This post is part of PAIL Bloggers monthly theme post call out on Birth Stories, and how they did, or did not, go on to affect your parenting choices and style. To see all the other submissions, and the suggested prompts on what we were asked to write about, go HERE.
I wasn’t even going to write this post, and I’m the one HOSTING it over at PAIL Bloggers. Yeah, I’m a jerk, I know.
But I wasn’t going to write it because right now it’s pretty damn hard to think about my birth story without worrying about if I’ll ever have another birth story to tell. Because yeah, in case you missed it, we’re back in IF hell.
So then I went all analytic on my reflections on my birth story. My birth story in general was great, but the circumstances leading up to it, and the things that happened after were literally traumatic and I don’t think I’ve totally healed from that.
I had a great birth under overwhelming stress (we were living in a HOTEL due to a messed up move) but then after the birth I had a sick baby, readmission to a rural, new hospital, that was crawling with bugs, FIRE literally shot out of my child’s jaundice lamp in the hospital, and while we were in the hospital a storm ripped part of the roof off our house and we lost power, all our food, and almost had to evacuate. Oh and doctor after doctor tried to shove formula down our throats telling me it was best for her because “they could measure it.” And we were alone, all alone, in a new town with no friends, no family. I remember feeling like we were the only people on the planet sometimes. Other than Facebook we had no in-person support through our hospital readmission trauma. We literally moved to a new town two days after Stella was born, and then were readmitted to a new hospital in the next town over. Isolation. (If you want to read our birth story including a salami-sandwich induced melt-down go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)
I’ve done a lot of reading and writing on the effects trauma has on us, and the theology of trauma. This very much was a trauma and when I look back, I am amazed we survived.
It’s affected my parenting. I knew infertility would affect my parenting, when you finally get to be a parent you put all this pressure on yourself to “do it right.” But then add to that a sick baby with weight gain issues and I fully admit that I am “that mom.” We don’t do television except about once a week I watch a sign language DVD with her because she loves signing so much. I don’t do sugar with her at home. (Outside the home I have finally loosened up and she can have treats and eat whatever other kids might be eating within reason.) Her closest thing to “junk food” at home is graham crackers, plain, no cinnamon-sugar, and made without corn syrup. Part of this is because in general we are a bit of health nuts, but part of it is ‘I have to feed her healthy because what if I don’t and she gets sick again?’
And all of this, is a really tiring way to go through life. I’m trying to ease up. Stells isn’t going to die from having some junk food, or watching a little television every now and then. But as I’ve written about infertility trauma before, it haunts you. It hangs over you, so that thinking about your birth story is never just a remembrance of events, but also a future worry of if you’ll ever have another birth story again.