For Real Fridays: Mom Fear


I have a real problem with this post. A big one. I keep seeing it floating around online and every time I see it, I grit my teeth.

Moms know they can die in childbirth. Every mom. Promise. Moms know they can lose the baby in childbirth. Moms know they can lose the baby at any point during the pregnancy. Moms know. From the minute that positive result shows up on their pregnancy test, moms are clearly aware that the air they breath, the food they eat, the drinks they drink, the amount of work they do or don’t, the surroundings they keep, and literally can kill the baby. We know.

I promise you, every woman in that class know they can die or the baby can die. Promise. It keeps them awake at night. They read books that tell them so, they listen wide eyed to horror stories, they google every twinge and symptom. Moms know the worst possible outcome.

They’ve also been fed horror stories about doctors choosing to do c-sections so they don’t miss a golf game. They’ve heard that the epidural could hurt the baby, however rarely and they would rather suffer through labor pains for hours to prevent that infinitesimal risk. They make the birth plans to make sure they have a voice when they may not be able to speak. Labor is terrifying. I didn’t have a birth plan and I got the epidural as soon as I possibly could, but in the back of my mind, I was scared I was making the wrong call.

But they also know that in an actual emergency, that birth plan goes out the window. THAT is why their worse case scenarios include c-sections and epidurals, because it means they are either in the hands of a medical professional that is willfully ignoring their wishes, or something has gone terribly wrong and they or the baby could die.

They don’t want to imagine the end of that scenario. If this woman did, fine, I’m not upset with her for feeling emotional about it while typing up that post. She’s a pregnant woman. I’m upset with the nurse for being so pleased/surprised. What kind of labor and delivery nurse doesn’t know women are scared? My mom was an L&D nurse for over twenty-five years. Fear is universal experience when it comes to being pregnant.

It doesn’t end when you deliver either. I gained a magical ability when I had Bella. I can look at any piece of furniture and tell you all the ways it can kill a tiny human. I could write baby Final Destination. It flashes in front of my eyes faster than you can say baby proof. Other moms gain other magical powers. They can tell you all the harmful chemicals that are in a slice of bread. The thousand ways a certain tone of voice can damage a child’s self-esteem. They gain these magical powers because mothers have been given an overwhelming task. Keep your tiny human alive, and healthy, happy, and well adjusted. P.S Literally every breath you take impacts the outcome.

We worry about co-sleeping versus cry it out, breast feeding versus bottle, attachment parenting versus free-range, public versus private school, scheduled or unscheduled time after school, work or stay home, organic or regular food, vaccinate or not. Every cross roads we could ever come to has been pre-sown with seeds of fear. To stay sane, most moms hyper focus on that one thing. Their issue. I had a professional baby proofer come to my house. My water literally broke when the last closet door safety latch was installed. Because I worried about baby proofing, I didn’t worry as much about epidurals. I was aware of the whispers about them enough to be afraid in that moment, but I’d picked my thing to focus on.

I’m not mad at the moms who don’t vaccinate.I’m mad at the Doctor who falsified data for profit. Knowing that his study was intentionally skewed didn’t stop me from holding my breath while Bella was being given the MMR. The knowledge that I was giving consent to something that most likely wouldn’t, but what if it did tremendously impact her entire life, is paralyzing. It’s like you’re standing on the brink of a huge fall and you’re going to go over on one side or another and there’s tons of fog. You’re 99.9% sure that side A only has a one foot fall and the other is a 50 foot drop. That 99.9% certainty doesn’t stop you from being scared as you take the plunge. As a mom, that’s every decision you ever make.

We know fear. We know the worst case scenarios. And if you don’t know that, you’ve never actually listened to another mom.

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