What got me into this crunchy, birthing world?
…Alice once followed a white rabbit into its hole, tumbled into a strange world, and the rest is history. About Me? Though I don’t have a looking glass like Alice, and no white rabbits were involved (or Mad Hatters), I followed a flighty dream of having a home birth. It took me down a twisty turny path and found myself in a unusual birth world without a midwife or even a friend as a doula. But let’s back up a little bit.
Who Am I?
When reading blog posts I always find it interesting to read an introduction to know some of the background story of the author. Somehow it’s like overhearing another mom chatting at the playground with her friend. I can find out so many interesting tidbits that make me feel like she is already my friend before I’ve even worked out in my mind how to introduce myself to her. Well, here you are reading my first post and perhaps you and I will become fast friends one-day soon. But before that happens, what will you overhear (or read) that piques your interest in what I have to say?
I haven’t always been crunchy.
Far from it. In fact, I’m going to guess that a fair number of people who know me in real life are blissfully unaware of how granola I’m becoming on the inside. That transformation began when I became a mother. Is that right? No, not quite. A little before that… When I got married? Almost, but still just a teensy bit earlier than that. A family friend, upon hearing of our engagement, took me aside and encouraged me to learn about natural family planning, charting my cycles, and learning to pinpoint the day of my ovulation.
Okay, I know this is crazy and a bit silly, but at that time (2013) it had never even occurred to me that ovulation was in the middle of my cycle. What?! Right?! I know. I had extremely limited understanding of my fertility. To be honest, I was pretty content at that time not knowing for a number of reasons. One: I was a virgin so I didn’t need to know about ovulation to avoid pregnancy scares. Two: I had never been on birth control, so I wasn’t worried about my hormones or my cycle. Three: I have always wanted to have lots of children someday. My fiancee and I had already agreed we wouldn’t be preventing at all. Four: I assumed that intimacy and pregnancy go hand in hand.
Laughing at that version of me are you?
Well, I still look back and marvel at the difference between the me back then and the me now. Some things have stayed the same. Dreams of a big family, plans to cloth diaper (oh my the diapers are way easier and cuter than the pins and plastic pants I remember my mom using!), my choices to let the kids play in mud like I had fun doing as a child… But many things have changed or become important to me that weren’t on my earlier radar.
Having a vaginal birth jumped to the top of my list (my mother had only C-sections, so I guess I had assumed I would too), eating a clean diet (spurred on by a husband who is allergic to poultry, and my own soy intolerance that the kids now have as well. These food struggles forced us to re-think food and make changes), and so so so many other choices and changes of direction along the way.
So how crunchy am I?
Well I don’t exactly know yet. The crunch factor began as a tiny seed deep in my heart when I first read the book (given to me by that family friend) “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” I began tracking my basil body temperature for the first time in my life. That seed grew when I became pregnant on our third month trying. It grew when my neighbor introduced me to Ina May Gaskin‘s books, and that determination to birth vaginally was sparked. It grew when I educated myself on vaccines (at my husband’s request) and we decided together we would be declining them for our children.
All this time I explored and dabbled in and enjoyed crunchy topics. But the line… the point at which I became too crunchy to ever consider going back to the not-really-crunchy-me-of-before? That line was crossed when I decided to take my second pregnancy and birth into my own hands and birth at home without even hiring a midwife.
Are we friends yet? Would you like to hear that unassisted-pregnancy and birth story? I’ve shared it a few times with friends or interested acquaintances, but it’s been a while. Let me collect my thoughts, refresh my memories, clear the cobwebs out, and next week I’ll see how well I remember the details to tell you all about it.
Oh, and that idea of overhearing another woman at the park and becoming fast friends? That is a true story. I met one of my dearest and closest mom friends that way. She and I made a point to meet almost weekly for two years before she moved away. When we first met she had three children and I barely had tight pants. No maternity clothes. Not even a bump! But I was pregnant! Now she has five children and I have three — Mine are almost exactly the same ages hers were when we first met.
She taught me so much about mothering and helped me through so many challenging moments. Teething, naps, food choices, adding siblings… Perhaps I can share a few things with YOU that have helped me along the way. Hopefully they will encourage you on your pregnancy or parenting path? Not everything that worked for her worked for me, and not everything I thought was a gem will benefit you. Maybe a few things will. You can share those tidbits with your friends who are also mothers to encourage them.
What about Alice’s Looking Glass?
Right now I think it’s a good thing that I don’t have a looking glass. Were I to catch a glimpse of myself I might pay more attention to the greasy hair that needs washing, or the slightly visible spit-up stain on my shoulder, than I currently am watching this magnificent and beautiful adventure of motherhood. My children are sometimes as maddening as the Cheshire Cat to speak to, or as hard to understand as the two Tweedles… (Not as hard to tell apart though, because I don’t have twins.)
The adventure is real, and I wouldn’t wake up from it if I could!
(Ask a question down below, then tune in Friday to our Facebook live when we answer your questions.)
May God bless your today. Look for Him in it.