You’ve probably heard it before, you know, that it takes a village to raise a child.
It starts even before your child makes their entrance to this world. I know, because my two births were substantially different from one another. I’m grateful to have experienced both, although I can’t help but feel sadness in my heart when I think about my first birth experience.
Would I have enjoyed the process more? Would I have breastfed longer? Would I have cut the postpartum depression out and bonded with my baby? Would it have affected our relationship in a more positive way? What would have been the one most influential thing to have changed the whole experience?
Read more: Why I am Having a Home Birth
Granted, if I were a little older when I had my first it probably would have changed many aspects. If I were more prepared mentally and emotionally, I could have handled things differently. As much as I could beat myself up about it, the truth is, there is only so much I could prepare for. Life will always throw curve balls. The difference on how things are handled depends on the level of support you have.
The single most important thing: support.
The first time around I didn’t have a doula or midwife, I didn’t know of a lactation consultant, and I really had no friends that had gone through pregnancy and birth before (I was 19 at the time). Aside from people, I had no idea about different birthing options, delayed cord clamping, and placenta encapsulating, just to name a few (see: 13 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You But Your Midwife Will). I had no idea I could have all those things if I wanted. I thought I was supposed to just do it on my own, the way they told me to do.
Good thing that other saying is mostly true, “The older you get, the wiser you get.”
Going into my second pregnancy, I knew it wasn’t a matter of having all those things, it was a necessity.
From start to finish, I created and surrounded myself with a village of women of all walks of life. From my midwife to my doula, a lactation consultant to my friend, to even my online friends (most who I have never met), I had a group of women who knew what I wished for my birth and postpartum; they offered support in both physical and emotional ways, they offered wisdom and comfort through experience, they offered their strength when I felt I wanted to give up, and they offered unconditional love, something that trumps every negative that life can throw out at me.
Read more: Why I Hired a Doula
For them, I am eternally grateful. Katie, Christie, Gladis, Carla, Selena, Jacqueline, Melody, Mom, Sonja, Stephanie, Tara, Kristen, Jessica, CBBB and online friends;
Thank you for empowering me through all the stages of my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Thank you for listening to me as I cried desperately in pain from mastitis those first few days, you knew just the right words to help me push through.
Thank you for answering all my questions.
Thank you for coming to my house and helping me prep meals and wash dishes while I photographed blog posts to get ready for baby’s arrival.
Thank you for believing in my ability to birth my child naturally.
Thank you for the guidance when I was faced with decisions I didn’t know what to make.
Thank you for taking Andrew so I could get through those first rough postpartum days.
Thank you for coming to my house to help me breastfeed at 8pm on a Monday night and diagnosing the tongue tie; it was a pivotal moment in my breastfeeding journey.
Thank you for bringing me food and sharing laughs.
Thank you for not judging my decisions.
Thank you for your unconditional love, no matter how near or far, or if we’ve ever met in person.
Thank you for being the village I needed. I am forever grateful.
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