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I Gotta Be Me
2004-01-29 - 10:33 p.m.

First, I must say that this entry is strictly my thoughts and opinions only. I didn’t do any formal research and I am not writing this to change anyone’s minds. It is a piece for me. I have read many diaries about mothering for over 2 years now and I am a mother myself. It is not my intention to insult anyone nor do I wish to be condemned for my point of view. That being said, here is my take on the different choices I made on raising my children. I might add that I am 32 and I have three children ages 12, 9&1/2, and 4.

The Art of Giving Birth:

When I was 19 I got pregnant with my daughter. It was 1991. I was living with my then husband, R. He worked on oilrigs and did roofing on the side while I made a measly 3.25 at McDonalds. I wanted to have a natural birth and did the Lamaze classes and breathing techniques. I watched What Every Baby Knows religiously and subscribed to Parents magazine. Remember, there wasn’t Internet all over and my family lived in another state. I chose the “Birthing Room” that was made up with flowered wallpaper, a rocking chair and pretty bathroom. I got to have a tape player in there so that I could listen to soothing music while I focused. I was 2 weeks overdue with a baby that did not want to come out. I was in labor for 36 hours. The pain is something I will never forget and I am no wuss. In the final hours, my breathing did no good, the music did no good, I was exhausted and begged a nurse to kill me because I felt like my insides were being split apart. I cried for hours and nothing made it better. When it was time to push, I did it in less then 30 minutes. I had to get an episiotomy or I would’ve been torn apart She was 9 pounds and 4 oz. I was so exhausted that I didn’t get to hold her for more then a minute because I didn’t have the strength. When I was pregnant with my son, I had a gasp! Epidural. I had my music and I was able to enjoy labor and delivery. I was relaxed and though I still had pain, it was not near as extreme. I gave birth to a son who was 9 lbs. 3oz. With my youngest I opted for another epidural but I wasn’t in time so to speak and I got to feel a 9lb. 2 0z baby ripping what was left of me apart. Whee. I also want to add that a midwife may be good for many but for me, I needed to be in a hospital. My homes were not any place to give birth in and I wanted the security of a doctor in case of an emergency. Heck, if my mother would have had tried to give birth at home I probably wouldn’t be here today due to complications at birth. I have a record of large babies. I can enjoy and appreciate the whole birthing process if I am not writhing in pain. That’s just me.

To Nurse My Young:

Yes, I do believe in breastfeeding. I do believe if possible, everyone should give it a try. I know there are lots of benefits to breastfeeding and it can be a wonderful bonding experience. I chose to breastfeed all three of my children. I weaned them at 3 months. I am not against anyone choosing to do it longer. I know many a pediatrician would suggest breastfeeding for the first year. That is fine and for anyone who chooses to hey, go for it, good for you. It just isn’t for me. Not because I love my children any less then someone who chooses to nurse longer but because it was the right choice for me. No specific reason other than I did what worked for my babies and me. Of course back then, and where I lived, people wouldn’t dream of telling you how to FEED your own child. It wasn’t like I removed my breast and handed them a turkey leg. I don’t think my children suffered by that choice at all. And hey I got a formula fed honor student, athelete and thespian. I got a 4 year old who debates whether she wants to be a doctor or a criminologist. She loves to watch CSI to figure out how crimes are solved using Science. She knew the alphabet, could count to 20 in English, 10 in Espanola, could spell her name and hold a conversation as well as any 5 year old before her 2nd birthday. So I’m guessing they didn’t suffer in the intelligence department. I don’t mind women preaching the word of breast milk, however, I do mind when they try to portray me as a lesser mother because I chose my own route.

Sleeping With Baby:

OK well I have TouretteSyndrome and I have been on many medications over the years for it. Oh yea, that’s why I stopped nursing early. So I could take my meds and quit barking. Like I was saying, I took medications that made me sleep heavily. I am prone to nightmares and thrash around a lot. I was doing my children a great service by keeping them out of my bed. I have punched a desk, a nightstand, and my husband in my sleep on many an occasion.

Strap On Baby?

Bad back. No thanks. Not that I never had times where I was soothing a crying baby in one arm and attempting to wipe and flush with the other but strapped to me all the time? No I don’t think that would work. When my babies cried, I went and picked them up and soothed them. Or changed them, or fed them. Babies need to cry sometimes. That is how they communicate and that is how you can interpret what is wrong. It is by the tone and urgency of the cry. Also, it helps to clear the lungs. Plus, I needed ME time to de-stress myself so that I was able to be the best I could be with my children. What good would an unhappy cranky mom be for a baby? So again a full-time baby strapped on was not for me.

I love my children, and there isn’t anything in the world I wouldn’t do for them. I do think I am a good mom and I try very hard. My kids are pretty well rounded and relatively happy. If I were to ask them what do they remember about me when they were little, they’d remember the songs I sang, or the smell of my soap. I asked my 12 year old if she felt cheated by how I raised her in her tender beginnings. She laughed her ahem ass off. Do they feel deprived or unloved? Did I screw up? Kelly still likes to slow dance with me and kiss me good night and listens to what I have to say. I have a mutual respect with all my children. I love them and am convinced they love me too. I did was right for ME in MY family. In my opinion, that is how families should function, as in, what works for a family as individuals and not by what someone else believes is good for you. Walk that mile in your own moccasins. So again, did I screw up? Did I fail as a mother? As a parent? You tell me.

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