I often hear people say "I support breastfeeding... just not in public."
I don't think this is often meant to be cruel, but they are inadvertently stigmatizing breastfeeding as something dirty and inappropriate.
Among those who are ok with public breastfeeding many will say, "well, as long as she covers up," which is really just as bad.
And to many others, like a curse word or a short skirt, there are some places that the breastfeeding baby and mom just do not belong in our culture... like church.
Last week fellow Birth Boot Camp instructor, Janie Oyakawa, was interviewed by a radio talk show on whether or not breastfeeding in church is a distraction to other members of the congregation and whether it belonged behind closed doors. The topic came about after the following was published in Ft. Worth Magazine:
Q: I was in church last Sunday, and a woman in the row ahead of me began breastfeeding halfway through the service. I’m a big proponent of women breastfeeding their babies, but it was very distracting during a time that I wanted to focus on the sermon. What is proper church etiquette regarding distracting behavior during worship?
As a woman who has breastfed all six of her babies in church, Janie was the perfect person to share some insight. The radio show hosts were two clearly conservative men, but by the end of the interview Janie had them both thinking about whether it was breastfeeding, or our culture, that was the problem. I was totally cheering her on as I listened!
I especially loved comparing nursing under a cover to drinking coffee under a blanket, well done Janie!
You can hear the interview here.
I encourage everyone to listen and share, maybe someone you know hasn't thought about why bottle feeding, covering up, or leaving the room is difficult for a breastfeeding mother and baby.
You can read Janie's blog at The Mom of Oz.
I'm a country girl (I actually met a very pregnant Sam at a party in a barn) so of course I'm gonna love the story that starts with learning about birth through raising livestock in the FFA!
I finished my birth story finally! Thanks for the encouragement to get it done quickly. I hope that it will ease other's minds about a home birth. Let me know when you post it. I would like to see how people react or if they have any questions. ENJOY!
An Epic Birth Story
Going into labor, I really had no fears at all. I knew that I could do this—I have seen it multiple times before. I was in Future Farmers of America, so I watched and helped all of my animals give birth. I also took several reproduction courses in college and became AI (Artificially Inseminate) certified. Yes, labor looked difficult. Yes, it sometimes took a while, but nature always worked everything out in the end. A female’s body is built to do this. Just give it time and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. This was my mentality as I had decided to have an unmedicated home birth. I hated the idea of hospitals—the germs, the number of people involved, the limited amount of things you can do or eat, the possibility of your baby being taken out of your sight, the push for drugs and vaccines, and even the screaming women in the rooms next to you. I did not want any of that. I wanted my birth to be private, comfortable, and as relaxing as labor could possibly be. After all, I learned in college that labor occurs quicker when the female is comfortable, well nourished, well rested, and has no predators nearby (luckily, humans are high up on the food chain!).
The contractions began irregularly the evening before my birth. My husband, Aaron, and I went on a 45 minute walk to see if it could help make the contractions more regular. It worked, putting them at about 10-15 minutes apart. The contractions did not really bother me. I still did housework as usual, but every now and then I would have to stop and allow my belly to ease up a bit. I ate a good dinner and went to bed early that night. I knew it was starting.
I woke up at 3:30am, not because of the contractions, but because I was starving again. My awesome husband cooked up a gourmet breakfast while I started some laundry (nesting was still kicking in!). I went back to bed after eating.
I woke up again around 8:00am. Hungry again, so I ate AGAIN. My body was definitely fueling up for the high endurance workout it was about to face. My contractions were now about 6 minutes apart. Still not close enough to call the midwife over, but I did call her to ask for a few pointers. She told me to get an acupressure massage. Sounded good to me! A massage while in labor? Sign me up! I called the masseuse and set an appointment for 1:00pm. Time to watch some cartoons to get my mind away. (Don’t judge. What else is funny on TV at 8:00am?)At 1:00, the masseuse came over and set up her table. I was extremely excited to get a massage. The contractions were still about 6 minutes apart and not bothering me a whole lot.
And so she started, but it was not the massage I was expecting. This massage HURT! Talk about really getting your mind off of your contractions! She hit all kinds of
pressure points, up and down my back and legs. She pressed them hard and for
what felt like forever. I endured the whole thing trusting my midwife’s knowledge and expertise. And it worked! By the time the massage was over at 3:00pm, my contractions were 3 minutes apart. These contractions were strong. These contractions were the real deal. Housework was not an option now.The midwife, Leslie, arrived. She wanted to check where I was, then go get some dinner and come back. Most first-time labors are long and slow anyway, so I was alright with that. She checked me. “You are a -1.” she said.
My jaw dropped. “We better head to the hospital then, if I haven’t even begun yet.” I responded.She just laughed and said “I am not going anywhere--he is already making his way down, you are at 6cm. On a scale of 4 being not descended at all, and -4 being completely out, you are a -1. You are surprisingly calm to be already this far into labor.” Well, that’s good to hear. I can do this. We are halfway there. Hopefully the second half is just as easy.
I was hungry again. I ate some grapes and chicken noodle soup as Aaron began filling the large inflatable tub in the middle of the living room. As soon as it was ready, I jumped in. The water was so nice. Warm, relaxing, and it eased a lot of pressure. The contractions were very strong by this point. So strong, that every muscle in my body was beginning to chime in and contract too. Aaron was rubbing my back and whispering little encouragements to me with every contraction. I constantly was changing positions to find the one that gave me the most relief. I flipped to hands and knees. I had the urge to push. “Is it okay to push? Is it too early?” I asked Leslie. I did not want to wear myself out too soon. She nodded and said that I would know when I was ready. I looked at the clock; it was close to 5pm.
The pushing began. Every muscle in my body squeezed with all of its strength. My arms, legs, abs, back, lungs, stomach, EVERYTHING pushed. My body was squeezing so tight that I began throwing up with every contraction. Luckily, sweet Leslie had a pan ready to catch it every time. After an hour of pushing, I told my midwife and husband that I was going to “rest this one out.” I was tired. Every muscle was sore
from all the exercise. I wanted a longer break than just 2 minutes. I felt the urge coming on to push. I tried with all of my might to not push, but to relax instead. My body still pushed regardless of what my mind wanted. That is the point when I knew I had no control what-so-ever. My body was in control—I was just along for the ride of a lifetime. Like when you see people getting shocked with those cardio arrest things. You lie there, get shocked, every muscle squeezes, and then go limp again. My body DID know what it was doing. I was hindering my labor by trying to control the pushes. I relaxed. The pain would come and go as endorphins filled me. It was like a natural high, everything a blur, my body tingling. I got into a squatting position, Aaron consistently rubbing my back and shoulders still as his arms wrapped around me. I buried my head into his chest. I didn’t cuss. I didn’t bite. I just groaned with every contraction. The groaning helped. It gave me some extra umph. 6:30pm. Another push, this time a pop, a burst. Did my uterus just explode? No, there isn’t enough pain to be that drastic. I felt a rush of fluid and realized that my water had just broke.
Why does it take so long for a baby to come down and out 4 inches? This is taking
FOREVER. These contractions are strong. I am exhausted.6:50pm. Another push, but this time it burned. I sucked in. Ahh, some relief. Another push—oh no, I can’t suck in and push! Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow! My midwife looked at me and said to breath long breaths out. Not to push down, but concentrate that energy and push up and out. It worked. I used the contraction to push a long breath out while allowing time for my baby’s head to stretch the last little bit. I reached down and felt his hair. My husband was ready to catch. The next urge was coming. I looked my husband in the eyes one last time. He gave me a kiss to the forehead which gave me the confidence and strength to give it all I had. The contraction was here. I pushed, his head was out. I was not stopping there. I had a little more and I did not want to drag this on for one more contraction. I pushed harder, he turned a quarter turn and was out. He began floating up between Aaron and I. We caught him and brought him up to the surface together. Our baby took his first breath. 6:55pm and we had done it. Epic Karl Magenheim had arrived!
We sat there together in the tub as a family, just staring into each other’s eyes. Our baby was so awake, so aware, so calm, and so happy to be held by the voices he had heard so often. He was strong, able to move his head some already, and looked just like his dad. We got out of the tub. Aaron took the baby while I went to shower up and crawl into bed. All of my muscles were sore. It was hard to stand.
After I got comfortable, the midwife brought me some food. I chowed down while she did the weigh in and measurements. He was 9lbs and 22.25 inches long. Everyone was in disbelief. I had just delivered a big baby and did not even tear. After I finished the plate full of food, Epic decided it was his turn. I allowed him to gather up his own strength to find his food. It was incredible to see him instinctively wiggle and squirm his way around to find my breast. I did not assist him as he found what he was looking for. He latched on and was eating like a champ after only being in this world 25 minutes! This is what nature intended. This is the birth that I had imagined. It was an Epic birth.
If you would like to share a birth story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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