I’ve wanted to write a blog post for some time about the pregnancy and birth choices Mr. Wetzel and I are making. In fact, I’ve wanted to write this blog post since the beginning, when we started growing into our new lives as parents-to-be. However, it seems that many of our choices can be misunderstood, not accepted, or met with resistance, so it has discouraged me from sharing our feelings and thoughts about this very intimate and tender time in our lives.
SETTING THE TONE: COMMUNITY
Unfortunately, judgment and criticism tend to be typical reactions many pregnant women receive, no matter what their birth choices are. I think this is ridiculous, and I refuse to shut myself off from community simply because I am different, make different choices or have different beliefs.
Pregnant women, especially women who are pregnant for the first time, need support, encouragement, understanding and connection. Pregnancy changes your body, your energy levels, your appetites and your concept of comfort, to name only a few physical aspects. Pregnancy often triggers many social changes for new time moms. It is easy to feel like your identity is slipping away or that you are losing control over your body, your baby, your pregnancy, and your life in general.
Instead of isolating each other with judgments, criticisms and horror stories, I believe we should surround pregnant women with support: emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. A pregnant mom-to-be needs to be assured she is beautiful, both in body and in spirit. She needs to be cared for when the strain of growing a baby makes it too difficult for her to complete her usual chores or tasks. She needs to be prayed with, and she needs to be able to open up her heart and mind to others for support and guidance. Finally, she needs to be able to spend a little extra: on maternity clothes, on unusual food, on books about the changes in her life and the changes to come.
Community is a very important concept to us in our pregnancy, and I encourage you to strive for it in yours.
AN ATTITUDE OF JOY
Many people fall into the trap of making birth choices. I think this is presumptuous because you never know what will unfold on the day the baby comes into the world, and if you have your heart set on a specific method or place or delivery person, it can easily lead to disappointment.
As Mr. Wetzel and I started to talk about our pregnancy, birth and the plans that we had, I think many people misinterpreted the paradigm that we spoke out of. We did not start with a set of birth choices that we wanted to implement or defend. We started with a decision about what kind of attitude we wanted to have about our pregnancy and birth. We decided the best thing for us and for our baby would be to have a pregnancy and birth of JOY, and we have tried to make decisions along the way to support the creation of a joyful environment.
When we think about our baby-to-be, we do not want to be preoccupied with worries or fears. There are many things that modern, western parents obsess about, but that they are completely incapable of controlling. The one thing you can control is your heart, and the biggest thing you have to learn to surrender is yourself. Pregnancy – and birth – are sublime, awe-inspiring events, and you can choose to face them with fear, or with faith. We chose faith. And joy.
That’s it for now. I guess this is sort of a “setting the scene” blog post, and I hope to write on specific topics in follow-up posts, including using a midwife, forgoing ultrasounds and intentionally decreasing stress.
If you have questions or comments, please feel to engage with me below! ^_^ I want to be an open book about our paradigm, decisions and plans, and I want to set the tone of honoring communication instead of demanding assimilation.
All photos in this post were taken by the amazing Stacy Wagoner on December 5th (22 weeks pregnant) at the Tacoma Waterfront.