Last night was the last meeting of our childbirth class. We'd missed two because of my hospitalization and subsequent exhaustion, but we'd thought we'd go any way. It was potluck. That didn't bode well. I can barely cook for us at this point. Yes, I could have gone to the store and got something from the deli, but meh.
5pm rolls around, Husband would need to get showered and ready to go, and we both found ourselves rather uninspired to bother. As we talked about it a few things stood out: Our leader was clearly a pretty burnt-out doula (she'd announced she was retiring at the first class, and then at the third class, she announced she wasn't because she wanted to finance a vacation the next summer...that just sort of irked me.) I didn't feel like I could really recommend her to anyone since she seemed burned out, and their birth would just be a vehicle for her get to Europe in the summer. But I digress, or I bitch and moan, but whatever.
Then there was the little fact that she'd never acknowledged that we'd let her know I was in hospital, and that the following week I was too ill to come in. Turns out, we found out via the last class reminder email, that she'd not been to the last 3 classes, and no one had told the group why we weren't there.
And then, there was the group. They may have actually been very cool, and interesting, but there wasn't any structure to allow us to get to know each other, and lets face it, after class at 9:30 at night, the last thing any pregnant woman wants to do is stand around talking! Meeting other couples with babies near our kids age was our wish, and not an explicit offer, but it sure would have been nice. And I know friends who's birth class cohort became friendly, so it wasn't a totally reasonable wish. Oh well.
However, I will say that as soon as I learned the following, I'd gotten my monies worth: if you can take a crap, you can push out a baby. Yes, I am paraphrasing dodge-ball. Basically, I thought there was some other set of muscles or magic innards that I needed to access during this critical period of my children's life, and yet, I've been practicing all along. So between me and my uterus, I think we're gonna be alright.
I wish there had been a childbirth class for mothers of multiples--even if most of them were getting planned c-sections, it would have been nice to connect with them (and yes, I have joined our local multiples group, but I haven't gone to a meeting yet). We are going to breastfeeding multiples class next week, and I'm really looking forward to it.
One of the best things overall, as a twin mom, about going to childbirth class is that it reinforced for me that my goal is to leave the hospital with two, live healthy babies, and that even though my options, because I choose to take the medical route, are more limited, the birth experience will be good enough. I am capable for getting myself alllllll wound around the axel trying to control things that I think will cause irreparable psychological harm, and what I am pounding into my head daily is that I don't have to provide perfect experiences for our children so that they have perfect lives. I need to be responsive, and work to help them to be resilient. I feel like if we have some sort of lovely calm birth experience, great, if not, ok. We get our boys, and then the real work begins. I think when you are giving birth to one, the risks are lower, and you have more options, and I still think people torture themselves way too much about it not turning out as they planned. I need to protect myself and the boys from that part of myself. But hey, none of this has gone as planned, so that makes it a bit easier to let go of things.
I'm planning to expend all my idealism and intensity on breastfeeding. This is something I believe in, and want for myself and for them, and depending on a whole raft of factors, this could be daunting. But I can get help with it. My sister, my friend who nursed her twins, professionals, all of it. But if the best I can do is pump my breast milk and bottle feed them, then I will. I hope we get to have 'at the breast experience', but it's not what happens, then I want to make sure that I don't saddle us all with the idea that I am defective, or they are, and that we had a less than good connection. I remember seeing a video in college of mothers in Japan who bottle feed their babies, but they do it next to their skin, even under their shirts. That made such an impression on me; you can bottle feed, and be close. Being close is what matters.
There is that resiliency wish again.
I guess you could sum up my parenting philosophy as: she takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'.