Can I Give Up a Natural Birth?

Have you always imagined you’d give birth naturally, but are realizing now that, for whatever reason, natural birth just isn't in the cards this time? Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from having a natural birth – it could be placenta previa, or a breech baby, or maybe there’s concern over how well the baby could handle labor, to name a few common examples.

Is it ok to accept that a natural birth isn’t in your future?

Sure, you could stand on your head for hours a day, or do special moves in the swimming pool, or any of the other hundreds of suggestions for getting a breech baby to flip around – but what if none of them work for you? And what if you just don’t feel like trying yet another trick you heard worked for your coworker’s friend?

poolside lemonade

 

What if the thought of one more positive visualization imagining your placenta moving out of the way makes you want to throw things across the room? Is it ok to just stop?

Can you feel good about accepting this change in your plans?

Absolutely.

If natural birth has always been your goal, it can be a hard mental shift to accepting that your reality may involve more medical intervention than you want. But you can do it. In fact, it’s ok to make that shift. It's ok to embrace a new outlook, and look forward with anticipation instead of dread.

I'll repeat, because it's so important: it is absolutely, always, 100% ok for you to be at peace with your decisions.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you clarify your feelings. Part of our job at Doulas of Memphis is to help you work through the answers, and to support you every step of the way, so if you don't know us already, let's chat!

What is it about a medicalized birth that I’m hoping to avoid?

Is it a feeling of lack of control? Are you worried that you are somehow letting your baby or your partner down? Is it important to you that you still have a voice in your experience? Are you concerned that the medical aspect will overwhelm you with questions and details?

You might have a combination of answers to this question. Once you have explored all your answers, start to think about concrete things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate your concerns. Talk about your ideas with your doula and your doctor. We both want what is best for you, and can help you with your new plans.

What will it mean about me as a person or as a parent if I have a medicalized birth?

Worded slightly differently, you might come to an answer from a different angle: what will it mean about me as a person if I don't have a natural birth? Hopefully, you are able to see that you are a worthy and valuable person and parent, regardless of the circumstances of your baby's birth. You deserve to feel good about your choices and your experience.

Imagine yourself birthing your baby with confidence and clarity. What do you need this time to do that?

This is a great question to ask yourself regardless! Do you need education about your new options? Do you need additional support now and during the labor? Do you just need someone who "gets it" and won't judge as you work through your feelings and make new decisions; someone who will remind you that you are enough?

The insight gained from your answers can help you start setting the stage for a positive birth experience, even if it isn't the one you always thought you wanted. We would love to help you every step of the way.

Sleep: No hope for new parents

So, you're expecting a baby, huh? I bet you've also heard horror stories about how you'll never sleep again. Don't worry, they're all true.

Coffee is the new sleep

Your new BFF

If your baby isn't here yet, go ahead and start brewing that coffee in advance. Go download our Coffee Affirmations Printable and stick it on your fridge in anticipation of sleepless nights to come. It takes about 5 cups to feel like a human, but you'll get there eventually. Probably next week even! Don't like coffee? Of course you do! REALLY don't like coffee? Oh...well there's a Southern expression for that: Bless your heart. Bless your little pea-pickin' heart.

There no such thing as nighttime parenting: only survival.

What your baby expects

You might have come across the phrase nighttime parenting in your internet searching exploits. That's a fancy term for "the parent who has to leave the security and delicious warmth of their bed to attend to the needs of the screaming, hungry, pooping one." Here's the kicker: your baby isn't hungry, poopy, or tired. He's just bored. It's party o'clock and young sir is displeased with your lack of effort. He'll go back to sleep around 7am, once sufficient partying has occurred.

Baby monitors exist to destroy what little chance of sleep you had.

Sleep deprivation devices

What was that noise? Was that the baby? Did she just move?! WHAT DOES THAT GRUNT MEAN?! DID SHE GRUNT IN HER SLEEP?! WHY DO THEY MAKE THAT NOISE ANYWAY?! NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT THIS!!! You get up to check on her, and she is indeed still sleeping. That grunt was to make sure you remembered to program your coffee pot. You're going to need it in the morning. What a nice, thoughtful baby, reminding you of things in your sleep!

It's all worth it, they say. You'll forget this in a few years, they say. Look at how sweet they are when they sleep, they say. They can't help it. They don't remember correctly. It's the Coffee of Newborns Past talking.

Hope you're not feeling too hopeless about the no sleep thing, because...

APRIL  FOOL'S!!!

Doulas of Memphis is in the business of making sure new parents get the sleep they need. Our overnight postpartum doulas will help you feel rested, ready to take on the day, and even bring you that first cup of coffee (you'll only need 2 now).

If you're a new parent in the trenches or are pregnant and anticipating your little one's arrival, we're here to tell you not to worry. We won't tell you it's always easy or that you'll ALWAYS get the sleep you need, but it is worth it. Your baby will sleep eventually, and in the meantime our postpartum doulas are available 24/7 to help you get the sleep you need, whether it's a nap in the daytime or a full night of sleep. If you are breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding AND healthy sleep by bringing your baby to you so that you can nurse and get right back to dreamland. You can rest assured knowing that your baby is in good hands and so are you!

To learn more about how our postpartum doulas can help with sleep, click here, fill out our contact form, or give us a call at (901) 308-4888!

 

Spring is coming: Getting help with postpartum depression

lion-1145040_640The old kindergarten adage is true again this year: “March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.” We see it around us and feel it in the air that yes, spring is coming in all of its humid, rainy glory. I love a good analogy, and this changing season has me thinking about a time in my life when I thought winter was never going to end.

I should have seen it coming, but suffice it to say that with my firstborn I was the poster child for postpartum depression and anxiety.

We had only been back in Memphis for three months before my son was born. I wish I could say we adjusted well to being parents, and those first few months were magical, but that’s simply not true. It was isolating and it was hard. Really hard. My baby was well-cared for and I adored him, but I struggled to do daily tasks. I would fly off the handle at the most insignificant things, couldn’t cope with the lack of sleep, and couldn’t seem to make it past showering and getting dressed. I’d sit on my couch with my baby and there I’d stay, until 5pm rolled around and I had nothing to show for my day. I thought it was “just stress,” or that “this is what those first few months are like...after all, I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep, right?” I wasn’t crying all the time, so I couldn’t be depressed, right? My precious husband picked up my slack the best he could but while he was my safety net, there wasn't anyone catching him. 

It was six months before I got help. Six months before I couldn’t take it anymore. Six months before my husband said, “This isn’t normal.”

I felt like I was losing my mind. I was overwhelmed and wracked with guilt. I was terrified of what people would think of me. Nothing sent me running faster than the Standard Southern Greeting of “How are you?” I didn’t know how to answer that question- what if they didn’t actually want to know? Even after I started counseling, it took me more than a year to feel normal again. There were pieces to pick up after months of going it alone.  As I was living day to day with a baby to care for,  it was hard to see any sort of growth. Some days I wondered if I would ever get better. If I would ever feel like myself again...who was I again, anyway? I couldn't pinpoint a day where I magically felt better, but over time things didn't seem so difficult anymore. The coping skills I learned in therapy became second nature. My relationship with my husband improved and I was doing a lot more giving and a lot less taking. That time was a lot like little glimpses of spring near the end of a long winter.

spring, postpartum depression

It may not always feel like it, but spring is coming. 

Maybe you're in a season of your life where you've planted the seeds but can't see the blooms yet. Maybe it's still raining, raining, raining, and you can't seem to catch a break. Some days are warm with tastes of sunshine to come, but others are dreary and gray. Nobody flips a switch and turns spring on. March has to come first, in like a lion and out like a lamb. Maybe it's not today, but one day the flowers will come out. The grass will be green. The chill will leave the air. Spring is coming!

If you're struggling right now, please know that there is help for you. Don't wait! You may not hear about postpartum depression and anxiety while you're out running your errands, but there are warrior moms all around you. You are not a failure. You are not a bad mom. It's not your fault. You are not alone. I'll say it again: You are not alone! 

If you want to learn more about getting help with postpartum depression and anxiety, visit Postpartum Progress and Postpartum Support International. For dads, visit http://www.postpartummen.com. If you need help locally, reach out to us and we'll help you get connected.