Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Why are you doing THAT?"

Throughout my few years of parenting, I've been asked a question several times about a variety of different things regarding my parenting/pregnancy/mothering decisions. "Why are you doing THAT?" So, here are some of my answers...

I have nursed all of my children and plan on doing so with the next. I breastfed because of the many benefits: bonding, best for baby, immunity transfer, cuts down on likelihood of ear infections (3 kids, 1 short ear infection - not bad), facial and oral structure development, intelligence, some weight loss after having baby... But, in all honesty, my biggest reason is that I'm lazy (don't laugh). I value my sleep and what little time I have after homeschooling, child-rearing, housekeeping, and working. I don't want to spend what precious time I have left sterilizing bottles, boiling water for formula, etc. So I breastfeed - easier for me, good for baby. I'll keep doing it.

For the same BIG reason I breastfeed, I cosleep - I don't have to wake up during the night to prep a bottle, thus I get sleep. We start from the time a baby is born until about 12 months old. When there is a baby in my bed, I instantly wake up at the slightest noise from the baby - I instinctively, subconsciously know when my baby is hungry, sick, or just needs me. And, please, don't lecture me about my decision. I've heard about the studies, the reports, the criticism - but it has worked for three of my children (all three of whom I can proudly exclaim now sleep in their own beds every night, all night - can you say the same thing?).

Three children and one more on the way (and who knows what the future holds)
Yes, I have three children. Yes, I'm expecting a fourth. No, by God's grace, this won't be the last. Yes, I'm Catholic. Yes, I know what causes "it." No, it's none of your business so stop asking me. And don't look so shocked!

Finding out
We're waiting until the baby is born. When I've said I want to be surprised, I've been told that it's a surprise when you find out at 20 weeks, too. Well, sort of - but not the same kind of surprise; you still have 20 weeks to get ready, to think of names, to decorate rooms, to alter your idea of what your future would have been with a baby of the opposite gender. A father of 12 children once told me that he and his wife never "peeked at their presents." I like that idea - this baby is my Christmas present, a baby I've prayed and waited patiently for. I can wait until late-December when my baby arrives for Richard to tell me if it's a boy or girl while holding our sweet newborn in his arms. Besides, since we cosleep, there will be no room to decorate - only the time it takes to go down to the basement and bring up all the tubs of newborn girl or boy clothes.

We have decided to have this baby at home. It wasn't a difficult decision to come to. After three childbirth experiences, I decided the time was right to abandon the hospital and opt for the comfort of my own home. With all three of my hospital birth experiences, I felt as though I had to fight with either my doctor or the hospital staff about something. I don't want that again. I want the calm, comfort, and peace that my home can afford me. I want to be able to play my piano, sing along with my music, go to my refrigerator for some juice, and roam in my own hallway until the time comes for me to slip into my birthing tub (hopefully) set up in my living room. I am not planning on having my children present - I want grandchildren one day - but they will be welcome to meet their new sibling as soon as my husband, my midwife, and I feel as though the baby is ready.
People I know have expressed concerns such as, "What if something goes wrong?" Well, for one, I'm not freebirthing (i.e., having an unassisted childbirth). My midwife with years of experience will be on hand with an assistant. She is armed with an arsenal of weapons to counteract anything that could go wrong and if something goes beyond her control, I'll be rushed to a hospital. That was my initial response when I heard that question. Now, my response is... I'm pregnant. I'm not sick. Hospitals are for sick people. However, should something happen that is outside the realm of the usual things that can happen to one while having a baby, the hospital is close. I'm not worried - as a matter of fact, I'm more worried about what the baby and/or I could pick up at a hospital than anything potentially going wrong at home.

That said, I still vaccinate, I don't buy much that is organic [a lot of organic foods just don't appeal to me to the extent I feel as though I have to pay double for them - besides, I like a little bovine growth hormone now and then] and my children do consume refined sugars, but that's me. By posting the above, I don't mean to belittle anyone or their parenting choices (with the possible exception of any comment to me about the size of my family - so don't go there), but just to state this is what we do and why we do it.


Michele said...

I don't know why I am bothering to post a comment since you know how I feel about all the things you mentioned. ;) But let me say again for the record: I co-slept with our first child because we all got more sleep that way. With child #2, whose lungs we worried about all through pregnancy, I co-slept because it helps regulate the infant's breathing. Kind of a big deal, right? If one of the kids is really sick or has a nightmare, we still co-sleep. It beats getting up to check on them. I get annoyed about the studies that "prove co-sleeping is dangerous." They don't always point out that the parents who suffocated their babies were on drugs or morbidly obese. And by the way, there is a FB group called Mothers against Babywise. I joined it. Hello, Christian parents - co-sleeping is in the Bible. (the bit about the man not getting up because all the family is in THE bed)But if I am ever blessed with another baby, I'll open my present the second I can ;)

Michele said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michele said...

You know Father Mark's reason for opposing "finding out?" Several cultures do now, and ours probably will soon, use it for gender selection on a large scale. Frightening and evil idea.

Caroline said...

Since you shared, so shall I:

I wanted to breastfeed so badly, I made myself miserable when I realized that I would have to supplement, and then I was sad again when Bitlet informed me that she was over my breast and wanted the easily accessible stuff. Now, she eats, I don't cry. It's working for us.

Cosleeping is something I started doing very soon after she was born. I initially started doing it, because I nearly dropped her while nursing and it scared the mess out of me. Yes, I nodded off. After that, she was in the middle of the bed.

Procreating is something I wanted to experience just one time. If I feel the need to parent more children, there are ways that don't involve my uterus, such as fostering or adoption, and that is something we might consider, but I don't begrudge anyone their choice of having a large family . . . unless their last names are Suleman, Duggar . . . but that's just me.

I did not find out Cate's gender until the minute she was born, when Stephen told me, and I will never forget that moment as long as I live. I don't CARE that others might have been inconvenienced by not knowing what kind of presents to buy.

Homebirth? You go, that's all I will say. I am all about the epidural, the drugs, the lack of pain (because I experienced maybe 3 minutes of pain the ENTIRE time I was in labor, seriously, and I would not trade that for anything!).

And I vaccinate, too. Hell, I just got my own whooping cough and MMR shots (might have been DTP, but whatever, Cate and I got shot together).

And my mother-in-law and I discussed BGH this weekend . . . I told her what the FDA said. She doesn't care, because they are in the pocket of the cattle industry. I can't win.

~Angela (mommylawyer) said...

Just so anyone out there reading this will know... I deleted a comment by Michele because it was a duplicate of the first comment already made, not due to anything inflammatory or offensive to me.

Anonymous said...

I breastfed & coslept for the same reason. :) Glad to know we have so much in common! :)

Orange Juice said...

I couldn't breast feed but if I could I would totally do it exclusively. I think it's wonderful that you do all the things you do. For whatever reason, the most important part if that you do what works for you and that you have a happy family as a result.

Ellen said...

Hi, Angie. I certainly agree with all since I did all except the home birth. We lived in a small apartment; the doctor offered on the last two children--but the hospital was my ONLY break from my kids--and you know how curious my first two were! About the ear infections--my first son had lots of them even though I breastfed. In fact, my two winter babies had more respiratory and ear infections than my two summer babies. Don't know if there is any correlation. And for us we had no option except the surprise. Mimi

Brownie said...

I certainly agree with most of what you say - and I agree that you have the right to your opinion on the rest! :)

I wouldn't homebirth -but that's just because I was old and paranoid. And my hubby wouldn't have let me anyway.

Regarding ear infections. I didn't breastfeed Red (adopted y'know) and he's never had an ear infection and has very rarely been sick.

Some stuff just doesn't make sense to me.

But my babies did sleep with me a lot- due again to my paranoia. I worked so hard to get them that I had to make sure they stayed breathing!

Brownie said...

I just had to look it up. Luke 11:7

"and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'