Congratulations! Welcome to motherhood.
I blogged that you were in labor and that your birth was being broadcast, then went to put my own baby to bed, fell asleep with her and returned at 10:51 p.m. Pacific time – five minutes after your birth. I did get to watch you give that placenta a push and you are one fine placenta pusher.
Your internet birth wasn’t the only phenomenon that I missed. As you told ABC News, “If I were in a classroom, I’d be teaching about development. It was a way for me to teach… A way for me to use myself as a textbook.”
Indeed you were.
The other internet phenomenon I missed was the live discussion that your birth sparked, which I’m sure you anticipated. One of the best pieces of advice I got when my baby was born was to wait about a month before going back and watching my birth video. I am really glad I did. In your case, I would wait awhile before reading other peoples’ play-by-play reactions to your birth and comments on the mainstream media articles about your birth plans.
The nature of the internet in general has caused two somewhat incompatible elements to collide. On one hand, people have the desire to discuss things they see on television, read in the paper or see online. This opens the door to philosophical, theoretical and rhetorical discussions which might be reflective or reactive. On the other hand, no one is more than one degree removed from anyone else on the internet and theoretical discussions about issues impinge upon the telling of one’s story, as anyone who’s ever had their head ripped off on the internet can tell you.
I suppose you already know this, but you’re going to hear a lot of people talking about the way you gave birth. Some will be calling you crazy for not just getting an epidural earlier or for broadcasting your birth in the first place, others will be pissed about how the birth was medically managed by the midwife. You probably have a thicker skin than most if you were willing to broadcast your birth live.
When I gave birth both times, I started worrying about the details of the births. I was yearning for someone to tell me that I had done things right. At some point, I realized that what I was really trying to do was bridge the chasm between the mental knowing that I would be fine and a deep emotional sense that all would be well. I rationalized myself out of screaming OH MY GOD I JUST WENT THOUGH A HUGE EVENT AND IT WAS A HUGE LIFE TRANSITION AND I AM SCARED AND HAPPY AND SAD AND GRIEVING THE WAY THINGS WERE BUT EXCITED ABOUT WHAT LIFE HAS BECOME AND HOLY CRAP I AM TIRED AND CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THAT I AM OKAY AND IT IS ALL GOING TO WORK OUT?!
Life transitions can be hard enough without listening to our own head pick apart our own decisions and trying to gain order over the events by sorting out what we could and couldn’t have controlled, let alone with thousands of strangers on the internet chiming in.
However, I’m still going to jump on the advice train.
Put your baby to the breast as often as you want. Don’t worry about schedules. Tell all of your friends who don’t have kids—at 23, I’m sure you have a lot of friends without kids—to get their butts over to your place to tidy up, drop off meals and hold the baby while you shower. Shower yourself in support.
You are going to be fine.
Thanks for bravely sharing your birth with the world.