The Support System I Did Not Want
This is dedicated to the mamas who didn’t choose to go this route alone.
This is dedicated to the mamas who are stubborn and don’t want help.
This is dedicated to the mamas who think they have no one else to turn to.
We deserve to be nurtured and cared for while we bring a new life into this world.
Yes, it took two to create and for some reason you are here by yourself surrounded by hospital staff.
It’s okay to ask for help.
Disclaimer: Sharing my story with you now, I write from a very different place than where I was at the time these events happened. Tremendous healing and forgiveness has come over me and my little family. Please understand that I do not write this to cause further harm but to simply share how dark it can get but that there will always be a light in places where you least expect.
As I alluded to in a prior post, my pregnancy journey was anything but enjoyable. Physically, I am grateful that both my baby and I were healthy. But my heart was absolutely shattered to pieces and healing from the pain seemed like a distant option. I was holding on for dear life. It can be detrimental for a pregnant woman’s health to go without kind words, love and even so much as a hug during her entire pregnancy. I didn’t have someone to share special moments with such as feeling our son move for the first time. If I had a craving I satisfied it by taking myself to the store or with a simple Postmates delivery. Straight up, my outcome would be drastically different if it weren’t for my cousin and a very small circle of friends who were strong enough to be with me.
Abandoned by the one who I thought would stay by my side through good and bad, I was determined to give birth alone. To protect myself and my baby, I began to build my walls higher and stronger than ever before. I could not risk being hurt any further. I went into the mindset that my friends did not need to see me in pain during labor. So as not to cause more stress for either party, my poor mother who doesn’t always understand me would be asked to remain in the waiting room. It was just going to be me and hospital staff welcoming my son into the world. Because I no longer wanted to be a burden to anyone, I even went as far as considering a ride-share option to get to the hospital if/when my water broke.
Aside from a one-day, four hour birthing class filled with heterosexual couples, I was about to try to endure labor on my own, for as long as possible, without drugs. Hospital tours fail to emphasize that nurses would remain present during the entire labor process if the mother doesn’t have a support group in place. My eyes glazed over any chance of asking that question because all I could see were the couples taking hospital tours together. This was another stab to my already broken heart. Pregnancy seemed to fly by as I spent most of it preparing my home and getting necessary paperwork in order. Labor and delivery was the part of my journey that I was dreading the most and therefore procrastinated studying up on birthing techniques.
A dear friend and experienced mom knew what was on my heart and desperately wanted me to have a supported birth experience. At approximately two months away from my due date I was referred to Belli Bliss Doula Services. Sarah, the owner, and I met at a coffee shop to discuss my pregnancy, birth plan and options. In talking with peers and other women, I was surprised by how many ladies do not know what a doula is or the services they provide. In short, a doula is a woman who is trained to assist pregnant women during childbirth. The doula may also provide prenatal and postpartum services as well.
I always preach to my clients that it is important for them to surround themselves with a team of people who can help him or her achieve the common goal and allow the business owner to continue doing what they do best. It was time I take my own advice. Because I couldn’t afford to be stubborn, I figured it was better for me to enjoy my delivery as opposed to bringing this baby into the world alone. Sarah and I officially began our journey together two weeks prior to my due date. Conversations with her allowed me to view natural labor in an entirely new light. Her resources gave me a new set of tools to utilize when the time came. I also felt confident that I could call on her in the event that I needed to be taken to the hospital to give birth to my son. When the day came that I was admitted to labor and delivery for an induction, Sarah showed up quickly. It was comforting to know that she already had an established working relationship with the hospital. Her arsenal contained a variety of healthy snacks and tools to ease my labor pains. The heating pad and massages were a Godsend and allowed me to continue through several hours of early labor as opposed to resorting to pain medication right away. During each transition of the process, Sarah talked me through what to expect. After many hours I, unfortunately, had to have an emergency C-section. Again she was right by my side to keep me calm in the operating room. Once my son was safely delivered by the doctor Sarah stayed with us in recovery up until I was moved into a postpartum room.
Sarah's postpartum follow-up meant more than I would realize. She paid a visit to me and my son after we came home from the hospital. We went over some lactation issues I was having which included how to operate my electric breast pump. Sarah paid attention to little details and it made a world of difference. After having a baby, be it via vaginal delivery or due to surgery, even the simplest tasks become a challenge. I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Often times that village consists of mostly women. Women helping women; this is not a new concept. I encourage you to look into doula services. My dear Sarah’s positive energy and knowledge was an incredible asset to the end of my pregnancy journey.
In addition to Sarah's presence, I allowed my immediate family and three close friends to be in attendance. When things began getting super serious I still kicked everyone out of my birthing room except two. My intention is not to diminish the love and contributions of those closest to me. It's just that sometimes it is hard to get over feeling like a burden when one has been made to feel that way after a long period of time. I'm glad I brought my son into the world on terms I was comfortable with. It ended up being just the right kind of love we needed.