rage and sent me title after title of all the popular stuff; we politely declined. Months later when I attempted to find a solution with a popular site I felt like the one thing I was looking for wasn’t there. The one word to connect my issues to a solution wasn’t there. Why? Nothing in parenting is cookie cut; it’s ever-changing. Every time I had posted my issues on mommy boards on Facebook, I was rewarded with comments filled with nuggets of gold. All ending with ‘THAT’S what worked for US’, MAYBE it will for you. A small side-eye there as I thought if it worked it worked, what’s the deal? The more we dealt with and overcame, the more I got it. How can someone else tell you what will work for you or your child when they have never met the child? When they are born, you the parent don’t know their ways and cannot bend them to follow someone else’s routine. In a room with 10 people, 10 of them will be different; kids are exactly the same. Here’s another thought, in a room with 10 people, 10 of them will be from a different situation. Same. There are no super parents and it is perfectly ok to hate being a parent. Be honest about your experience though. Decline to offer advice when you know your ‘situation’ comes with circumstances! Don’t tell people to not have kids when you have 4 with 4 partners and consider time with any of your children as babysitting. Do not have children with someone who does not want any and blame them for a failed relationship. For the love of God kids will not save your relationship, but pit you against each other and teach your children horrible relationships are acceptable. Finally, a single parent experience may seem to be 10 times worse than a 2 parent household, but unless both parents are involved, its one and the same!
I like to write about the things no one tells you about when you’re about to enter ‘baby world’. Yesterday I had a conversation with my cousin and we spoke about dealing with family issues when you’ve just had a child and how you have to ‘mind’ yourself. It was so refreshing to hear this come from someone I didn’t quite expect. I always thought my cousin was a bit weird, so to hear her speak about connecting to yourself and seeing about caring for yourself and a child in the midst of contention between family; it really pleased me. I am not close to my mother and have not spoken to her in over 5 years. My cousin became the black sheep when she got pregnant out of wedlock because she had an extremely devoted religious mother. I purposely set that precedence because we can all connect with the characteristics of religious people. Now, having a child is a very traumatic experience and in some cases a tragedy. Having no one to lean on when going through this event will harden you for life. You will be scarred and left empty. You will be resentful and dubious about everything you’re doing with your life. I can tell you that all you need to do for the sake of that innocent child is to mind your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical health. Every second of your day should be given to your child and you. You will need to concede and decide that this is your time and nothing or no one deserves to plaster my child’s life with any negativity. I cannot begin to even explain how much help is needed when you become a parent. There are no words to describe the cluster fuck of emotions and moments that you will go through in a very short time and you cannot ever not deal. There are no vacations or days off, this is a 24 hour ongoing job that you must do yourself, completely. Every second that you ‘donate’ to dealing with bullshit in your life, is a second your child has lost. This is a very expensive charge and you cannot lose a dime or else you will miss out on so much with your child. You cannot give anyone not being positive and contributing to your life a single second. Entertaining drama, arguments and fights with someone who has nothing but discord in their heart for you is so toxic. Hold on to your mental health, free mind and clarity with a tight grip. I had my own squabbles with other members of my family when my son was born, absolutely no one came around. This was however my decision but it was not hers; we both had the same approach. This just goes to show that there is no other way. We became a solid rock of 3, no one else and we loved how close knit we are all growing to be. Plus, I could afford to never once make a fit about it because we knew our child was worth so much more. We were already so deadbeat, every time we had, had to be his. We became hermits; we became secluded and closed off and cold to some. People looking in never saw anything but a smiling happy baby. We taught our child happiness, joy, laughter and love before he was ever exposed to any kind of sadness. Some aren’t that lucky, and even entertain ideas that they made a mistake keeping and having their child. This is very easy to say and should be banished from all thought. A child is never a mistake, or an unfortunate event. Look at your child and promise them all of you, build a circle of positive ongoing support and eliminate all pressures. Do nothing more than savor, enjoy and revel as much as you can about being the best honest mother you can be. ‘Mind yourself’
This father’s day compelled me to write, even though it isn’t my day. I am so filled with love today. So enamored by the wonderful examples of fathers I keep around me and my family. There is so much fucking respect given to so many young men I know that are there, doing the most and just being overly obnoxious because they are just so damn proud of their kids. I learned a long time ago to let a man be a man, and when fatherhood became a part of our life ‘work’, I did step back and let my husband be a dad. There were many times my heart leaped in my throat and I wanted to blast him off to the nether regions, but I held my tongue and let him be. Well, my, how he has blossomed. He is a full-fledged hands on dad and I am so grateful for him. My son has taught him so much about being unselfish and patience and about the importance of time and spending it wisely that I marvel at the man I married even more.
There have been so many events,
invitations extended, plans made and opportunities to engage in treachery and every time, he chose his family. Often touting, if his son cannot be present he will not go anywhere! I have taken some of his free passes for myself when I needed a breather.
It felt so good to wake up beside both boys today and the face he made when I presented him with a home-made gift of our sons footprints and his scribbles, told me he was in love. The thought of being someone’s father comes easily, the action quite fool-proof but the reality and magnitude of the task, once acted on is definitely merits an applause. I salute my husband today, and all the good fathers out there.
I wish so many a Happy Father’s Day knowing personally their positions in their children’s lives. Knowing personally how great it would have been to have a father growing up. Knowing personally how much I’ve worked on myself to not come in the way and to ensure that my son will know a fathers love. I have, sat by the window waiting for a man that never came, wanting so much to be accepted as a good child by my father. He has, been heartbroken and left confused, wondering why he was responsible for his own fathers shortfalls. Yet, despite the past, here we are, thriving. I am so thrilled that my son will never wait for his own father to choose him and be there because he, without question, my husband lives for this beautiful light in our lives. Thank you, we love you. A very happy Father’s day to you ‘Am’!
I recently completed research for an Ethics course and had selected the Nestle Infant Formula Scandal as my case. This is the brand of formula we use for my son and I had my own nightmares dealing with hospital staff regarding breastfeeding and formula. Still, as I read on, it boggled my mind how many people are so sure to blast the company for so much. Yes, their marketing and promotional tactics were wrong. Yes they deserve a lot of the beatings they are receiving. Yes, they were highly unethical in the way represented themselves to new mothers. Yes, they should not have done it and yes, they are a multi-billion dollar company and didn’t need to. Finally, yes, I know that infants died because of their actions. However they are the only ones being made an example, when there are other companies that were doing the same thing! Also, and to be fair, making bottles with unsterilized water and bottles is what made the infants get sick. No, I am not on their side. I am on the infants side!
Let me ask you this though, what did your parents, parents, parents, parents feed their children? Breastmilk, right? Why didn’t a lot of these mothers make this call for their infants? What was traditional was free. Why didn’t doctors, health care officials and advocates stand up to Nestle shameless plugs. Why were they allowed to run rampant in hospitals? Even that, you’ve just given birth and a sales representative is in your face touting formula. Where was the support from the healthcare officials, from family, you know those who have been there and done that. Where were the breastfeeding pushers and thumb raisers? In all my research advocate groups raised up after the fact. As much as they were told about formula, given samples and support for using the product, there could have been the same diligence made to ensure the need to breastfeed trumped the decision to use formula. I kept reading waiting to hear who stepped in first and there is limited information on who did. Why aren’t advocates given any praise for their work in breastfeeding? Who is advocating? This outcry started in the 70s with a request to boycott the company. Why did it need to hit the media for change to happen? Why wasn’t it that advocates challenging Nestle and overruled their dominance was what was reported? Who stood for these mothers and worked for them? We are being asked to stand against the company, but who stood for the babies?
There is one doctor in India who is celebrated because he did not give in to formula companies. The outcry is because those affected by the effects of poor bottling were from developing countries. Now, who has more natural herbal remedies than developing countries? I understand that some women who were malnourished themselves, those who had issues (it was reported that at least 1% of women cannot breast feed) and those who were caregivers needed formula. Now don’t get me wrong, formula is an amazing product, it saved our lives. The issue I am having is with those who couldn’t afford it that were using it when they could breastfeed. Why was formula an option for these infants? Breastfeeding is an emotional, personal choice, but it becomes second nature when your infant constantly gets ill and formula is to blame. I just don’t understand why wasn’t formula taboo in some of these cases/regions/countries wasn’t. In my own breast feeding struggles, a friend of mine constantly told me of a bush her grandmother said I could use but we couldn’t get the bush here. Women who lived off the land had resources, nature is our best medicine! I am just one example, but I imagine there were traditional medicines that could have assisted those who needed to breastfeed more.
Now, urbanization and the need to go back to work and leave your baby is a case I understand. I would have loved to hear or have read that women were doing both breast feeding and formula feeding their infants. I just find it hard to accept that these mothers didn’t give their children a chance and that they willingly gave up their natural rights. I have had my struggles with breastfeeding and infant formula, but I never once chose one over the other. I don’t understand, but who was there to tell those mothers ’You better put that child on the tit!’? Maybe I’m crazy, but how can you feast on sugar then blame sugar companies when you get diabetes?
A FAIR version of this issue can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/06/magazine/the-controversy-over-infant-formula.html?pagewanted=all