When I got pregnant (really really long back that is) and people got to know that I’m, something around me had changed. My every single step was closely watched by people who genuinely care and people who don’t.
Everyone had an opinion and they made it a point to let me know. It was all about how healthy/pale I looked, how I plan to give birth (natural or c-sec), how prepared I was to nurture the baby, do I plan to breastfeed or not, chose cloth nappies over diapers, plan to cradle the baby to sleep or let it cry itself to sleep, the list was endless. But even after 8 years of giving birth some of those things have stayed with me.
My pregnancy wasn’t very pleasant and I had gestational diabetes in the 3rd trimester. I was stupidly hell bent on giving birth naturally because I wanted to prove a lot of people wrong (that I was too thin so c-sec is the only option! and I fell for it!). I managed alright with epidural to my rescue. I was lauded for having a “normal” delivery. And I wonder why and how “natural” became “normal”. Aren’t we being condescending towards women who have to or choose c-sec over natural birth? And what did I do special by giving birth the way it should be that it became special? “Natural or c-sec?”, why do we women ask each other this very irrelevant question?
Because of post-delivery complications, I had a HB count of 5 and I was on strong medication, I could hardly breastfeed. My son refused to latch on, no matter how hard I tried. I finally gave up (after pumping milk from my breasts after a month) as I wasn’t getting any rest I needed to recuperate. I would have killed myself if I hadn’t stopped trying. But everyone around me (including strangers in a mall) started looking down upon me like I was committing the biggest crime in the world by putting my son on formula. It took me months to get over that guilt.
During the whole process of pregnancy and giving birth, a woman is struggling with so much – getting to know organs that she didn’t know existed, engorged breasts, continued bleeding, a stomach which looks like a burst balloon, stretch marks, smell of curdled milk, sleep deprivation, baby’s farts (which can be quite explosive), it’s all so overwhelming and at least one thing we can do is be tolerant, keep our opinions to ourselves (unless we see someone doing something which a hazardous to the mother and/or baby) and let her experience her own journey the way she wants to. At some point, aren’t we all in the same boat in any case?