Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All That Matters is a Healthy Mother?


We have all heard it time and time again the many versions of:
"all that matters is you have a healthy baby".

Often I found this to be in response to people finding out that my newest son had been born by unplanned cesarean section. But I also found that a version of this phrase was tossed out when I talked to birth professionals about the lack of prenatal information about cesarean avoidance and/or preparation.

I once suggested that women should be given more information about their risk versus the unborn baby's risks of cesareans. The response I got was:
"Most mothers would say to do what ever it takes to get the baby out safely".

I felt like I was being chastised for suggesting that I might choose their safety of myself over the safety of my baby. I quickly dropped the subject. But months later I think.
Am I really the only one who would choose me?

Through out my pregnancy my greatest fear was that I would die in childbirth and leave my older son motherless. I no longer do many of the more risky things my pre-mother self did and I felt that I had taken on a risk in being pregnant and giving birth that was unfairly exposing the mother of my son to potential harm.
Apparently this fear is fairly common in second time mothers.

I would look at my 8 year old and imagine the life he would have without me and how much emotional damage would be done to him if I didn't make it though the pregnancy and birth.
I should also note that this fear was greatly enhanced by contracting H1N1 at about 30 weeks.

If I had been asked who's life should be protected first I would have picked my sweet eight year old's mama (me) over the baby in my belly, who is now my beautiful 2 year old son. Yup it might sound terrible to say but it's true.

And I don't say that lightly-but if it had to be one of us, I would take on the pain of loosing a child to protect my other child from the pain of loosing his mom.
And I know it would be awful.
I was there for one of my best friends when she lost her newborn. I grieved along with her and saw the total and horrible sadness that consumed and transformed her. Her life was never the same. She is a very different woman because of the loss of her new baby.

Maybe I am the only one. Maybe I am driven by a subconscious selfishness that I have justified to myself. But I will stand by my assertion that we should be given a choice in who's health is the most important.

Would I give up my newest son to avoid the P.T.S.D. that I endure because of his birth, no way.
But for example...
Should a women with her heart set on a very large family have the right to decline a cesarean for fetal distress knowing it could put future pregnancies at risk?

There are so many different scenarios. So many different risks and wants and beliefs. Should we be informed and be able to choose for ourselves?

Am I crazy to think that many there should be a box to check that says "Protect me first"?

I'm going to end with a phrase we are starting to hear more...

Mother's Matter Too

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