Before I had my first baby, I announced to many people exactly what I planned to do as a parent — among other things, to breastfeed, cloth diaper, and have a natural birth.
What did I hear? “Cloth diapers are gross, why would you want to?” “Breastfeeding is hard, just try it but no big deal if you don’t.” “What, do you think they pass out medals in the delivery room? Birth is hard, don’t be afraid to take the drugs.”
They meant well. Because being a parent is hard, no matter what you choose. They didn’t want me to be disappointed in case the things I wanted didn’t work out (which, for a small percentage of women, they don’t, no matter how much you want them — I didn’t get my natural birth the first time).
But you know? I just want to encourage you, if you are wanting to do any of these “less common” things — you can do it.
I’m not convinced that, well meaning or not, telling young mothers “It’s fine either way” is the best way to handle things. Many mothers feel very passionately about the choices they intend to make as parents. And sure, it’s true that sometimes things don’t work out…. Sometimes there are complications, sometimes babies don’t allow our best laid plans, and sometimes we come to realize what we thought we believed we really don’t, once we’re really there.
But it’s good to be passionate about the choices you want to make. And you can do it (almost always) if you set your mind to it.
There is no reason, even as a first-time mom, that you can’t have a natural birth…if that’s what you want. There’s no reason you can’t breastfeed…if you’re determined to do so.
Really? All you need to do is to decide that you will do it. Then, follow these tips:
1) Surround yourself with like-minded moms: Try to find other moms who do or have done the things you plan to do. Let them be a support for you and encourage you.
2) Smile and nod when people discourage you: They will do it. There are a lot of people out there who believe, for various reasons, that certain things are impossible or, well, stupid. You don’t have to listen to that and you definitely don’t have to believe it. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself. Simply smile and nod (especially if it’s coming from a stranger) and then go back to your support system.
3) Research, research, research: You have to be armed with knowledge before you go into anything, especially if it’s a less popular choice. Dealing with a natural labor or learning to breastfeed do not simply come instinctually to most women. You need to read books and talk to women who’ve been there. Consider taking a class. Knowledge will help you to do exactly what you know you can.
Whatever it is you are determined to do, you can do it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. It is important to remember that, especially if people tell you that you can’t.
Have you found that people sometimes discourage you when you want to do certain things?