Unexpectedly, my epidural post got a lot of reaction. I mean, I should have expected it, but I didn't because I am not really giving anyone advice here - it is not my intention. I repeat: NOT MY INTENTION. Rather, I am chronicling my motherhood journey and trying to be hilarious at the same time, which isn't as easy as it looks. *wipes imaginary dust off shoulder*
Without fully realizing it, this blog is also about taking down - dismantling if you will - some of the sacred cows of pregnancy, birth and motherhood. I need to do this for my sanity. But it isn't always easy or clean or tidy. I'm in the weeds with other moms, specifically other postpartum moms, and I am no expert. I'm just surviving like the rest of you.
There is essentially a trifecta of sacred cows in contemporary mommying: The natural birth experience, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting which, by the way, hovers on some bizarre version of becoming one with your child (read: do everything for them) so that they get into a good university (probably because you called the dean and demanded a spot for your child). I'm joking. Mostly.
BEFORE I had Aya - ah, that mystical time when I knew everything - I subscribed to these three tenents of parenting like I INVENTED them. I longed to breastfeed and have a beautiful, natural labour, I physically wore Aya every day of her young life so that she would feel safe, connected, firmly attached to me and her new world. I believe in these things. I truly do. But by and large the practice of these things, and the ideologies that support them are, in a word, totally fucked. They deny the experience of the mother for the sake of the child and they are inflexible when propounded by those who do not respect that every woman's journey is different. So. Very. Different. It is the bastardization of this trifecta that I rail against rather than truly believing that anyone would read my blog and be like, "She is SO right - I will opt for the epidural! Or wait, the heroin sounds like the better option! I'll take one of those please!"
In a way, this blog is about grieving my experiences, or the experiences lost, in my early motherhood journey. Birth is not supposed to involve grief but there you have it. I don't have all the answers nor do I have it all together. Instead, I am expressing, in the best way I know how, my pain and grief for the loss of things that didn't go "perfectly" for me during my motherhood journey and that still don't, cause I'm human.
So the feedback from the epidural post included the idea that telling women to skip the natural way could be both disempowering and damaging to women. There is profound truth in this. But when I told that person that the advice was really more for me, to make sense of my journey, she reflected an important truth: That I am being to hard on the woman who went into her birth experience, armed with the best possible knowledge, and optimistic about the outcome. That she would not talk to that woman (of course, me) the way that I was talking to myself and of course, she is so so right.
Part of this journey might be forgiving myself for the fact that I could not control every outcome and for buying into the perfect mother ideal which is really just a sham.
So I'm sorry, pregnant and suffering Jackie, that I have been so hard on you. I'll do better. Promise.
Oh, and also, sorry I didn't know that you'd need illict drugs for the birth of your baby.