Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some writing about "nature" and fertility/pregnancy/birth - and the loss of friendships

It has been difficult for me to write for some time. Well, I can write, I just don't feel like my writing is compelling, or interesting, or well thought out. I am not sure if it ever was, but I would like to think so. So instead of trying to stumble through actually "thinking" through a post, I thought I would instead point to a few recent posts by others that do a great job summing up much of what I have been feeling.

G at Makes us Stronger seems to get right to what I am thinking, at the very moment I am thinking it. I think we share a somewhat "salty" look on life, with a vein of skepticism hidden just under the surface of our thick skins. To me, this outlook is not gloomy, just realistic.

G wrote this week:
"I need my husband, but I am shutting out a lot of other people. I was just beginning to let them back in, but now in anger and resentment, I push them away again. I keep thinking, it's ok G, do what you have to to get through this... when you get pregnant, you can let them all back in."
The problem for me is I am pregnant and I still don't want to let anyone back in. Nearly all of the friends the I have placed on involuntary hiatus have had babies in the interim. I am uncomfortable meeting their children, in most cases because their babies are the same age mine should be - it just takes me back to the land of loss. I need to be past that pain, but it always creeps back in. So I stay away. I isolate.

The other reason I have yet to reopen my former friendships is because now that they have all had babies, they want to slather me with advise. But the thing is, my pregnancy will never resemble anything close to theirs. My experience getting pregnant and staying pregnant is so vastly different that their advise feel useless to me. In some ways I even resent their attempts to assimilate. I know it is a cocky attitude, But I just want to be left alone. I am quite capable of finding a doctor, a midwife, a doula, on my own. And when I am in need of advise I have the support of bloggers and MA forum posters who know exactly how I am feeling. I have friends online who know all about the anxiety of an ultrasound, how long a cervix should be and how to prepare me for a cerclage. I know women who can advise me about the statistics and risks specific to my kind of pregnancy. I don't really want advise from someone with a "run-of-the-mill" uterus. Cuz that ain't me.

So in the end, I wonder if my friendships will ever recover, if I will ever let anyone back in. For now, I am keeping up the walls.

The other post I wanted to highlight is by a woman who is a new member to the Mullerian Anomalies Yahoo group that I belong. She shared this post with the group in a moment of thanks for the groups very existence - that she might find support and like minds there. Having once been a new member of the MA group, I know what a relief it is to find out that there are other women just like you.

Anomalies aside, she writes eloquently about her experience of birthing her son, and her earlier preconceptions about "natural" conception, pregnancy and birth. To set up the post, a midwife in training was participating in the discussion with women who all have uterine anomalies. Here is a tidbit, but go over and read it for yourself (the post is titled "Mullerian Anomalies and Me"): (or cut and paste this - www.parents.com/followingelias )
"So this midwife-in-training believed that many of the women in the group had fallen sway to the politics of fear, and given their power over to surgeons as they cut their bellies instead of pushing harder for vaginal births. She spoke in the way I might have once, as a young woman with strong beliefs but not enough experience to know that every choice comes with far more gray than black or white.

Her words opened a crevasse of feelings stuffed beneath the glacial terrain of conception, pregnancy and childbirth--and my fellow group members wrote and wrote and wrote about our realities as women whose dreams for natural childbirth were shattered by the inability to conceive, multiple miscarriages, months in the NICU, and the burial of babies, as the rest of the world goes on as if it wasn’t just turned upside down. As if our hearts weren’t ripped from our chests. As if anything is still natural.

Why are women so quick to judge other women when it comes to conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting? Why do we fall into different camps, pointing fingers, shoving statistics at each other, when it’s obvious there is no right way for a baby to arrive."
So freaking right on! I am not going to be bullied by anyone into a homebirth, or even the use of a midwife over an OB. My uterus is not normal. That I know. Yes, I long for an un-medicated, vaginal birth. And I will do everything in my power to have that experience. But I am not foolish enough to think that I don't need the guidance of western medicine. I won't risk the health of my unborn baby for some foolish idea of what childbirth is "supposed" to be. If there is one thing I learned real fast, it's that everything you thought you knew about pregnancy and childbirth is a load of mythical shit. Some people will have that picture perfect pregnancy and that picture perfect birth. The rest of us will get burned repeatedly and learn to trust that western medicine is not the evil beast we were told.

Everything in moderation.
Everything in moderation.


G said...

Ah fucking men sister. Seriously, I am tired of people ranting about birth and babies and conception and thinking that their view is the only correct view.

Sometimes, you just deal with the cards you are dealt. It's the only choice you have to come through loss, infertility, scary birthing experiences. I wish people could understand things aren't always so black and white instead of laying judgement or handing out the guilt.

We become so isolated when this collective disagreement shit hits the fan. We don't need more isolation - as you and I both know, we have plenty of it already.

And, I always find your writing interesting :) (especially when it mentions me... ha, I kid!)

Christy said...

After my c-section, a fellow teacher who also had two c-sections, though we both desired natural births, shared a thought with me that has held true. Focusing all our energy on the "perfect" birth experience is like putting everything into the wedding and forgetting about the marriage. It is how we parent our kids that matters far more than how they arrive.

Thanks for the link and for sharing your wise thoughts. I just added you to my favorites so I can follow your story.


jenn said...

The perfect pregnancy is a myth- even those with what I would consider a 'perfect' experience have things they fear & complain about. I now I will probably complain about something someone else would die to experience.
I can just hope that I will remember how I feel now & think about that before I start trying to spew advice. Although I have never been one to assume that what is right for me is right for everyone...
(I also always find your posts interesting- even if I don't comment too much- I'm still reading.)

sara said...

Spoken like a pro. Thank you for sharing that. I just spoke with my one friend who is pregnant that lives out of state. She is having a home birth, got pregnant on the first month trying, etc. She acted shocked when I said I would most likely have a section and that I had already had a cerclage - she said, well some people just jump into medical interventions, WTF?? I'm sorry that you feel the walls up and the isolation at times. It's funny how it lasts long into pregnancy, not just infertility when you have something like a uterine problem. For you and I sometimes the battle has just began when we see those double lines on a preg test. But I'm here as always, whenever you want to vent or write. Hopefully I can be half as helpful to you as you have been to me. ((hugs))