Birth and Fear

Today I met a random pregnant stranger who told me some things about birth in Oklahoma that I already knew, VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) is not easy to do, not because it is actually harder than any other labor, but because Oklahoma doesn’t support VBAC.

After meeting this woman, and she had explained to me that she was to have a c-section, because she lived too far from the hospitals who provide other options and she was frightened of home birth, I began to think about fear.

We are often told as laboring moms that we should be able to ‘birth without fear’.  It is the title of a book about birth, it is the phrase most doula’s want to turn into truth for their clients, it is what Midwives hope to accomplish with the women they serve.  But we have far to go before fear is abolished.  And sadly it isn’t just the mothers who are experiencing fear.

Right now, this weekend, the future of home birth is lying in the hands of Senators, they will choose the future of many mothers and their yet to be born babies.  A proposed bill that would say that certified nurse midwives would not be allowed to attend VBAC births anymore will be heard in session Monday.  Another bill (not sure when it will be heard) is saying that certified professional midwives and lay midwives would no longer legally be able to attend home birth.

I have met midwives who are scared for the mothers, scared of each other, and scared that the career they have spent their lives building and love doing will be taken from them. I have seen how they have stood together, and how they have fallen short of being united, but mostly I have seen how scared they are.

But surely the fear stops there?  Sadly no it doesn’t.  Fear is in the hearts of our Dr.s, They don’t practice evidence based care, they practice hospital policy, insurance regulation, and cover your tracks medicine….They are scared that if they miss something vital it will ruin their career, that it will harm someone, that they will loose someone, mother or child.

Doulas are not above the fear either.  Doulas are scared that if they speak up for a client it will soil their reputation with the Dr.s, or even their certifying agency.  Or if they do something that someone might deem as medical, then they will be held responsible for the outcome…. They are also scared that they wont be getting enough business.  Over the last year I’ve heard time and again that doulas all over the state are getting less clients than they have had in the past.  Why?  Why are we getting less work?  No one knows but it is enough to make them worried, and even at times lash out at each other, a network of people that have bound themselves to each other to uphold and support one another.

These are scary times… what are we to do?  What do we tell our clients or patients?  What do we tell ourselves?

The more I consider it, the only answer is found in the Bible.

When I prepared for the birth of my daughter last August I wrote several phrases and bible verses out on paper, and hung them in a corner of my bedroom where I envisioned I would labor and deliver her. Turns out I didn’t really look at any of them in the two hours I labored and delivered my baby.  But in the time leading up to the birth I often fell on one particular verse.  I couldn’t understand why I would be drawn to it, but I was, drawn to the words, the meaning, the essence of the verse.

“‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’” Isaiah 43:1b-2 (NIV)

Do not fear.  You wont be overtaken, You wont be burned…. God gives us several passages in the bible about fear, and how we should not let it control us.  He knows…

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:11-13

He has plans to prosper you, all you have to do is seek him.

Are you scared?  Seek God.

Are you worried?  Seek God.

Are you hurt?  Seek God.

Don’t know what to do?  Seek God.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
The answer to your anxiety, regardless of what it is from; rude treatment of others in your field, litigation, previous birth experiences, the unknown…. all of it is a prayer, a petition, a praise of God away from where you are now.  The peace that has no rightful place in you when you are surrounded on all side with uncertainty, and fear, will come and blanket you; protect you from fear, doubt, and anxiety.
Just Seek God
and
Have a Cherished Birth
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Birth Bag

Birth requires so much preparation!

Every time I think of it I think of how you will have to choose a care provider. Decide how you will decorate the nursery and where baby will sleep?  How will you choose or end up feeding your baby?  Who is going to do the majority of the care?  What daycare will you choose or will you stay home with your baby?  SO MANY THINGS!

One thing that usually gets overlooked, until the very end of pregnancy is the BIRTH BAG!

See there is this notion that when you deliver your baby you are going to want some comfort items from your own home.  AND I FULLY AGREE!!!  But what do you pack?  And then there is also the question of whether you leave it in the car until after baby is born, or bring it up while you deal with contractions and triage.  And don’t forget, when baby is born anything you brought into the room with you to deliver, will need to be transported to the recovery room.

I find it hilarious to think of all the bags and items that will be carried from one room to the next, the fact that mama will also need to be pushed in a wheelchair, whether she needs it or not, and daddy will LOAD that chair with all the bags, and then carry some himself, and the nurse or daddy will push the chair to the new room only to unload it all in a corner and dig through it for the precious items again later.

So the question is, what do you REALLY need to pack?

I’ve got two lists, the minimalist (which honestly I recommend doing, because daddy has to carry everything you bring into the hospital back out) is what I’ll share today.

Mommy Items:

Pillow (hospital pillows are horrible unless you like flat and lifeless in your quality of a pillow.)

Hair brush (before, during or even after birth brushing your hair might be a nice comfort)

Small shampoo and conditioner (think travel size, the hospital will only have baby shampoo)

Toothbrush and paste

Comfortable clothing for going home in.  (please be sure to bring something loose and soft, you won’t want jeans or tight shirts at this point, comfort is everything and pre-pregnancy clothes probably wont fit just yet).

Hair band or Head band, depending on what you would prefer.

Socks

 

Baby items:

going home outfit

Pacifier (this is controversial, and should only be used under perfect circumstances, but having it when those circumstances are perfect is a nice thing, please don’t use it if you don’t need it though).

 

Daddy:

Strong arms (yeah you get to carry all this stuff.

Change or a debit card for snacks or food at the café

 

So that’s the minimalist list, but if you don’t mind carrying a bunch of stuff and/or have not gotten a doula (I highly recommend that you do, and if you do, let her bring all the comfort items, just talk to her about your preferences and she’ll take care of it) then next time I’ll gladly guide you through a much more extensive list of needed or perhaps appreciated items you could consider bringing with you.

 

Have a Cherished Birth!

What was one thing you took with you that you couldn’t live with out?  I’d love to hear about it!

What does it take?

What does it cost to be a doula?

This is really a loaded question.

The reason I’m mentioning it now is because I believe I’ll be up for taking births again in July, I’ve taken some time off, to get used to my new baby, and reevaluate my family life, goals and what it is I hope to achieve with this business.  But I’m getting ready, client or no, to take the business on again, and with that I had to evaluate my costs… and when you add a new child to the family it changes everything, including your fee as a doula.

I’ve had to bump up my price from $500 to $550 for any upcoming births.  This really shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, I was one of the cheapest doulas on http://www.doulamatch.com, and still am. Life costs money though, and since I now have to pay a sitter for 4 kids rather than 3 I had to adjust my fee.  I apologize if this is hard for anyone financially, I don’t want to see anyone birth without the team of people they want present, so please if you are considering a doula, don’t let the numbers daunt you, contact me, or any other doula, some work voluntarily, some have scholarships available, some work for a discount, and most will consider your case individually.  The money should never be an obstacle.

I also had to change my travel distance, I used to travel 90 miles, to do home visits, but that is no longer possible for me.  I will still attend moms who are birthing within my area but live outside of it, so if you live outside the circle of 60 miles of my house, don’t let that hinder you either… We can arrange a place to meet, or I can add a small fee for the extra distance if you are set on me attending you!  And I so wish you would consider me!

That is the logistics of this work, but there is also a great cost that has no monetary value as well. So here it is… what does it cost to be a doula?

When I agree to serve at a birth I have to be mindful of my family, most birth workers are, birth is so unpredictable,  If I accept a birth on or near a holiday, or one of my family member’s birthdays, that means I may miss the time with them, something I will never get back.

When I agree to attend a birth, it means I may miss sleep.  My husband and children may miss sleep too, I may have to wake them all in the middle of the night to carry the little ones out the door and to a sitter’s house.

When I agree to attend a birth, it is going to cost me prayers.  I will lift my family, and yours up to my heavenly father all the way to our agreed meeting place.  My prayers, and KLove fill the empty space in my car all the way to your birth. And often all the way to your home when I meet with you before labor.

When I attend a birth it costs me moments, moments that are then paid back by the incredible love I have for your family, for the new life that is brought into your arms.  It costs my children sympathy, empathy, and prayers, and kindness, sharing and selflessness…. they learn that their mama is helping other mamas bring their babies into their arms.  They learn that their mama is a warrior for the good of others, and that they can be too.  It isn’t one birth that I return from that one of my lovely little children ask me “did you help that mama?” or “was the baby a girl baby or a boy baby?” or “was the baby cute, was the mama and daddy happy?”  And at night as I tuck them in and say their prayers with them when a birth is coming up, I remind them that I may not be home in the morning and they pray with their passionate little voices for the mamas and daddies that are expecting a new baby to be safe, and happy, and have a good birth.

As I see a baby fresh from their mother’s womb and brought to her arms it costs me tears, tears of joy.

When a Daddy holds his son or daughter for the first time, it costs me a little space on my SD card as I click a photo of that moment.

One of the biggest costs I experience, is the wonder, I wonder constantly whether I have done my best, or if I made their space a safe one, a pleasant one, the one they imagined it would be.  Was I a benefit?  Was I helpful enough?  Was I in the way?

None of my costs are ever too much, I gain far more than it will ever cost me.

 

Trust God, not birth

Ever since I was pregnant for the first time 8 years ago the phase “trust birth” has been spoken around me, and in the context of allowing a woman’s body to function the way it was designed to.

The idea is that your body created this baby and will instinctively know how to birth said baby.  While on the surface I agree with this statement I do not agree that as a doula I can tell my clients to “trust birth” or “trust your body”.  The problem with these statements is deep.  On the surface they are good, having trust helps to calm a worried person and certainly adds to the atmosphere of peace that is helpful to a laboring woman,but what exactly are we asking them to trust?  I’m going to disect both statements here.

TRUST BIRTH

Birth is not a tangible thing really.  It varies in intensity for each woman who experiences it each time she experiences it.  Birth is an event.  Birth can be experienced and felt, it can affect a woman and a family for the rest of their lives, but it cannot be ‘trusted’ really.  There are times when we trust, and our trust is broken, birth is certainly not above that.

Birth should be respected instead.  The process of birthing a baby is extremely intimate, intimate in more ways than the obvious.  Birth is a chemical reaction between two independent people to achieve the same goal, separation of an infant from the womb of it’s mother.  Birth is a time when a woman needs to feel secure so that her own brain chemistry does what it is supposed to do to communicate with her child and bring them out of their warm environment into the arms of their mother for a new season of living.

Birth can and sometimes does go wrong.  I am not in anyway saying a woman should fear those things, but trusting birth may also make her feel like she wasn’t good enough if things go differently than she had hoped for.  No we can not put our trust in birth.

Respect is different from trust, respect understands that there is room for emergency, but allows the bodies of both baby and mother to work together without interruption unless an emergency arises and not before.  Being respectful of both mother and child, and their birthing space, not interfering unless needed.

This reminds me of the midwife at my homebirth, she and her assistant waited patiently in the next room for sounds of change, occasionally coming quietly to check on us,listening to fetal heart tones and going back to the neighboring room to wait some more.  They were prepared for emergency but not expecting it, they were watchful for our well-being but respectful of the process of birth.  They were not trusting birth, they were birth guardians.

TRUST YOUR BODY

This also doesn’t make sense to me.  If my body were made to be trustworthy then it should also be predictable, or at least not let me down in other areas.  I don’t think everyone has the same issues I have with my body but while I have delivered two out of three of my babies vaginally without pain medication I have also been let down by my body a number of times,and most of them have little to do with childbirth.  Like when I got severe pain in my knees and ended up with X-ray’s and doctors and appointments that all lead no where… How can I trust my body when it will break down and not tell me why?  How about when my body spontaneously decided that a baby should implant in my right Fallopian tube instead of my uterus?  No my body is not worthy of my trust, it lets me down…

On top of this fact I know that birth isn’t just about my body… Birth is about my body and the body of my baby working together.  If we could trust our bodies alone to bring babies out then the shoulders of some babies wouldn’t get stuck, babies would come gently, slowly and not tear their mothers on the way out (the mothers who have excellent control and don’t push too hard at the end of birth but still that baby flies out and tears her skin).  If we could put our trust in our bodies then we wouldn’t have emergencies in birth… But that doesn’t work either. We simply cannot trust in our bodies for birth, and probably not in anything if I were to tell the truth.

So what can we trust?

I believe the only answer is God.  He designed birth, he designed your body, he knit together your baby while you carried it inside of you, ate healthy and took your supplements regularly.  He made the baby a perfect size, shape, and design for his purpose.

So when birth happens, and we trust not in the event, or our bodies, but in a perfect creator who designed all of the experience, saw it all before it happened, and knew that good would come of it, then we have the freedom to accept whatever comes our way.

When we trust God and his word we know that he has a plan for us, a plan for good and not evil, and if we really believe that then we respect birth, watch over it carefully, and wait to see if God has planned for it to go smoothly or if we will experience ripples along the way.  And the we are able to:

CHERISH EVERY MEMORY

LOVE EVERY MOMENT

EMBRACE EVERY POSSIBILITY.

(the motto of my business.)

God alone is trustworthy, in unmediated/medicated, vaginal/c-section, euphoric/I think I may die, attended/unattended, emergent/non-emergent, at home/in hospital, natural/induced, early/late, fast/slow birth.

Trust God with the birth of your baby.

If you would like to speak to me about how to realistically do this I would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.

Evidence based care and why my opinion doesn’t matter

Yesterday I met up with my lovely doula friends for a nice dinner out.  It was a fun time, I dressed up in my tea party dress and hat and wore make-up, actually I felt a little like a clown with how much eye shadow I had on but I think it probably looked good since my husband didn’t laugh at my appearance… (but that is a different topic).

While we doula’s were enjoying our delicious french food we talked about what doulas usually talk about, female bodies and birth.  We talked about evidence based care too.  We talk about this a lot, but one comment was made that sort of stuck with me, and I’ve been turning it over in my head since.

It was pointed out to us all that while we are encouraged to educate our clients on evidence based care, and to get what they want out of birth we really have no right to tell what ‘we would do’, because it could be construed as us giving medical advice.  As a Midwife put it “it’s a fine line they (doulas) walk.”

I didn’t just learn how fine this line was, it has been a part of my training and an intimate part of every prenatal appointment and birth I’ve ever participated in as a doula.  My area of interest is specifically to be highly educated in evidence based care, so of course my inclination would be for every parent to make choices that would be supported by evidence.  But that just isn’t going to happen, for multiple reasons, and if I made it a priority to have my clients make those decisions I would have a lot of dissatisfied clients and I would not be following the guidelines of my position as a doula with DONA, and I would guess many other doula certifying agencies.

Early in the process of becoming a doula I would get a righteous anger about the situations I saw people (my clients and others) getting into and how they were treated and the lack of evidence based care that I saw them receiving, but then it slowly occurred to me that it didn’t matter at all what evidence said.  Don’t get me wrong, I still would prefer to see my clients receive care that isn’t just done because it’s done, but because it is best for the client and baby, but as a doula I’m not there to make the birth happen the way I want it to happen.  I’m there to make sure, to the best of my ability, that the mother delivering her baby is respected, heard, and feels good about her experience, so that if something goes wrong she can process it and deal with it and it doesn’t become a life long sore spot associated with the birth of her child.  So essentially it is my job to help a mom to make her own medical decisions, and own the decision she makes (which isn’t possible if she made it  because I encouraged it and for that reason only).

It is my job to learn my clients.  It is also my job to be sure I have all the resources to help them learn options during birth.  Those prenatal appointments that I offer my clients are my opportunity to do that.  Even the moms who have no questions and wonder why we spend an hour together (sometimes more) twice before their birth are benefiting themselves greatly by giving me the opportunity to learn them.

During these appointments if a mom says “I think I want to have an epidural during my birth, what will you do if I get one?”  I can respond, “Typically during an epidural birth  my job becomes a lot less physical, but at that point I would make sure that you have all the information you  may desire about what is happening with you and baby, get you and daddy some water or food, or just be with you, watching for signs of progression in your labor.  I typically will bring something to do (like crocheting) while you rest. But while we are on the topic of epidurals is there anything you’d like to know about them that I can help you with, now they are given, what is in them, what effects they have on labor or the baby?”

And then this mom can have an opportunity to ask me about those or other things she wants to know.  Often I will leave them a flyer that describes the risks and benefits of epidural and how they are placed, and let them read it when they want, if they want, and then though I may personally have thoughts or opinions about laboring under an epidural my thoughts and opinions don’t matter one lick, because I’m not the one who will deliver that baby.

My goal as mentioned before is to serve mamas, in a way that makes them feel respected and informed.  I have to have all this information on hand if a mom wants it, but the hardest part is not offering information that is unwanted, I need to take my cues from the mamas.  I can’t offer too much, but need to be sure I give enough, I can’t give my opinion on procedures or care, and I can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter, because what matters to you is very important to me, not only because it is my job but because it is my passion.  To serve mamas is the best calling a woman can have, and I’m blessed to serve.

Are you looking for a doula who will serve?  A doula who cares?  A doula who is concerned about your birth experience?  Then look no further, I’ll be that lady, and if it turns out I’m not the personality for you, don’t worry my service doesn’t limit me, I know plenty of other personalities in the doula world (I had dinner with a few of them last night) and I will help you find the perfect doula for your birth… I’m not under the illusion that I can serve everyone equally, but I am under the opinion that I will do my best for each individual who crosses my path, regardless of what evidence says, regardless of the choices you make, I will serve, that is what I’m here for.

Making Decisions

I don’t often write opinion pieces because I feel that extending my personal opinion can often alienate people, and make them feel as if I wouldn’t understand their position on a mater, but this one has got me on pins and needles to share.

As parents we are faced with decisions that we must make, almost immediately.  A mother might need to make choices about her diet, or her exercise plans from the moment she learns she is pregnant, some even before conceiving are already making choices about their children, like whether to stop smoking before conceiving, or to abstain from alcoholic beverages during the time leading up to conception.  We make choices constantly, and sometimes without much recognition as to how it affects our children, or future children.

One of the first decisions a family will make if they are having a boy is whether they will circumcise him or not.  This is a big deal question, because if you choose to do it there really is no taking it back.  And a lot weighs on a persons mind when they want to research the issue to find out if it is something they want to do.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s my mother was having children and it was common practice in many things to do as your doctor tells you.  Circumcision was one of the things the doctor told her to do, so without much thought she did it.  My brothers and Father were all circumcised.  None of them regret this, but there are a growing number of men and women speaking out about circumcision.

Weeding through the information and studies presented is tough, especially when presented with strong language like “gentile mutilation”.  When you put it that way who in their right mind would choose that for their child?

A few years ago while my business was in a rather long dry spell I was asked to read and review a book on this very mater.  I replied to the e-mail that was originally sent to me with a very cautious response, “I will read it, I said, “but if I feel it is bias I will close the book and never look back.  I’ve read a lot of hurtful things on this subject and while I would love to find something to recommend to my clients I will not waste my time if your book is biased.”

The author was so sweet and replied that she and her co-author had started the book both being very careful not to be biased since so much of the articles in print now are that way, and that she would love to hear back from me if they failed to be non-biased.

This encouraged me and I took to reading the book.  Some parts by the nature of the book were a little graphic in language, and there were a few drawings, but they were crude and if I didn’t know what I was looking at I wouldn’t have understood them, so I felt they were ok as well.  I really don’t  need to know what the adult male penis looks like unless it is my husbands, and at that I don’t need or want any pictures of it, so if I approve of this you know it isn’t that graphic.

Anyway, back to my opinion.  I don’t have one.  Ok, so the evidence suggests that there is actually equal harm in circumcision and not circumcising.  The age and severity of the risks are different in each case, but they are presented in this book as a way to weed through the evidence yourself.

After reading the book and telling the Author I would recommend it to anyone needing information I’m happy to say the book is called ‘The Circumcision Decision‘.  (I’m not being paid by the authors to advertise their book).

Now I have a good resource to hand to my clients, or rather recommend since the only copy I have of the work is not a printed copy.  But there is more to all this than just a book.

I’ve been talking with family and friends and feel that there is a huge miss in the Christian worldview on this issue.

So I’ll start with the beginning.  Why did circumcision start?  It started all the way back in Genesis with Abraham, who was at the time called Abram.  God spoke to him and said he was making a covenant with him, God would make him the father of many nations, and in return Abraham would circumcise himself and all his family and anyone who was in his household including slaves.

Abraham doesn’t seem to hesitate.

He and his wife have a child, and the rest of the people in his household follow suit and circumcision is begun.  (this is obviously a very brief overview, if you need more start in Genesis 17)

What happens next in the world of circumcision?  Moses has his son circumcised.  The passage I’m referring to here is in Exodus chapter 4.  God has told Moses to go and get his people away from Pharaoh and he’s on his way when some things happen in an inn, and then Zipporah Moses’ wife preforms the circumcision while Moses holds his son still.  I won’t speculate too much on this, but Moses had delayed in getting this done, some say it wasn’t long, and others say the boy was 15 years old.. I don’t know, but he’d delayed at least a little, and it seems that Zipporah isn’t very happy to do the job.  She throws the foreskin on Moses’ feet and calls him a ‘husband of blood’.

Honestly I’m not a bible scholar and there are a lot of things here that could be dug into, but I think this woman is a lot like the women now who want to protect their children from circumcision, and the practice of it.  She clearly wasn’t too happy to do the job, maybe she felt it was genital mutilation… maybe not.  All I know is she isn’t happy to do it.

Next up, the new testament.

Now we are skipping a lot of things so bear with me, this isn’t all the bible has to say about it, but I’m cutting to the chase here.

Paul, once named Saul, was on the road to Damascus and has this life altering experience, he stops chasing the Christians to kill them, and starts chasing God and sharing the news of Jesus with everyone he meets.

Peter, a disciple of Jesus, a devout Jew (who would have been circumcised) has a life changing moment in a vision where God tells him not to call what he has called clean; unclean.

Both of these men preach about circumcision in the New Testament.  Both of them actually preach against it.  However, I want to show you WHY they preach against it… In Galatians 5, and even in Romans 3 (just not as clearly I think) Paul is telling these men that they should not be circumcised because then they have no understanding of Grace and they must follow the whole law if they are going to try to have the law guide them to heaven.

At the time these men believed that if they were to be saved they must follow the law, but the law had been fulfilled so Paul was telling them ‘no, don’t do it, if you do then what good was the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins…”  So hopefully I’ve made it clear that what Paul is saying is that circumcision won’t get you into heaven.  It’s true, it wont.

Only Jesus can get people in.

So where then does that lead a good christian when making the decision for or against circumcision…

Here is where… God gave you a beautiful child, he created that child with parts of your DNA.  He created him whole… BUT he also created you, his parents.  He created you with a brain, he created you with passion, he created you with fears, doubts, and joys, and understanding.  He created this child with you in mind.  Only you can parent your child.

But NEVER believe the lie that if one parent wants a child to be circumcised it is because he/she wants to harm the child with no good reason.  It is true that the reason may not be good ‘to you’, but that doesn’t make it a less valid reason.  IF you find that your at a point where the circumcision decision has left you and your significant other head to head in the boxing ring please stop and look at the situation a little better.

God created your child, and he gave that child to you, and your spouse… but what did he give you before he gave you a child?  A spouse (hopefully, I mean I understand that isn’t how it always works, but just give me the benefit of the doubt please).

Before you met this perfect specimen to share your DNA with and create beautiful babies he also gave you an example of what he wanted from your relationship.  He gave you the example of Christ and the Church, the Bridegroom and the Bride.

If your husband truly represented Christ (I know that is a tall order but just pretend here) then you the wife/church, would follow his lead and be respectful of the choices regarding your family that he has made, regardless of why he has made them, or how you feel about the reasons he is using to make them.

IF you as a husband represent the Bridegroom Christ, then you will look at your wife/the church and see that though she may have strong opinions that drive you crazy she also has some good ideas, and is a loving, gentle creature and you love her and if you love her you will respect her, and if you respect her then you will hear her out.

Both parties should be able to talk without name calling, without mean words, and without assuming that they have to protect their child from the other parent.  And in the end when everyone has made their voices heard they should go back to the example of Christ and the Church…

Is Christ ever influenced by the will of the church?  Yes, if not then prayer just wouldn’t work.

Does the Church ultimately have to submit to the will of Jesus whether they like it or not?  Yes, or they are not really followers of Christ.

What I am saying here is that if the husband decides to go with the wife on this issue it isn’t because he’s whipped, it is because he has heard his wife and decided that what she says has merit.

And if the husband does not relent in his ideals for his family and the wife then submits to him, it isn’t a crime, she isn’t being overpowered by her husband, she is letting him lead her family, which is what God called her to do, and is a beautiful thing when done well.

So after all that, am I anti-circumcision?  Am I pro-circumcision?

I’m neither.  I’ve made choices with my husband in regards to my sons genitals, and I’m not sharing those choices here, or the reasons we choose them, (seriously people would you like it if your mom was telling everyone on facebook what she did with your penis as a baby?  It’s personal, so I’ve decided to stop sharing what really isn’t mine to share anymore.

So where do I stand?  I stand on the basis of Marriage.  God didn’t make an example of how to get to heaven based on a mother/child, or father/child relationship, he made it based on a husband/wife relationship.  You need to weigh the pros and the cons together, and stop (if you are) pitting yourselves against each other.

One parent when asking the on call pediatrician to please give their son a circumcision was asked “why” (by the doctor), the answer “For religious reasons”  and he pressed harder, “What religion?” he asked.  “We are Christian” the mother answered.  “Christians don’t do that.” The Doctor stated….

This mother carries that conversation around with her, the first decision she made in regards to her child, (other than breastfeeding which to her seemed less like a decision and more like something you just do) was being questioned, and treated like it was invalid….

But she stood her ground and doesn’t regret it.  She said “It seems to me, that God asked it to be done as an example of how to circumcise our hearts, we have to cut something away, it can not be put back, not ever, we have to rely on God for that now.  I want to teach my boys about that kind of respect for themselves and for God.  We can not be selfish, we have to cut away a part of ourselves to be closer to God.”

Of course as I mentioned earlier circumcision is not what gets you to heaven, but this mother is using it to teach her boys what it means to truly give themselves to God, taking away something in return for something greater… Like Abraham and the promise he received from God.  God said “Take away a part of what makes it possible to have children, and I will make you the father of many nations.”

Other mom’s who choose not to circumcise also stand on the Bible, pointing to Paul’s words and saying it is not necessary… are either wrong?  No… not at all.

The only thing that matters in any decision you make as a parent is that you make it as a team… no one who stands on a mountain alone is exempt from loneliness.

 

 

 

Humanity before birth

This doesn’t promise to be a deep and intellectual post like the title might suggest it would be, I just want to vent a little about babies and birth, and welcoming a new child into a family.

Our birth culture has a phrase, maybe you’ve heard it, that is used VERY often by mothers, and doula’s and midwives (maybe doctors too?).  I see it used mostly on the internet, but I’ve heard people say it too.

“Welcome Earth Side Little One”

When I hear this, or read it, I am baffled by it.  Where was your baby if not on earth when you were toiling in labor for that beautiful child?  Is your child an alien?  Was he or she floating in outer space? While you felt the kicks and punches and rolls in your belly, were you actually feeling the movements like that new Huggies contraption that dad’s can wear to feel what mom feels?  If you have no idea what I’m talking about here is a link.  Was your baby in heaven waiting to be delivered and then you would be able to say that they were ‘on earth’ simply because they were brought out of your belly?  How did they get into your belly in order to come out if they were not there already?  Or were you the mother floating in space your whole pregnancy (I often feel as if Pregnancy brain put me in outer space).

Obviously we know the science, a sperm and egg meet one day and they decide that one plus one equals three and a child begins to form.  We know that after only about 7-9 days that baby is attached to the uterine lining and the placenta is beginning to nourish the baby… we know that we can see them on ultrasound after only about 3 weeks gestation (which is approximately 2 weeks after implantation.  We know that we can count heart beats by using a hand held Doppler at about 8-10 weeks gestation (that is two weeks less than the number the doctor will tell you you are, because your due date is based on your last menstrual cycle not on the baby’s actual age).  We know that using ultrasound technology we can actually see a baby (looks a bit like a gummy bear on a less than stellar ultrasound machine) at about 8 weeks.

All that evidence points to the baby being in a woman’s belly all along, and yet when they are born we coo and gurgle at them and say “welcome earth side!”  I am not trying to make a mole hill into any sort of mountain here, I’m just pointing out what we already know… that baby has been on earth for 9 months already!  We even saw them on a video screen most likely during that time period.

So why do we say it?  I’ve said it, and then felt silly afterward, but here is what I think it boils down to… a baby is sort of abstract during pregnancy.  We feel them move, watch them grow, but we can not imagine the color or texture of their skin or hair, we can not smell them, we can not breathe them in, until they are in our arms.  We hold them in our wombs but can not understand how human they are, how present they have been all along, how emotionally driven they are, until they are born.

There are some who support the idea that a baby in utero has memory, some people even claim to remember when they were born, I’ve heard the testimony of a two year old on her own birth, and if you do a little google search you can hear some children’s account of their own births…. I don’t know if they are parent lead, or if they are actual memories, it is suggested that the part of the brain responsible for memory isn’t developed enough for at least long term memory at that stage of life.  However there is significant evidence of the part of the brain that feels emotions being almost fully developed  in infancy, so some portion of memory may actually exist.  This child has formed some feelings about their birth, about their life before birth, all while being ‘earth side’.

We don’t have to look at this as any sort of significant thought, it really isn’t a significant thought, but what if we stopped acting like a child before birth is some far removed imaginary thing… what could that do for our culture?  Could it change the tide on abortion?  Could it change the way women and their infants are cared for in birth?  Could we begin to see life as having started before birth?  How would that impact us?

Anyway, this is just the random musings of a doula with little else to do but think about babies!  Hopefully not boring, or worse yet, offensive…lol.

Have a Cherished Birth!