Natural birth trend may cause tears

After considering homebirth for the whole 5 minutes my chicken nature won and I just made sure the hospital was nature-friendly. But I let myself believe in the power of natural births. I was imagining no meds, vertical 2nd phase, minimum interventions, maybe some time in the water.

Instead I ended up with the opposite. Many interventions, no dilation, epidural, few doctors and crowd of midwives. Not so natural..

When was the first time I felt guilt? The moment I scream “E PI DU RAL!!!!!!!!”. I let myself down. I let my baby down. I let my mum down. I let freaking Mother Earth down. Me, who can stand any pain, me who advocated for natural births. I took the freaking devil epidural.

Weak, useless looser.

It lasted few MONTHS. Not weeks, not days. Months. That horrible feeling of shame, regret and guilt. So many nights I cried. I would cry each time a friend of mine gave birth without epidural.

A part of me was certain all the complications were due to my inability to stand the pain of efing powerful twin contractions every 1-2 minutes for 12h. My inability to deal with the pain like I should. After all, as a woman I was destined to feel it and deal with it!

Because of the natural parenting trend I felt like a failure. I felt guilty. Tears and tears. Postpartum hormones did not help. I felt disgusting. How could I ever be a good mother, how could I ever take proper care of my daughter, if I couldn’t even give birth like nature programmed me to? I mean, nature would make it pain-free if it should be pain-free…

In those desperate moments I completely forgot about the times when epidural, oxytocin and maternity wards were not yet invented. Before births were moved to the hospitals, women died and babies died. Years ago, me and my daughter would probably be a part of that dark number.

It took me time to straighten out the facts, to realize that what made my labour complicated existed before administration of epidural and oxytocin. These drugs didn’t complicate anything, they didn’t slow down what was already too slow. Those drugs didn’t make my labor less natural, they made it safe. They helped.

Because of medicine, thanks to pharmaceutical companies, thanks to science, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The only thing I had to deal with was an awful episiotomy scar and temporary loss of bladder control.

Why is fighting with pain a bad thing? How many of us have our teeth done without some kind of anaesthesia?

So remember, a birth plan is not a bible. It’s just a guide that may need to be changed, adapted to the situation. No matter how it goes the only important thing is to welcome a child into the world. Epidural, medicalization of births, oxytocin and all the rest, were invented for the reason.

The natural, attachment, back to the caves trend can be so dis-empowering if you ‘fail’ at it. The pressure we put on ourselves because other women ‘can/did/do’ what we couldn’t is awful. Don’t let it do to you what it did to me. Just give birth in the most comfortable way (whatever it means). Trust your body, breathe, push, relax. Don’t expect anything, go with the flow and see what every minute brings.

And as for the epidural – it’s freaking awesome!  Take it if you can and want! Peace! #reluxmum

PS: It was originally titled “Natural birth my ass”. I still like it better. Can I change?

Fear for a multilingual child

I’m a monolingual parent of a multilingual child.

This is a post without tips and solutions. It is for me to check if I’m alone and nuts with my fears and at the same time, to let others know they’re not alone with their fears and nuttiness.

I spent 23 years of my life in one country, using only one language. Although my English education started in preschool, and although I consider myself fluent, I will never call myself bilingual (even though I am by definition). I had 3 years of German that resulted only in me understanding a bit and 3 years of Italian that is forgotten from not using, but speeded up my French education. I understand French, can have quite normal conversations, can read, but I stopped believing I will ever write properly.

On the other hand my daughter, not even yet 3yo speaks Polish fluently, English very well and next year will start preschool in French (one of official languages in Switzerland). When she starts school she will learn German for years (another official language of Switzerland). In other words, if we stay here, at my age she will be fluent in 4 languages at least. Which will be her native? I have no idea, she will have to decide.

And while I know all the benefits of multilingualism, it sometimes breaks my heart.

1. I feel like our relationship will lack the element of common childhood. As soon as she goes to school at the age of 5, she will sink into French rhymes, books and movies. It will be so hard to keep up with Polish without Polish surroundings and friends who would have same Polish-themed passions. I can’t quite explain it, I never planned to live abroad and I’ve always imagined it all happening in my home country.

2. I won’t be able to help her with her French essays the way my parents helped me with mine (explaining poetry, discussing, proofreading etc.). For me, it was an important element of the relationship with my parents. They’ve always discussed work with each other and I always shared school details with them. I can’t yet imagine same kind of bond with Z, as I will never be confident enough with my French.

3. I fear I won’t be able to understand her friends and so – exist in her social life. Sure, I can understand a lot of French now, but switch to slang and pop-culture jargon and you could as well be speaking Chinese…

4. What if she marries a non-native Polish speaker (which is what is going to happen)? Will Polish no longer be our family language? Can I cope with that? How?

5. As you probably noticed I am very attached to where I come from. I love my country. It is also the only country I understand 100%. I want Z to share my passion but will I be able to pass it on?

6. She will speak Polish, I have no doubts about it. But will I manage to teach her to write and read? Without these skills she won’t be able to ever feel truly Polish, or will she?

7. So many times I wonder if multi is really better than solid roots in one place? Surely that means I am not really made for being an international citizen, but also I never claimed to be one. So am I a material for a parent of a multilingual child brought up in international place?

To be honest, no week passes without me seriously considering moving back to Poland, to raise my child the way I know how to, in the place I know how to. Would she hate me for taking away multilingualism and multicultural life away from her?