Birth is a funny thing. It happens all the time, but it is still a little mysterious. We know the mechanics of it, but it is still feared. I really want to meet this birth without fear, with calm strength, & with the wisdom of the millions of mamas who gave birth before me.
It's also one of those things that is strangely "owned" by everyone. A pregnant woman gets so many weird comments that would never be said to anyone else. Ever. "You sure there's only one baby in there?" "You look ready to pop!" Gee, thanks.
And inexplicably, everyone tells you their own birthday when they ask about the due date. "When are you due?" "March. Mid-March somewhere." "Oh! My birthday is July 20!" "um... that's nice?"
People show their excitement for your upcoming baby by asking all sorts of questions to display their interest, which is nice, if a little awkward. Most of these questions are about names, gender, & where you plan to have the baby. I am just going to answer those three common queries now, & explain my stance now, since I will likely be blogging more about our upcoming birth & may as well lay the groundwork for what to expect while I'm expecting.
We have a million name possibilities. We will not know the gender until the baby is in our arms. And we are having this baby at home.
This is where the whole "people try to own your pregnancy" thing comes into play, whether intended or inadvertent. Some people get really upset about not knowing the gender. I have a friend who pokes fun at herself for it, & if you're honest about your own hang-ups, I tend to let it slide (bonus points for not pushing the issue forever or trying to persuade me to change my mind). I get that it is inconvenient for people who want to buy gender-specific things for a baby (incidentally, one of the reasons we do NOT find out is so that we are not drowning in pink or blue!). But I also have had people get so upset, they refuse to speak to me. I don't really understand that, but if I got that upset at people who opted to learn the gender at 20wks, I would spend almost all my adult life pissed off at someone for how they experience their own pregnancy & birth. Which is silly, when I have my own life to live.
Names. People love to offer up names. And some people are camp "it would mean so much to me if you would name your baby after me!" And often times, moms are sitting there thinking, why would I name my kid after a coworker I only know through work?!?! Other times, people see an unusual or unique name & whisper about how a baby will make it through life with "a name like that". Not my business unless it's my kid. Again. And to nip this in the bud, yes, I am a big fan of "hippie names". My kids will always have story names. Names that tell the story of how they came into our family, where they fit in our family, & hopefully, names that will evolve to tell the story of their future lives. I choose names carefully & consciously with my husband, & I refuse to be apologetic about the names we give our children. Sorry not sorry.
Lastly, I see the look of horror passing through many eyes when I mention we plan a home birth. I often hear "how brave of you!" or the flip-side "but won't you regret not having the epidural?" And all I have to say for myself is this: I have spent almost 5 years researching a home birth in the hopes that I would one day have my own. I have explored the pros & the cons. I have spoken with mamas who have had a home birth, & I have been open about my experiences, hopes, fears, & worst-case scenarios with trusted professionals. I am not having home birth to win some imaginary "unmedicated mom medal" (it is insulting when people ask that)- I am having home birth because I am comfortable in my house, I am uncomfortable in hospitals, I want my daughter nearby, I like to eat & drink while laboring, I want to labor in a birth pool because water is my happy place, & I am having a home birth because I am a candidate & this birth option should be a safe one for me- & I trust my body to birth my baby. I know that labor is painful & intense, but it is also temporary. I am not entering this blindly. I am going into this enlightened & empowered. And I am, in that way that some mothers can be, excited to experience this. Please don't try to scare me with horror stories or tell me that hospitals are the only truly safe place for a baby to be born. If there is an emergency situation, we have a plan to transfer me to a hospital, but my midwives really think I am strong & healthy enough to have a successful home birth. We have truly thought this through, & have made informed decisions. Please don't insult us by treating us otherwise.
So, yes, a new little babe will be in our home before the next solstice, & we are feathering our nest & are so excited to welcome this new spirit into our lives! Ruby is in love with our baby already, giving lots of cuddles, singing lots of songs, & generally loving the idea of having a baby in the house. Of course, this may change when the baby is actually here, but she is so maternal, I really wouldn't be surprised if she continued to care for her sibling with empathy & concern. It's definitely an adventure, this family thing!
PS- Special thanks to Patchie Photography for these photos!