Mama is a Badass and It’s Not Up For Debate

“We all live in suspense from day to day … In other words, you are the hero of your own story.”  
~ Mary McCarthy

The older I get, the less I care what people think.

At the same time, the happier I get, and the more I realize I have yet to learn. Being a mama has taught me so much about humility, about love, about giving-no-fucks. My heroes are nothing like me. We’re all weird. We all make mistakes. We’re all fucking strong.

Before I gave birth myself, there was a time when I thought everyone should have an unmedicated childbirth, and that most people could. I really did. My hero was a home birth midwife. She taught me that with love, support and autonomy women can give birth the way they’re supposed to.

I gave birth to my daughter, on my living room floor, without so much as a Tylenol. Two weeks afterwards I called a friend. She’s an amazing woman — a role model, a midwife, and a mother to two boys, both born by C-Section. I confessed to her that even though I had achieved my dream — an unmedicated labor and birth of a healthy baby at home — I felt very traumatized by the experience. “You know what having a homebirth taught me?” I told her. “It doesn’t even matter how the baby is born!”

It took a couple of weeks before the physical shock of the experience wore off for me. Birth was nothing like I expected. It was hard, and scary, and painful. I was not moaning “om” while my husband caressed me and we made out between “rushes”. I screamed and yelled like I was having one of my limbs amputated.

{image by Goosecamp}

Almost three months ago my best friend gave birth. Her birth story is hers to tell (don’t miss it — it’s awesome). Her choices have absolutely nothing to do with me. Yet the experience of witnessing her become a mom has taught me more than I ever expected it would.

We talked constantly during the pregnancy. It literally felt like the longest pregnancy on the face of the Earth (for her of course more than for me.) Supporting her the way she needed me to was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. She didn’t need me to tell her what to do. She didn’t need me to tell her what was right for me (I tried once and learned better very quickly!) She just needed me to love her, listen to her, and let her figure out what was right for her. Though our paths and choices are different in every possible way, her mad skills amaze me. She’s an incredible mom.

  {image by Goosecamp}

In the end, the homebirth midwife was right — with love, support and autonomy women can give birth the way they’re supposed to.  But not the way I once thought.

We’re all so different. A woman might have her baby in the comfort of her living room, or she might think her anesthesiologist is one of the greatest men walking the face of the earth. She might breastfeed for three years, or she might enjoy telling a middle-aged lactation consultant to keep her candy to herself. Whatever she decides to do, it doesn’t really matter. She’s the only one who knows what she needs, and she’s the only one who needs to be right.

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