The impact of a fistula can be nothing short of devastating. Women are unable to control their flow of urine or feces, sometimes, both. A woman is aware of the resulting odour, and she feels ashamed -- often to the point of denying herself food and water to stem the flow. Malnutrition and dehydration can result.
If you tell someone you are planning an unmedicated birth, you are met with a grin and nod in that "uh-huh, you are going to be begging for an epidural" kind of way. If you say you are planning an epidural, they wax poetic about the joys of unmedicated birth. Everyone has an opinion on your birth, and it is almost always going to be the opposite of yours.
When we are talking about the details of your birthing vision, there are important choices to be made. You may decide that some choices should be adhered to, like delayed cord clamping, because of the benefits for your baby. Other choices will be greatly influenced by factors beyond your control, and your birthing process may require a shift in thinking about how to ascend That Mountain.
Although many parents today fear taking home the wrong baby, it is thankfully an unfounded fear. In reality, it is exceedingly rare for infants to be switched in the hospital and it becomes even more rare as time goes on. Extensive measures have been put in place in modern hospitals in order to prevent such mix-ups.
Wouldn't that be nice? I don't remember being given the option. I do remember getting a weird look, being brushed off, handed a script and sent home. I can only imagine (fantasize) what rehab for postpartum depression looks like. A limo arrives at my doorstep and out steps Ryan Gosling. "Hey girl," he says. "We're going to PPD rehab."
I think we do all women a disservice when we don't challenge the "Disneyfication" of our reproductive experience. Pregnancy is glorified as transcendent despite its many dark elements. Birth is similarly idealized. But miscarriages resist beatification; at best, they are an extremely efficient expulsion of expired reproductive material by one's own body.
When a friend says postpartum depression is normal, I get disappointed. When a psychologist says postpartum depression is normal, I get worried. When a New York Times best selling author and former U.S. congressional candidate with hundreds of thousands of followers says that postpartum depression is normal, I get livid.
My husband was holding him and I think I may have almost wanted to hit them. I know I wanted something to happen. I was thinking that if I threw that shoe hard enough maybe it would crack the layer of suffocation I was feeling around me. Maybe it would give me some air, or maybe I'd get in trouble and someone would say "Okay, she's clearly had enough. Let's give her a week off from this motherhood thing."
Three weeks after my third C-section, I decided to take off my bandage and I was truly horrified. I saw a 2nd incision above my previous C-section scar. What on earth was this OBGYN thinking? I was shocked and angry and really felt violated. I was exhausted and excited to meet my baby, and it really didn't occur to me to remind the doctor on call to cut over my previous C-section. You would think this was common practice and that there were notes in my file about my discussions and expectations for this procedure. Was he careless? Was he disrespectful? Was he in a rush? Was it just easier for him to make a new incision?
High atop a mountain, several hours' drive from the nearest tiny village, a young mother named Ganga went into labour. It was just days after the massive April 25 earthquake, and thousands of Nepali families were afraid to go inside their homes for fear the buildings would collapse in an aftershock. Ganga laboured publicly for two full days.
I'm torn because my family always comes first, but I also have these ideas and opportunities and the iron is hot and I'm not getting any younger and this is my time, bitch. I'm riddled with guilt just typing that, because society and my upbringing and all that bullshit has programmed me to believe I'm a mother now, so I'm supposed to sacrifice my own dreams for everyone else's. But I'm determined to try my best to fuck that noise and do it all, even if I don't do any of it perfectly. I'd rather live with failure than regret.
This may sound a bit structured, but it will help family and friends who don't see you that often to understand the event and how your special occasion unfolded. If you are combining written content with photos or a video. Try to keep the number of words to seven hundred (or less). This seems to be the magic number before people start to drift off when reading online.
Just in case you missed the first trillion times I mentioned it: giving birth was really hard. Now I am about to give birth again. This time, to a book. In some ways, giving birth to a book is harder than giving birth to a baby. Everyone loves your human baby because it's an innocent party in all of this. But many will hate your paper baby, because you made it, and you suck.
Getting an epidural is a very individual decision and probably one of the first ones that we, as mothers, feel conflicted about. I wonder if this is due to our actual expectations around our child's birth or if it is how we think we will be perceived if we opt in (or out) of using drugs to manage labour.