What I do know is I did not like pregnancy, but really loved birth. Yes it hurt, and was messy, and was hard, sweaty, and truly sordid work, but yet I truly felt so powerful after my birth experience. I instantly loved my son. We had postpartum adjustment, every family does, but overall I really believed I was a kick ass mom. And life settled down into our new normal.
After my son’s birth, I felt so empowered. Any serious doubts subsided and I knew I was an amazing mom. I felt in my heart that all women deserve to feel that power while birthing. So, I left middle school education, certified as a labor doula and soon began working in maternal/infant public health.
Fast forward to my next pregnancy. Being entrenched in the natural birth community and trained in the physiology of birth, I was excited to birth with this knowledge. Feeling confident in my ability to birth a baby, I planned my daughter’s birth to be at home with a midwife. I had been experiencing more serious symptoms of prenatal depression and anxiety this time around and I was longing for the moment that would wash away the distress with her birth. We would be home, wrapped in love and familiarity. Her birth was seriously the most perfectly planned and orchestrated event I could ask for. It was magical in theory, but the magic didn’t wash over me the way I had hoped.
I wasn’t instantly in love. I was scared. I was scared to love her, scared to tell anyone, scared to admit to my circle of natural birth and natural remedy friends that I might need more than the prenatals and vitamin D I took daily. Her perfect birth, left me less empowered than my Pitocin labor. I was confused.
Conquering my perfect birth didn’t give me immunity to experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. It was beautiful, but further confused me. How could I HAVE IT ALL, and still feel this way?
I have since learned not to ask such questions. Feelings are not usually logical. PMADs have so many factors, that we can’t assume one risk factor removed will remove all the risk.
I have learned that everything I thought I knew about parenting, wasn’t wrong, but different. This was a different baby. I was a new mother all over again and this time it was harder.
I have also learned to be grateful for my differing birth experiences. The perfect birth of Allison followed by the dark months of anxiety, opened my heart to accept more gray areas in my parenting philosophies and to cast less judgement. The contrast of birth experiences taught me to love myself and to love other mothers more authentically.
And for that I am very grateful.
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the