I have suddenly realised over this past week that I am not a normal Mum. I wonder if I will ever be?
Part of me wants to be, so I can feel a part of a community but part of me never wants to lose the perspective my little loves have given me.
But right now I feel so disconnected with other mothers. Especially around conception and birth, and I have a fear this disconnect will continue into motherhood.
This realisation came on as I started once again listening to my favourite birthing podcast, Australian Birth Stories with Sophie Walker. I listened to it non-stop before I had Mackenzie. I found such strength and comfort from the podcast; it was such a source of information and reassurance that every birth was its own thing of beauty. I was obsessed. I was even lucky enough to tell Mackenzie’s birth story on it. It really is a beautiful resource and I recommend it to everyone.
I haven’t listed to it for a while now though. I just couldn’t bring myself to listen to it after all we have been through. However, in the past two weeks I have begun listening again as we begin preparing for the third trimester.
Listening I heard the familiar voice of Sophie and settled in to fall in love once again, but so far every story has triggered me, making me feel so alone. This isn’t Sophie’s fault, she is amazing in the gift she gives of sharing stories; and it isn’t the mothers who are sharing such a special day of their life either. But I am changed. Deep inside me.
I now look at birth as a miracle not a right. It is a process of getting a baby safely into the world. I feel like people forget that birth can be dangerous. As long as the baby and mother are both safe and healthy then it was a success isn’t it?
However, we have birth plans and society pressures of what is deemed a ‘good birth’. Anything that deviates from a natural birth (I hate the term natural so I say vaginal), with no drugs, no complications, delayed cord clamping, skin to skin and easy breast feeding is made to feel a failure. Not everyone feels that way, but you can hear it in people’s voices as they tell their stories, they explain away what didn’t go to plan.
But can we really plan a birth?
In the past four years I have given birth (which others would deem ‘undesirable’ but I loved), had my child die my arms, lost three pregnancies, had multiple chemical pregnancies, undergone nine rounds of IVF, had countless surgeries and injected myself most days for the past three years. Because of this I struggle to see birth the way I used to.
Now when I hear the birth stories of others I notice comments about failing if they had to have a caesarean, I hear disappointment as they explain they needed drugs; I notice post-natal depression caused by having a birth plan that did not go the way they expected. I hear stories of people who talk about how hard IVF when the first round was successful or complaints about having to take medication for a few weeks of pregnancies. Don’t even get me started on home births, my soul just wants to scream.
All of these stories trigger me.
I am sorry for feeling this way.
I know everyone’s stories are special and valid.
I know that for many those moments are considered hard because it is the worst they have been through.
I know in my mind and in my heart we should never judge or compare pain.
I know we should never shame anyone from telling their truth or their pain.
Trust me, I hate feeling this way and I know it isn’t fair on others but I have to be honest in myself and how I am feeling.
I can’t connect to these stories anymore. I don’t recognise myself in any of them.
It isn’t you, it’s me. My perspective is forever changed.
I hope this feeling eases. I don’t want to feel disconnected. Am I alone in this? Have others felt this way?