Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to the Middle Part 2

I was the definition of 'breastfeeding nazi'. I was absolutely militant in my stance that every mother who desired to be a 'good' mother, should at least try breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was my entrance card into the Good Mother Club. Without the card, you were obviously, not a good mother.

I was visiting websites like local attachment parenting sites, and the forums. Everything I was seeking out, and being told, affirmed my position. I was probably the most closed minded I'd ever been in my life. I remember having a fight so serious with a friend of mine, that it almost ended our many-year long friendship. My online 'friends' considered this a reasonable loss- if we can not agree about parenting (not just have tolerance, but agree!), then maybe we were not suited to be friends. My heart ached and I wasn't sure how to fix it, but I was also being backed up by my fellow militant mamas so I struggled between my heartache and my closed mind. I went along with the group I'd chosen - I was willing to sacrifice what needed sacrificing, because I had proof my way was right - I was a good mother.

A few years later we got married and decided to have another baby. I'd been hearing about this book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler - that women could know their own cycles? That we could understand our bodies better than doctors? This was right up my alley. Doctors only wanted to sell you drugs and surgeries anyway- they didn't know jack shit about a woman's body or a baby's ability to fight off disease. It was all about getting you in for those well baby check ups so they could get the money from your office visit and sell you vaccines- not because you actually needed to be checked on every year.

This distrust in the 'system' was growing. I kept finding places where I'd been told one thing, and then found out that there was an entirely new aspect that I never knew about- that would have vastly changed my relationship with whatever it was. I was willing to believe almost every conspiracy, almost every anti-establishment reason for things being the way they were. I wanted a pediatrician who not only could handle my points of view, but would be supportive as well - of our non-circumcising, non-vaccinating, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, gentle discipline lifestyle. I wanted someone who would be happy to see us, relieved even, to have the family who did things 'right' show up, after hours and hours of the 'sheeple' coming through for their antibiotics and questions about crib safety. We'd be the oasis.

Well, that never happened. I found a couple of pediatricians who were pretty cool but definitely didn't see things our way- and so we just stopped really going to a lot of appointments. Part of that was that I didn't feel there was much for them to offer me, but the other piece of that was that despite the fact that I was not adversarial with my providers, (I am the inherent diplomat most of the time!) - the respect was not always extended the same way. This was not helping my point of view that most providers just wanted to make that sale and didn't truly care about you as a family, or as a person.

Let's just say it out loud: I was jaded. I thought I knew the big secrets that had been withheld from me. All the websites were saying it! "Buy this product and find out the secret the medical establishment has been keeping from you!" "What do you mean you had your baby circumcised? Don't you know the pediatricians sell the foreskins to make-up companies? Of course they recommended circumcision!" I knew I was right- confirmation was everywhere.

Eventually I became a doula. In the first year of my doula practice (thankfully I didn't have many clients lol), I thought that my job was to help women understand why an unmedicated birth, and especially a homebirth, was best for them and their babies. I wasn't listening to women tell their stories, I was looking for an 'in' so I could drag them to my way of thinking. My respect for women extended only so far in that they did what I thought was best for them.  Good mothers had their babies at home, outside of the establishment. Good mothers wanted autonomy, to dip their own urine and to say NO to weight checks. Good mothers were practically midwives/pediatricians/obstetricians themselves - why did they need hospitals unless they were sick or high risk? I was guilty of doing to women, in my practice, in my friendships and on the web - what I was so pissed off was done to me by the medical community. Do it my way, or you are wrong. I know best for you, you can't choose for yourself!