Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am not here to judge

You may have noticed that over the past several months I've become slightly obsessed with the topics of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.  I've talked about them some here on my blog, but I've been especially vocal on facebook and twitter.  Lately I've been reminded of how easily these discussions develop a judgmental, accusatory tone, as if there's only one "right" way to do things and anything else is wrong.  So, I wanted to stop for a minute and make a clarification.

I am not here to judge, and I am not trying to tell anyone what to do.

It is not my intention, when I post information about home birth, or breastfeeding, etc, to make others feel bad for making different decisions or having different experiences/outcomes than mine.  I do not think less of anyone for choosing to birth in a hospital, having a c-section, giving their baby formula, etc.  I have no interest in making others feel guilt or shame-- that helps no one, ever.

I have friends who have breastfed and formula-fed, who gave birth via c-section, with and without an epidural, and through home birth.  Each one of these mothers has made the best decisions she can for herself and her baby, and I support them fully in what they do.  Just because I do things one way does not mean I think others should do the same.  The answers are different for everyone.

I post links and information because a lot of this info seems to be hidden and not widely known about in mainstream culture.  There is so much misinformation about childbirth, so that very few people realize that giving birth with a midwife, even at home, can be a safe and realistic option for them.  Many don't realize what it can take to breastfeed successfully, or have heard myths that can be damaging.  So, as I find out information that I think is really important and useful, I try to share it.

I also have the selfish motivation of trying to help others understand why I've chosen certain routes that may not be very popular.  We pay a lot of lip service to breastfeeding here in the US, yet only 1/3 of mothers breastfeed past the first 2-3 months.  Midwives attend about 8% of births in the US, and home births make up just 1% of births.  Birthing at home and breastfeeding for a year (or longer) are pretty radical actions these days.

My goal is not to judge or get people to make the same decisions as me.  My goal is to help others have as much of the information as possible available to them when they make a decision, so that it can be a fully informed one.  Two people can look at the same set of data and come to very different conclusions.  I look at studies on birth and know that I feel safest giving birth at home with a trained, well-experienced midwife, and a hospital close by in case I (or the baby) needs a transfer.  Someone else may look at the very same information, and think, "That's nice and all, but it's not for me."  The way I see it, there is no "right" or "wrong" option as long as that decision was made after carefully considering all the options available, weighing the risks vs benefits, and going with what makes the most sense for you.

2 comments:

  1. I love this. Thanks for posting - I feel like I could have written it. Will be sharing it via fb, of course :)

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  2. "It is not my intention... to make others feel bad."

    For what it's worth, nobody can make anybody else feel bad. One is responsible for how one chooses to interpret what someone else is saying. If people are defensive, it may be because deep down inside they are insecure about their own decisions or feel jealous that they're not brave enough to do what you're doing. People who are comfortable with their decision (be it to hospital-birth, formula-feed, whatever) will just read your posts and accept them as your own opinion, which doesn't necessarily mirror their own, but which is a valid opinion nonetheless.

    So don't apologize! The beauty of blogging is that you can write how you feel and invite CONSTRUCTIVE conversation on the topic. If someone feels bad, it's their problem.

    Forge ahead. :)

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