I once said, ‘I will never be THAT mom’

stressed mom

This is me in the morning…
minus two of the kids!

When I look back years ago, I realize now, that I had what I call a ‘new mom complex’. Not all new moms have this… but I definitely did. I looked at many moms around me and thought, ‘I will never become like that’. I really believed at the time that I would be the exact same mother in five years time as I was at that very moment. I would always take my nail polish off when it chipped. My eyebrows would never be unkept, let alone look like the amazon had taken over my face. I would never leave the house without looking like I was managing just fine, even if it meant being confined inside my home for days. And then something happened. I evolved. Little by little, I adjusted my behaviour and routine to make life easier and more manageable. And naturally, as the demands of motherhood took their toll and I focused more on my kids than myself… I became the poster child for MOMvolution.

What is MOMvolution you ask? Well… not to get too scientific here or anything, but it all comes down to how we evolve as mothers and eventually just adapt to the demands of motherhood. We’ve all seen that poster of the chimp that slowly evolves into a human right? Now before I get all kinds of emails about ‘The Theory of Evolution’, I am just making a comparison… not opening a debate on that argument. I’m simply saying that as a mom, I can tell you that I have definitely evolved over time, and if I had to make a poster of myself… well, I’m pretty sure that many of you would relate and probably have a good old chuckle at the same time.

I remember when I first moved into our neighbourhood and I had just given birth to my first child. There was this family that lived across the street that I always used to shake my head at. Their lawn constantly had toys and bikes all over the place, and their son was ALWAYS out front playing by himself. As I sat at my front window, cuddling my quiet happy newborn, I couldn’t help but notice that the mother of this child would come out in her housecoat all the time and often walked her son to the bus stop braless and in her pyjamas. ‘Seriously?’ I used to think, ‘I will never catch myself doing that. I will never be THAT mom’.

Well, as many of us know, there is a big difference from having one child to having two or three and so on. As we become responsible for more children, naturally there are less resources to go around and our time and finances become strained. When I had my second child, everything changed for some of these exact reasons. My daughter was never settled and had the power to terrorize our entire family with blood curdling screams for hours on end. I love her dearly, but wow did she ever turn our household upside down. With a toddler and a newborn I became very worn out and this is when I started to adapt to my environment. I no longer had to worry about my nails being chipped… because I never had a moment to do them in the first place. With our funds limited, things like getting my hair done and eyebrows waxed went out the window. Before I knew it I was wandering around the mall shopping for holiday gifts with fuzzy unkept hair, one eyebrow plucked, and marker stained fingers (Crayola lied when they said that crap was washable!). But I was still dressed nicely… and definitely wearing a bra.

Things changed once again in our household when I went back to work. Although I was only working part time, it seemed that managing our schedules and keeping up with chores was just not happening. Before I knew it, I was so exhausted that the first thing I would do when I got home was put on my comfy elastic waist pyjama pants and try to spend a few hours with the kids before bedtime. Suddenly when I would go out for a special occasion, everyone would comment how great I looked. It’s only now that I realize that I was getting many compliments because people were so used to me look tired and dishevelled.

And once more I adapted to the constant changing demands of motherhood when my oldest son started school. I would now have to be up early even on my few days off to get him ready for school and to the bus. Even on the weekends the kids were up at the crack of dawn demanding to play out in the front yard. This is when the final adaptation occurred. Just the other day I found myself out on my front yard picking up all kinds of kids toys and bikes in nothing other than my housecoat. It wasn’t even a nice housecoat… it was an awful horribly stained well seasoned ‘mom robe’. Oh… it gets better. With James in school now, I found myself rushing him to the bus stop in my lounge pants, a t-shirt… and I can’t believe I am saying this…. ‘braless’. Yup… it’s official, I’ve become a prime example of the theory of MOMvolution.
The best part of evolving and adapting as a mother is that if we are lucky we recognize our mistakes and in turn become more kind and understanding people. I know that the more I evolve as a mother, the less judgmental I get. As a new mom I clearly judged other mothers who had perhaps forgot how important it was to… well… at least put a bra on when they left the house. Now, I know how easy it is to lose ourselves in motherhood when we are constantly adapting to all the responsibilities that are on our shoulders. I just hope that perhaps the person making the poster for exactly what happens to us moms overtime, is kind enough to draw me with a bra on!!

An exciting day on the radio!

So today was a typical morning in our house. Everyone was full of energy at the crack of dawn, with the exception of me of course. I mean I was up… just not full of energy. After rushing to make an appointment on time and then returning home to children anxious for me to take them to the park, I was lucky enough to catch a segment on the radio about moms judging other moms. As I listened the story sounded way too familiar. It was about a mom who was being judged for going on a ten day vacation without her kids. I sent a quick email to the radio host, the entertaining Lynn Martin, and followed up by calling the show. Within minutes I was on the show talking about the Tell Another Mom site and the mission. I shared my story about once judging another mom for going on vacation, and what I realized once I finally was able to go on my own childless trip. Here is the link to the podcast as well as the blog post about judging another mom who went on vacation.

http://www.am800cklw.com/thelynnmartinshow.php?id=1  (it’s the second podcast titled ‘Motherhood Guilt’)

http://www.tellanothermom.com/2013/04/26/jealousy-judgment-and-everything-in-between/ (the post about judging moms who go on vacation without their kids!!)

Don’t Worry Mom… I’ll be fine.

james_school

Last year’s first day of school!

I used to wonder where James, my five year old, got his anxiety from. I’ve never considered myself an ‘anxious’ person, but as I write about my feelings and experiences, I’m starting to wonder if he perhaps is the ‘apple’ that falls close to the ‘tree’. I wanted to write something today for all the moms who have just gone through sending their young children back for another school year. I had every intention of writing all kinds of helpful advice and about how important it is that we as moms cut each other some slack. But here I am… feeling crippled with worries and anxieties about my son heading off to school. So, maybe this post is for all the moms out there who, like me, worry aimlessly throughout the days during those first weeks back at school.

I remember last year’s first day of school. I was completely unprepared. We had been on vacation and I somehow had forgotten the importance of the ‘first day of school outfit’. Seriously, what kind of mother forgets to get their kid a new outfit for the first day of school? Apparently I did. I drove all over the city looking for a 24 hour walmart that had a few t-shirts and jeans left on the racks. This year, I have my bases covered. I’ve bought a few new pairs of pants and a super cool shirt that says ‘dude’. For whatever reason, my kids think it’s hilarious to call each other ‘dudes’ right now, so it seemed too perfect when I found this shirt. Even with his new outfit all picked out and ready to go, I worry. I worry that some bratty kid is going to make fun of my son for what he is wearing or not wearing for that matter. What if he’s the only kid without a brand new pair of sneakers? His pair from last year still fits and it seems a bit silly to buy a new pair just because. But yet here I am sitting and worrying about it.

Last year we spent the whole school year battling James’s fear of the ‘school bus’. Finally, in May, he decided he was ready to ride the bus. Even though this is a hurdle we’ve already crossed, I sit here and panic about whether or not it will be the same bus driver. What if they’re not as nice? What happens if James forgets where to go when he gets off the bus? Will he remember to grab his backpack? With all of these things completely out of my control, I can’t help but worry about my little guy. I’ve equipped him with everything he needs to know and all the skills to help him with even the unexpected situations, yet still I feel that gut wrenching anxiety that makes me want to tail the bus all the way to the school in the morning.

I look back on James’s junior kindergarten year and despite having an amazing experience, I still remember the few negative things that happened. I can still picture the look on his face when we dropped him off into the chaos of the playground with hundreds of other parents in the morning. I know the exact words that came out of his mouth when he was bullied for the first time. I remember when he was disappointed about missing field trips because he was just too sick to send to school. It’s funny how easy it is to focus on all the things that have caused us stress, even when all of the good experiences are far too many to count.

So today I write this post for all the moms out there who are like me… who will worry all day long while their child has an amazing first day at school. This is for the mothers who will lose sleep over protecting their children from all the negative things that are bound to happen but will be forgotten in an instant. And finally, this for the moms that feel like maybe they haven’t done the best job preparing for the first day of school. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much time, energy and love you put into making your child’s first day of school a good one… there will still be unexpected road bumps to remember. The important thing is that we remind ourselves and each other that we’re good moms, doing the best we can… even if it does mean we tail the school bus for just a few days.

Trying to relax… while on vacation

mission_shirtSo I am trying really hard to relax while up at my parents cottage. With my new shirts coming in the day before I left and emails never-ending, it is easier said than done.

I obviously had to bring up some of my new shirts only because I was so excited to try one on. Naturally, I have worn it every chance I get. I am actually typing this as we speak on my iPhone because I had to share this little story.

me_jojoToday we took the kids up the road to a park on another lake. We got the kids ice cream. James of course dropped his in the sand. As I go up a ridiculously steep hill to get him another I hear Jocelyn screaming. She is in slow motion being launched off some awful tilt a whirl wannabe playground equipment. I yell at hubby to help. These two kind women rush to his rescue and I hurry to get the ice cream and get back down. I can tell from the cry that she is not seriously injured.

As I’m coming down all I can think is how these moms probably think I am some terrible mother who left my child to get ice cream. They look at me and say, ‘hey, you’re a good mom. Great shirt.’ This was my first time out in public wearing it. It felt amazing. I can’t wait for other moms to have the same experience. I couldn’t help but share…even if it means cheating on my vacation just a little.

The War of Wills

KimberleyNixonKim is a working mom of a 1 year old and a 50% baked baby (24 weeks pregnant). That’s right, she’s insanely going for 2 under 2. She’s become pretty passionate about the benefits of yoga, especially for prenatal / postnatal women. She started Om Mom Yoga to help moms carve out time for themselves. All classes are delivered privately, and via Skype. You can check it out here: www.ommomyoga.com. She blogs occasionally about the various kid-induced stressors that lead her straight to yoga class (or a drink, when she’s not pregnant) and the need for every mom to take a #omMOMent.

I am tired today. Not normal parent tired. Today, I am bone tired. Closed my eyes when my kid crawled over to my side of the bed, tired. Thought about sleeping at the steering wheel of my car tired. Heavy eyelids at noon, tired. Last night or more precisely, early this  morning at 3:21 am, my 12.5 month old son decided to have his first tantrum. My pediatrician told me that this would happen. He said when they (the time snatchers / aka children) turn one, they discover free will and they may do things like refuse to eat a meal. He did not speak of pre-dawn melt downs over cups of water.

A recap. My son woke at midnight, and we were too tired to rock him back to sleep, so we put him in bed with us. He slept fitfully until 3:15, changing positions every 20 minutes. Around 2:45 he started coughing. He’d wriggle around, switch positions and then in another 10 or 15 minutes start coughing again. At 3:15, I gave him my water from my water cup that sits on my nightstand. It sits in an orange plastic cup with a lid and a plastic straw, and he loves to drink out of grown people straws. So he drank to his heart’s content and then began playing with the straw. He then tried to lay down with the cup and straw. He refused to put the cup down. I wasn’t about to let him turn the cup on the side and leak water into the bed, or poke me or him in the eye with a wayward straw. Little did I know, this meant war.

orangecup

The orange cup that started the whole temper tantrum.

He cried mercilessly when I took the cup away. Nothing would console him, we rocked him, we rubbed his back, we put him back in his crib. We took him back out of the crib. We spoke to him in loving tones, we shhhsh’d him (is that a word?),  spoke to him stern tones, sang to him, changed his diaper, and through it all he wailed, he rolled around, he kicked his legs , he raised his tiny tyrannical arm in the direction of my cup to make sure we knew what he was after. Every chance he got he would raise up onto sleepy, wobbly legs – grasping my shoulder, or standing on my neck or pressing down on my chest for support to reach as far as he could to get to the orange cup. By4:27 he was exhausted. He had given in. He collapsed back into fitful sleep, a sweaty, snotty, tear streaked mess – crying and whimpering as he drifted to sleep. Or at least that’s my guess. I’m not really sure, because as soon as he stopped kicking me in my pregnant belly, I went back to sleep.

When I woke in the morning (really, just 2 hours later), I realized that I had just experienced my first tantrum. As, I replay the event again in my head, I have some questions.

1. If Fisher Price is making “My First…” toys, where’s the adult beverage company that’s making parenting firsts cocktails? I would buy every mom I know a my first tantrum, or a my first night letting baby “Cry-It-Out” – bottle of wine. I think I might just have to do it myself.

 2. Are tantrums always this unpredictable? I assumed that a mom knew when a tantrum was on its way: when she refuses to buy the cookie at the grocery store, or when she takes away a toy, she does so with full knowledge of the consequences. Am I wrong?  My first tantrum was totally unexpected. After all it’s not the first time I’ve let him drink from my water cup in bed, and in general, if I take something away from my son, I can redirect his attention to avoid prolonged shrieking. Clearly, that’s a bit more difficult at 3 in the morning. My arsenal is low, I had no noise making toys on hand and I was too tired to think about playing itsy bitsy spider.

3. Am I always going to hold steadfast? I’m pretty stubborn and stuck in my ways, so I’m not really shocked that my son has inherited this trait. But can I truly avoid caving in every time he has a fit? If I say “no” and then change my mind when he cries, I feel like I’m teaching him to cry longer and press down on my chest harder until he gets his way. I’ve watched way too many Nanny 911s,  and I don’t want my baby to turn into the 2 year old that masterfully uses tantrums to get his way – but I can’t imagine my will is always going to be this strong. This is my first tantrum and I’m already worse for the wear.

I won the battle, but not the war. I was unprepared for this test of wills, and I won at the expense of sheer exhaustion. And now I’m so consumed by it, that I’m writing to you all about it. Meanwhile, he “lost” the battle, and woke up this morning happy as a lamb, and will very likely take two beautifully restful naps today to make up for any lost sleep. Maybe I didn’t win after all!

To all of you veteran moms that have been fighting the war of wills for a while, my hat’s off to you. It is clear to me now there is no right or wrong answer to dealing with a tantrum. There’s no single, consistent way to solve the issue, and sadly no adult beverage dedicated to this occasion. But there is the happy aftermath. That blissfully calm time when you can see your child in a happy light again, and when you feel vindicated in your effort to instill a sense discipline – that is until tantrum #2.

 

We can’t fight our kid’s battles for them

kids bully

photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie via photopin cc

The other day I found myself firing comebacks and smart responses during a very heated debate. Normally I would have been quite proud of myself for being so quick on my toes and having such clever responses… this time though was different. This time when I had clearly gotten my point across, I felt completely ridiculous since I was arguing with no other than a six year old.  I had been sitting quietly trying to mind my own business while I listened to a conversation between my son and his friend from school that he had invited over. The little boy continued to pick on James until I finally stepped in and ended up having a battle of the wits with a snotty little nose picking six year old. I would have felt really bad, except that this kid was totally unphased by it all and went right back to picking on my son. The thing that really gets me about all of this, is that no matter how many times this ‘so-called’ friend  tells my son that pretty much everything he says or does totally sucks… James continues to absolutely love this kid. It drives me crazy.

So after I learned my valuable lesson of  how it’s never a good idea to argue with my child’s six year old friends, I had a similar experience with my daughter Jocelyn. We recently went camping at a KOA in Michigan that was full of fun stuff for the kids to do. It was awesome. Jocelyn decided that she wanted to go and play at the little park up the road, so I walked over with her and sat on the bench while she went and played. Within seconds I overheard some older girls being mean to her. What is it with kids these days? Was there some kind of ‘how to be a bully’ workshop I was unaware of? Jocelyn climbed up onto the equipment and yelled down to the girls, ‘Anyone want to come on the spaceship?’. Adorable right? WRONG. These little brats looked up at her and replied, ‘Umm. No. We don’t want to play with you.’ And then they walked away while they laughed at my daughter. I seriously was going to blow a gasket, but having regretted my previous smackdown with my son’s friend, I decided to stay silent. Jocelyn came running over and quietly mumbled that she didn’t want to play anymore and asked to go back to the campsite. My heart broke for her.

Later on that night we had heard that they were having a little dance party for the kids at the campground with a DJ at the main pavilion. Naturally, my kids were super pumped to go. Jocelyn demanded that I find her a dress and do her makeup. Right… because I always pack dresses and makeup for camping trips. I managed to find a little sun dress in the closet and a butterfly necklace in a junk drawer. We were ready to dance our hearts out.

When we got to the dance party my kids went crazy… in a good way. They were dancing up a storm, and had a wonderful time. After a few songs, Jocelyn kept inching her way over to the middle of the dance floor. I couldn’t figure out why she was so obsessed with going over there. I suddenly realized that she saw the girls from the park that had been mean to her. Right away I was frustrated. I assumed, that like James, she wanted to continue to play with kids that were mean to her. As I stepped back and watched I was shocked at what unfolded. Jocelyn rushed the dance floor as her favorite Katy Perry song came on, busted out some hard core serious moves right where these little girls were dancing, looked them right in the eyes, flipped her hair and then walked off with more attitude than a sixteen year old. My three year old managed to relay ‘Take that bitches’ without saying anything at all. Unbelievable.

This story is for all the moms out there who are beyond frustrated with their child being bullied. No matter how bad you want to, you’ll never be able to win your child’s battles for them. You can try all you want and fight tooth and nail, but sooner or later they will have to learn how to stick up for themselves. Now that may be easier said than done, I know. I don’t know if James will ever stick up for himself like Jocelyn does, but what I do know is that I can’t fight his battles for him. I can certainly go to battle with him, but at the end of the day our children can only learn to stand up for themselves if we let them. To all you moms out there who are fighting the battle against bullying… you’re doing a great job, even if you have argued with a grade schooler on occasion.

Wear it. Gift it. Share the Tell Another Mom Mission!

Mom_Shirt

I’m so excited to share with everyone that there are now shirts that you can buy for both yourself and other moms to support the Tell Another Mom Mission! I’ll never forget the first time another mom looked at me and said, ‘You’re a good mom.’ It was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. Do you know another mom who is struggling? The ‘I’m a good mom’ shirt is the perfect gift to let them know that you think they are doing a great job. Being a mom is hard work and it’s so important that we support one another and share kind words of inspiration with one another. If you know a ‘Mom-to-be’, why not let them know that you think they are already a great mom by sending them a shirt as a shower gift. Let’s replace judgment with kindness, and share the mission with all the moms in our lives.

Have you ever judged another mom? I have, many times, and that is part of the reason why I started this site. And after just a short time, the blog that I used to vent frustrations and struggles became a community of amazing mothers willing to be honest and support one another. The ‘I’ve joined the Mission’ shirt is a perfect way to let everyone know that you’ve decided to stop judging other moms, and instead offer the support and kindness that we all deserve. I’m so overwhelmed with how many moms have be involved with the Tell Another Mom site, and I’m so excited to have a new way to spread the mission.

Pre-order your shirts today! They will be ready to ship the beginning of September. With one shirt at a time we can start spreading the Tell Another Mom mission worldwide. Thanks to all the moms who have made this possible. I hope you will send me pictures with you in your shirts so that I can see the amazing women who have made this all possible!

Food For Thought – Not Judgment

AllsionJorgens

Allison is the proud mama of 2 boys, a Professional Home Economist and writer living in Toronto. She blogs about her journey to sneaking the foods her kids won’t eat into the ones they will at www.onesneakymommy.com, and is the author of the book ‘Read It with a Grain of Salt – The Truth about Canadian Food Labels from an Industry Insider’. 

 

Feeding our children seems like a simple task. TV commercials and food company advertisements make it seem easy. There are aisle upon aisle of prepackaged food options in our grocery stores to make our lives easier, and yet since the moment my children started eating solid food it has been the single most difficult task for me to undertake.

I’m not sure if it’s my background in food and nutrition that has manifested a borderline obsessive relationship between myself and the food I feed my children, but I can’t seem to shake the guilt I feel when I’m so tired I have to bring out the KD.

I’m a stay-at-home mom and have the luxury of grocery shopping on weekdays. I can cook during nap times or with my children during the day. Add to that the complexity of working nine to five and I’m not sure what I would do.

I feel like I am constantly being judged for what I feed my children. Snide comments from friends and family, judgmental looks at mommy groups, glances into my grocery cart from other moms at the store. Maybe it’s all in my head, maybe it isn’t, either way I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this one.

It’s time that we all take a step back and stop worrying about what other moms are feeding their children and just focus on what we are feeding our own children. We all do the best that we can for our families. Not every family can afford to buy organic food from the local farm, not every family has a yard where they can grow their own fruits and vegetables, not every family has the time it takes to cook meals from scratch.

You know what your children will eat and what they won’t. My three year old eats anything and everything and my two year old survives on pasta and bread. They both love Goldfish crackers and I don’t deprive them of ‘treats’. People passing judgment don’t feed your children everyday, they don’t have to deal with their picky finicky eating habits, and they definitely don’t have to wipe the food they think they should be eating off the floor when they spit it out.

This past weekend I felt like I needed to hear that I was doing a good job, that my hard work and dedication to preparing wholesome food for my family was appreciated. One snarky comment caused me to lose almost a full night of sleep – which makes for one cranky mommy the next day.

Perhaps you also need to hear that you are doing a great job – that you are a good mom. So here’s some food for thought…Feeding your family the food you can afford, that you know how to prepare, that you feel is the best option, and that your family enjoys eating means that you are doing a great job.  You are a good mom!

My Love/Hate Relationship with DIY

DIY_failed

Jocelyn’s room unfinished. Notice the colour swatches that we picked out in November.

I remember when we paid someone to come in and paint our living room and kitchen. It was awesome. In two days our main floor was completely revamped. All the prep work, messiness and threatening to divorce one another was completely avoided. I was so happy with our new freshly painted living space. And then came the criticsm. To my surprise I received so many negative comments about us paying someone to do a simple task like painting our living space. You would have thought that I had dipped into my children’s college fund and spent all their birthday money to remodel my house. And although the thought has crossed my mind, I clearly have done nothing of the sort.

So feeling like I was the worst mother in the world, and that I clearly was a huge step behind everyone who loves DIY everything… I vowed to paint my daughter’s bedroom myself. It’s been a neutral jungle theme since before James (my five year old) was born, and now I had a grand plan to turn it into an amazing pink and purple award winning designed room. I was going to do stencils and letter blocks of her name… it was going to look like something right off of pintrest.

Being that my husband knows me far too well, he offered his kind advice that this was a project that I couldn’t possibly fit into my schedule. Naturally, I got annoyed and decided to do it anyways. So this was MY project. I was going to do it. It was going to be AMAZING.

I picked out the colours with Jocelyn for her room in November. Yes… I said NOVEMBER. I started to strip the wallpaper border off the walls in February. And here we are… with a room half brown and beige still, with wallpaper remnants all over the floor, a dresser pulled out from the wall, and of course the odd hole still to be filled. It is AUGUST, and I’m nowhere close to having her room painted, let alone stenciling any crap on the walls or drilling wooden letters up. This whole project has taught me many things…

1. DIY projects are great… but only if you have the time to both start and finish them.

2. Only the pictures of the DIY projects that actually turn out get posted to the internet. I’m sure there are a ridiculous number of moms out there that refuse to post pictures of their project having turned into a colossal failure. I for one am one of them.

3. Anyone who tells you that wallpapering is a cute or good idea are perhaps related to satan himself.

4. Again… I should have kept the name of the woman at Toys R’ Us that told me that it was easy to remove the cute jungle wallpaper border she sold me. I could have hunted her down and had her come and remove this god awful wallpaper paste from my walls.

5. Guilt should never inspire us to take on projects we can’t possibly finish without completely losing our minds.
6. Moms who actually post those awesome pictures of finished projects are freaking amazing… unless of course they were the ones critisizing me for paying someone to paint my house.

7. Moms who would rather stab themselves in the eye than have anything to do with DIY projects… are not alone. Perhaps we could start a support group for one another. First meeting will be at my house… bring wallpaper stripper.

So to all the moms out there who have ever been guilted into doing a project they simply knew they could not possibly finish, you’re not alone. The next time you find yourself asking a mom if she’s ever thought of doing a project herself, make sure you are prepared to go over and strip wallpaper off of walls with her. And if you find yourself being guilted into doing anything… stop yourself before it’s too late. Pick up the phone and ask for help… even if it does mean the kids might have a less for their education fund. Just kidding of course.

The Struggles of an Unexpected Birth Experience

This guest post was written by a mom that I know personally and often refer to as ‘hippie mama’. After having unexpected difficulties with her home birth, she’s decided to share her story and support all the moms who may be struggling with their birthing experience.

birth story

photo credit: Adrian Dreßler via photopin cc

“I’m having a home birth” conjures up many responses.

“You’re such a hippie!”

“You’re crazy!”

“What will you do for the pain?”

…and my favourite; “do you know how many things can go wrong?”

These are just a few.  And let me tell you, I’ve heard them all.  And maybe as you’re reading this, you might have your own comment to add to the list. But ultimately I think, a little support goes a long way.

I’ve tried to write this essay multiple times.  I write and write but never seem to come to a point. I want to write about my home birth experience but at the same time, don’t want people to think that my experience was anything close to normal.

It wasn’t.  

I was so excited to have my baby at home.  I had the best cheerleader on my side (my husband), I practiced my mantras in the bath tub for months and knew that pain had nothing on me (honestly, I was a superstar….like really, I should be awarded a gold medal….I’m serious). I laboured at home in my birthing pool for days before I was finally taken to the hospital.  It’s too long of a story but the bottom line is, I had a new midwife, she didn’t have the experience, my baby was breech, tons of signs were missed, yada yada yada…enter into my arms beautiful baby boy. He’s healthy, we’re happy.

Let me say first off that although my husband and I planned to have a homebirth, we knew that whatever was going to happen, was going to happen.  We weren’t keen on staying at home if we couldn’t and knew that going to the hospital was a possibility.  Although I’ve been called a hippie many times in my life, I wasn’t forcing myself to be “one with nature” in this regard.  I just wanted to go with the flow.  Also, let me clarify that I do believe that home births, just like hospital births, can be beautiful, momentous occasions where babies are welcomed into the world healthy and happily.  One way of having a baby is no better than another, and moms are SUPERHEROES no matter how, where, with what aids, and whatever ways that they deliver their babies.  You hear that moms? Whatever you’re doing is amazing and whatever choices you have made for you and your family are good.  I support you.

As all new mothers know, in the beginning, you’re tired.  You’re so tired you don’t think you can go on.  Okay, so imagine being that tired then add two days prior to that, bouncing up and down in a pool trying to get a baby out.  There’s no reason that I should have gone through this but it was a decision we made.  What I do know looking back is that my birthing experience got in the way of my mothering experience.  I was so exhausted and this traumatic event made me question my every action as a new mother.  I thought that I had single-handedly ruined my baby’s first moments of life (he wasn’t breathing for the first minute) as well as made a terrible decision in having a home birth that didn’t make me worthy of being his mother.

I stumbled.  A lot.  I cried.  A lot. Then I cried more.  A lot. I wasn’t sure about anything and found it difficult to put on a smile for visitors. I had trouble with everything I encountered.  My once confident and always positive self became just the opposite.  I could do nothing right.  I was paralyzed with fear and saw “I told you so” in many people’s eyes.

So what’s my point?  To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure I have a one.  But I do know that in life, there are no right or wrong answers.  What feels right for you might not feel right for someone else but everyone deserves to do what they want.  We can only chose if we are going to be judgmental and feel superior or try to understand people, listen to them and just… be… nice.

I have people in my life who listen and understand.  I have great friends.  Some told me way in advance that they thought a home birth was not a choice they would make and some were excited for me.  Whatever the case, I knew that they respected me and would support me no matter what.  When people let us be who we are, we flourish.  When we feel judged, we are afraid to be ourselves and we go along with the crowd leaving our authentic selves behind. We must support each other, help nourish each other, and be honest with each other (okay, now I sound like a real hippie, I know).

So cheers to supportive people in our lives.  Cheers to freedom and making decisions for ourselves.  Cheers to stumbling every once and awhile. Cheers to beautiful babies and all the learning and joy they bring us and cheers to the moms who no matter what the obstacles, can say that they are doing the best they can.  Go take the time to tell a mom that she’s doing a good job.  Sometimes you can’t tell which moms might need it the most.