An Apology

I’m back to using my iPad, as I’m on vacation. Forgive me for any typos, etc.

Thank you, all, for your respectful comments and discussions on my last post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth plan topic. Something that has been echoing in my brain is this comment, from SRB:

“It’s important that we talk openly and without judgement about this. Wishing each other peace and fulfillment in our mothering will only serve to better us.”

That’s when I realized something: Holy Crap! Was my wedding day analogy like those awful, empty platitudes we all hear going through infertility? I think for the most part, the people we are hearing “just relax and it will happen” and “why don’t you just adopt?” They mean well. They cause harm but it’s (mostly) not because their intention was to hurt, but rather to soothe. Similarly, when I was trying to make women feel better who are hurting about their birth plans not turning out the way they had planned, was I minimizing their pain by saying it was “just one day?”

Probably.

I’m so sorry if I made anyone feel that way. I remember how awful those comments about “just” made me feel.

I want to clarify for the record here that I truly support your choice, goals and dreams, whether it’s Josey’s upcoming home water birth (go get it, girl! :)) to the huge smile I had on my face when I read about Courtney and Belle’s C-sections that were so lovely and supportive. And I think E’s embrace of a flexible birth plan is a great choice for her: it shows a sense of self-awareness and capacity for her own personal growth that I always admire about her.

And for those who had a similar approach to me (seeing birth as a means to an end and a day to, well, survive) I’m glad (as always) to not be alone in my thinking and reasoning for my experience. Thank you for sharing your stories, and I’m so glad everything went so well for you!

Ladies: I’m rooting for you all the time, no matter the differences in choices or styles of, well, anything. All of you, not just the people I called out, but everyone in my extensive blog reading list of women parenting and not parenting, those in the trenches and beyond. You amaze and inspire me all the time. You make me think, you make me reflect and you make me (I hope) a better person.

Thanks for educating me.

Humbly yours,

Jessica

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8 Comments

Filed under What Say You?

8 responses to “An Apology

  1. I reject your apology. Nothing you’ve ever said has been said out of anything other than sweetness and love and anyone who takes what you say as judgmental is a bit mental themself. Most of us know where you are coming from, and you are a good good lady.

  2. SRB

    I did have difficulty with the wedding day analogy and found it dismissive initially. BUT I sincerely appreciate the ensuing conversation with you. Now I understand where you were coming from and I clearly see that you see my point of view too. No apology necessary, but genuinely appreciated nonetheless.

  3. I reject your apology as unnecessary too but appreciate it nonetheless. I don’t think your wedding day analogy was too far off the mark either. I wholeheartedly support any woman’s plan for her birth. It’s as unique and individual as we all are. And those of us in the ALI world have a bit of a different perspective based on our experiences.

    I think of your last post like the one I wrote for PAIL on breast feeding. I fear that women are focusing too much on the journey and not the destination. We’ve become too myopic lately. Is it society? Is it guilt? I don’t know but I want us to take a step back and think about it. Maybe as Pam said, it is about our lack of ritual in our modern lives.

    Have a great vacation!

    • This very nicely sums up how I feel about this topic, and many others (like breastfeeding, parenting styles, etc). To each his own, just please don’t be hard on yourself when things don’t go how you want them to go. And I felt that’s what you, J, were saying the whole time. The apology is nice, but not necessary. You view the birth day as just one day, for you, and that’s how I took it!

  4. Aha! I couldn’t put my finger on why it bothered me when you said it was “just one day” – because you’re right – it really is just one day in the grand scheme of things. Then I read Gemini Momma’s comment on my post this morning and thought YEP – that’s one of the best comments I’ve read in this whole discussion…and then I read this post and thought YEP, that’s why it bothered me. The (unintentional!) minimizing. I’m not surprised you didn’t think of it that way, because I for sure couldn’t even figure out why it bothered me so much!

    This has been a wonderful few days in the blogosphere for me where my feelings on a few things have come full circle. I’m so thankful for all of the respectful comments on our three posts, and I hope it was as eye opening for others as it was for me.

    Love and support -that’s all we really need.

  5. I’m not sure an apology is necessary, but this clarification is perfect. We all have such different perspectives and desires. I’m late to this party because of vacation and no internet access. I commented yesterday on Esperanza’s post and Josey’s original post, but haven’t gotten through all the posts yet. My comment on Esperanza’s post included this: ” Birthing, like a wedding, is very personal. It is one day, but it is the beginning of a new stage in life and no matter what, that ONE day will have an effect on the rest of that families life.” This is where I took the “just one day” analogy. I did not feel it was minimizing, but the conversations it has spurred have lead to the ultimate aspect of this place. Love and support. We have all learned a few new things and have had our eyes opened to new ideas and understandings. This will help us be there for each other whatever our desires in regards to the birthing process. Thank you for your apology, but I think we all just needed a little clarification is all ūüôā

  6. As someone who has not given birth, it didn’t offend me. I have trouble relating to it, I suppose, as I have not been through it and may not ever be able to go through it. However, I do appreciate learning more about how birth plans not going to plan can be so difficult. It’s probably my own personal issue, that I find it difficult to wrap my head around that it can be so hard, as one who came to parenthood via adoption. But I don’t mean to be dismissive of it, it’s just one of those things I guess I never really understood that it could be so hard. So it’s been interesting to learn more. There are always ways we can learn more to support one another.

  7. I didn’t think of your comment as dismissive but of course I was coming from a place where I didn’t care that much about my birth plan so obviously I wouldn’t be the one to find it dismissive. I can understand that others who care more deeply about their brith plan found it dismissive.

    I read an interesting quote recently about how childbirth has changed to carry much greater expectations:

    From The Mask of Motherhood: “Childbirth has become not only an athletic event, but also an aesthetic one, an arena for personal expression, an opportunity to sculpt transcendence from blood, bone and muscle.”

    I think this is the phenomena that I have been commenting on, the one I don’t necessarily understand (but that doesn’t make it valid). I understand that women want to be respected and have an intimate birth experience but I guess I have seen situations where it seems like they are looking for even more than that, some kind of ultimate personal validation that I worry a birth experience might to be able to provide. That is what I wanted to comment on, because I hope women can go into the whole ordeal with very realistic expectations, not necessarily that things can’t go as they hope, but that the whole experience will fall on a spectrum that is hard to qualify and they may end up feeling very ambivalent about the whole thing, no matter what happens, and that is okay too.

    I have actually been really impressed by how this whole conversation happened. I thoughts it was very thoughtful and considerate and I learned a lot. And it seems clear that others did too. Thank for bringing to much to this conversation. It was really interesting.

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