The role of support on the road to motherhood

20180411201829This post is something I’ve been thinking on for a while and I finally decided to share my thoughts. Some of this may be hard to word, so please bear with me. Although this is something that’s been said so many times already, I’m going to say it again: support is important. It’s especially important on the road to motherhood, which includes pre-pregnancy (trying for a baby), pregnancy, labor & delivery, postpartum, and of course, actual motherhood. It seems like such a simple concept, yet for some reason there is so much negativity that get’s thrown at mothers and soon to be moms.

I’ll be real with you, it’s hard. I wasn’t expecting the pregnancy part of it to be hard, but it is. Support is the real deal and – dare I say – necessary? This is not to say that women can’t do it on their own, because they can and do (shout-out to you single moms, military moms, etc. who are on this journey without a partner). It is simply something that I felt the need to reiterate based on some of my experiences so far with this pregnancy.

Let’s agree on something real quick; negativity has its place, but that place is NOT in discouraging a mom or mom-to-be from doing things the way she believes is right. Everyone has a different opinion and this is especially true when it comes down to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and motherhood. I’m not saying that we all have to agree – I understand and hope that we will always have different opinions because that’s what makes things interesting. Perhaps it’s the way that we disagree that is the problem. If a new mom or mom-to-be shares a decision she has made regarding her pregnancy, birth, or motherhood, can we just agree to think before we respond? If we disagree with that person’s decision, why can’t we simply say that we disagree? If that person wants to know why, they will ask. Otherwise, they remain in a position where they don’t feel attacked for doing things the way they think is right. So often I see pregnant women getting demeaned for wanting to do things a certain way during their pregnancy or for wanting a specific type of birth. Even more often I see mothers get evil glares, harsh words, and criticism for choosing to raise their child the way they believe is right.

Most of us who are expecting a baby have done so much research on the topic of pregnancy and childbirth that we could write an A-level college essay on it. We probably know most of the risks vs rewards of different ways of doing things and have made up our minds accordingly (by weighing the rewards and risks that are most important to us). We realize we don’t know everything and we realize we can always learn more, but it’s degrading to come at us with negativity because of the way we’ve chosen to do something.

Think about this scenario; a young (or not so young) woman has just confided in you that she has chosen to have a water birth, c-section, medicated birth, or any other type of birth for that matter. We have a few choices when responding:

  1. Encourage her and show support of her decision (either agree or disagree, but in a way that still supports her decision to do things differently than you would).
  2. Degrade or attack her, or talk about all the negative aspects of her decision (thus discouraging her in what she has spent so much time researching to decide on).
  3. Thank her for sharing and say nothing else.

Choice 1 is likely to make her feel loved, supported, and encouraged. Choice 2 is very unlikely to change her mind if she has made her decision…it is more likely to hurt her, push her away, and cause her to second guess the decision she has made (or even her own ability to make decisions). Choice 3 leaves the situation neutral. I feel like this can easily be resolved by simply putting yourself in the place of the other woman. I can’t imagine that any one of us would want to have our decision degraded or have someone respond to it with negativity…so that leaves us with choices 1 or 3, either of which are acceptable.

I realize this is getting a bit long-winded and that’s probably because this topic has been on my heart for a while. I think it boils down to this – whether or not you are a Christian (I am), this verse is good in both theory and practice: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Luke 6:31.

To say I could do this pregnancy without support would be a complete lie. There has not been one day that’s passed since being pregnant (217 days and counting) that I haven’t needed to pray, read God’s word, or hear my husband tell me I’m beautiful. I have been extremely blessed to have such an amazing support system. My family has been so encouraging and my husband’s family has helped us out in numerous ways. The excitement and prayers from my family and friends have been more valuable than almost anything else. My mother has been simply a necessity for me during this time – especially regarding my health. I have chosen to have a very natural pregnancy with as few interventions as possible (only 1 “optional” ultrasound) and her knowledge in natural health has been invaluable. Her gentle suggestions and support of my decisions are something I will be forever grateful for. I know that many women lack such a strong support system and I truly feel for them; I’m extremely blessed to have so many people encouraging me and wish that all women could be granted such a level of support.

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Before I wrap up, I want to give a quick shout out to my husband. He has been so extremely supportive of me during this entire process. (If you haven’t read it yet, I have a post here that explains our struggle with being excited for this pregnancy since it was unexpected). Not only does he pray for me and our little one on the way, he works so hard to provide for us both. He listens to my concerns yet always reminds me of my strength in God. It is his words “you can do it, I know you can” and God’s reminder (Phil 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”) that have been the truest encouragements thus far. I know I will be clinging to them through the next few weeks and especially during labor/delivery and postpartum.

In love and encouragement to you all,

Madeline

2 Comments

  1. April 13, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    I’m so thankful to hear that you have this kind of support! It’s hugely important during pregnancy, but is also the #1 factor people have told me contributed to their postpartum depression if they had it (but was not a contributor to mine; I had amazing support after both babies).

    • April 13, 2018 / 9:36 pm

      Yes, it truly is important at all stages of this journey! I’m hoping I will not have to struggle with ppd…I have read some of your struggles with ppd and have nothing but respect for you!

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