So that brings me to yesterday's childbirth preparation class. I knew that the culture of motherhood was even more a culture of blame than the culture of teaching. But information and planning makes me feel comforted because I feel I have some measure of control over my life, so I went in excited and forgot to put up my defenses against the guilt-tripping (from without and within) that I should have known would ensue. I started the morning optimistically annotating my book, getting all the information I could use to create the optimal birth. Hm, even in that sentence you can sense the shift: now it was my responsibility to direct my birth. Despite the kind and elderly teacher's constant reminders that you cannot plan and that the baby will do what it wants, there was the underlying and contradictory implication that, nevertheless, there were a lot of things I ought to be doing, or else. This is how I began to hear the rest of the information:
- Do the right movements and exercises and be aware of the latest developments in yoga ball technology or you'll create more pain for yourself...but don't be that crazed suburban momzilla who materialistically buys too much baby gear.
- Your body knows what to do...but get a doula or you'll be sorry you and your clueless partner will be all alone while the overworked nurses scurry about.
- "Birth is natural, not medical"...but so is death, so get to the hospital on time.
- Pack the right things in your bag or you'll make yourself more uncomfortable...but don't clutter up the hospital room.
- If you get an epidural, you might cause yourself and your baby these harmful side effects: yadda, yadda, scary yadda...but you'll be sorry if you wait to ask for it until it's too late.
- Don't strut in on your high horse with your immutable birth plan...but know your patient rights and fend off the knife-happy, C-section-loving medical establishment.
- You need to do whatever is best for the baby, but but know your patient rights and fend off the knife-happy, C-section-loving medical establishment.
- You're no less of a person if you need medical "interventions," but all these could increase your risk of...yes, you guessed it: your innards cut up by the knife-happy, C-section-loving medical establishment!
By the end, I felt like every choice I could make was wrong. And instead of saying, "Forget it, I'll do what I want," like a normal person, what did I do? I blamed myself for taking the one-day class and not spreading this out over a few sessions; after all, it was my fault for overwhelming myself.