Bumps and Wishes (18w3d)

Well, I guess you know you are actually looking for real pregnant when semi-strangers/acquaintances start touching your belly without your permission. I guess it’s sweet? But also, isn’t there enough clear dislike for this practice and hasn’t enough of the population been pregnant for this not to be happening anymore? I guess I better get my arsenal of snarky comebacks ready though, because it’s my understanding that this is only going to increase.

In Other News . . .

La and I have been talking about getting a doula for our labor. We interviewed two different potential doulas last weekend, and are a bit stuck on who to go with. The first has TONS of experience (has doula’d at 19 births!) and is definitely more professional/polished about the business side of things. She also lives close and has a permanent back up doula, her business partner, who we could meet before hand. The other has less experience but shares a lot of our identities (is queer and has body politics) and I generally feel more comfortable with, but she lives further away and doesn’t have a solid back up. She is less expensive than doula A as well, and trained in hypnobabies, which is the birth method we are looking into.

(Any thoughts? Have any of you had doulas – if so, what mattered most/made the experience the most worthwhile? What did you think you’d care about and then didn’t?)

I tell you this to A) solicit your feedback (see above) and B) tell you a story.

The story is that we gave this info to my mom at lunch yesterday, hoping she’d give her opinions/insight. La was the one who thought my mom would be all down with the doulas. I didn’t really. But, I figured I should trust what La was seeing and give it a shot.

So, we brought it up . . .and most of her first questions were about what a doula was (fair enough) which then led us to explaining the difference between a midwife and a doula, which then led to my mom asking, “But you have a DOCTOR too, right?!” and my explaining that, no. we didn’t. because we have a midwife and so we don’t need a doctor. She kept saying things like “But there will be a doctor there, just in case, right?!” To which I conceded, yes, there would be a doctor present if something horrible happened.

We didn’t really GET to the doula conversation because she just kept pushing the point about the midwife vs. the OB. When I mentioned why we’d wanted a midwife (because we want fewer – ideally no – interventions) she launched into things like, “well, sometimes you don’t have a choice!” which, obvs, I know . . .but she just couldn’t fathom not 100% trusting whatever a doctor wanted to do. “I chose my doctor and I trusted them!” she said. To which I wanted to respond, “and I chose a midwife . . .so lay off!”

Lately, my fuse (for both tears and rage) is much shorter, and so I felt lucky to make it to the car before erupting into tears. And since then I’ve been stuck with this kind of deep sadness that my mom just doesn’t support my decisions around pregnancy and childbirth, and that she may very well not support some of the decisions I make about parenting. This isn’t a shock to me, honestly. My mom tends to judge a lot of things that she doesn’t have personal experience with . . .but I suppose in this moment, more than many others, I want deeply to connect with my mom about MY becoming a mom. And I’m just not sure I trust her to be open to my ideas and perspectives. And that makes me feel deeply, deeply sad.


  1. Firstly, random strangers randomly touching your belly is absolutely not acceptable. I don’t know why people do it, where did it come from? If someone even tries to start that shit with me when I’m out then they’ll have hell to pay. I can accept my mum doing it, but she still asks, bless her.

    Secondly, I’m really sorry to hear about the lack of support from your mum. I can understand if she is concerned, especially with things that are alien to her but you’re a grown up and it seems she’s forgetting that. She really needs to accept and respect your decisions no matter what her opinions are. Again, really sorry to hear this.


  2. Ugh. Sorry your mom acted like a jerk.

    I loved my doula. I hired her and her business partner because I knew the odds of my parter staying conscious and not causing himself bodily harm (by passing out face first into the concrete floor) during the birth process would be slim to nil. I was right. The partner was his doula and kept him semi-conscious and totally safe. She also took photos. My doula helped me feel human and somewhat safe when I had to go through an emergency induction (no choice but hospital – issue was risk to baby from a complication). She was also my lactation consultant and came to see me after the birth. She was the mom/sister/friend I would have loved to have at my birth. I would hire her and her partner again in a heartbeat. Our second doula did my placental encapsulation and was a great resource for slings and other hippyish baby stuff I thought I’d never buy into after our son was born. They also get you food, juice, help tidy… lifesaver stuff if you’re birthing at home and even if you’re not. Suffice to say I’m big on doulas but acknowledge they may not be for everyone.

    Can the one with whom you feel more connected develop a reliable backup between now and 18 weeks from now? If so, I’d go with her in your shoes. A connection is a good thing with something this intimate.


  3. Your body, your rules. That applies to both moms and handsy strangers! I’m sure much of this is just so foreign to your mom. I know I sometimes forget how much better informed I am about so many things because I am the one sitting here thinking about it and researching it to death. For your mom, it’s the end result that matters most. Right now, I would imagine that the idea that her baby is having a baby is a bit scary for her. She just wants to be sure you’re all going to be okay. Hang in there. I know how it feels when your mom doesn’t support your choices, but try to focus on all of the choices she does support. She means well. (They always mean well.)


  4. My mom had a hard time with us using a midwife/having a home birth. (Lesley’s mom was find with it because she saw a Jennifer Lopez movie where someone had a home birth/midwife.) I let my mom submit a list of questions for the midwife I could ask and report back. When she got here (she lives 3000 miles away but came around the time baby is due) she was here for prenatal visits and was able to ask questions. In the end i still think that she would have preferred a hospital/doctor but she loved our midwife. Maybe your mom meeting these folks could go a long way? Or maybe just send her the J. Lo movie?


  5. You should go with the doula you feel most comfortable with. I mean birth isn’t anything you want to introduce any discomfort into at all. At least that’s my thought.
    Your mom is probably advocating unnecessary caution because she cares. I’m a very cautious person by nature too. Maybe you should tell her that your doctor thinks that you’re low risk and a midwife is fine?


  6. In the UK all low risk births are attended by midwives rather than doctors, with OBs just keeping an eye on things in case. I think you’re smart to get a doula. I very quickly stopped thinking about my birth plan and just wanted the baby out. Having someone not in pain to fightyour corner can only be a good thing. go with who you feel confident about. It’s scary and you don’t want to be wortied about your birth partner too


  7. It sounds like you need to practice saying “La and I are making the parenting decisions that fit us and that doesn’t reflect on you. We value your opinion but we need you to support ours even if you don’t fully agree.” My mom takes everything I do differently as a personal attack on how she did things.


    1. I never had anyone attempt to touch my belly though I had lots of comments about my body, my baby, and “his father/dad.” I now have to fend off people touching him in the carrier and doctors not understanding that do not retract means I will smack your hand away and tell you no. They are obsessed with poking around in babies’ diapers.

      Doulas are wonderful. I totally agree you should get one. Go with the one you feel the best connection with. You will be naked, vulnerable, and relying on her for support. You want to know she will be on the same wavelength as you.


  8. My mom was not keen on the midwife idea but ended up coming around by the end of my pregnancy. She was also present in the room during the birth and now with number two she has told me I HAVE to use a midwife. But it was tough in the beginning. She questioned everything, why we were choosing glass bottles, why we wanted to cloth diaper, etc. Anything she didn’t do she questioned us doing. I think my mother felt like maybe I was, in a way, questioning the decisions she made as a parent, as if by doing something different I was telling her what she did was wrong. That being said, my mom was a great reminder when I was hard on myself that it doesn’t matter if I got an epidural, or used cloth diapers, those things are that big of a deal in the long run. Hopefully, it gets there by the time baby is coming.


  9. Well look at my birth story. I had a midwife, needed interventions and they recommended being induced. Then they called my emergency c section. Maybe your mom doesn’t understand that midwives jobs are to do all they can to follow you birth plan safely. They aren’t there to play with fire and put you in danger. They are trained to know when things get dangerous for you or baby and act accordingly.

    I would go with the doula not who is most like you but who you think will make your labour more positive. Who you see yourself trusting and listening to and who you think you won’t want to punch in the face when you are having contractions. 😉


  10. My wife and I plan on using a midwife and doing a home birth once we get pregnant. When my mom heard of this before the m/c, she wasn’t on board. Then again, she wasn’t on board with me being pregnant at first in the first place. Sometimes moms just need time to come around.


  11. I went with an OB, but I could have as easily gone with one of the nursing midwifes at my OB practice. I think my mom would have had the same reaction as yours. My mom didn’t get the doula thing at first but definitely got it after all was said and done. And the OB on call was busy in the OR when I was admitted, so the midwife on call for my practice actually attended much of my labor– so yeah they do they same thing. Go with your gut about the doula btw. My doula wasn’t super polished when I first met with her but she was awesome in action and let me borrow her hypnobabies CDs which rocked b/c they are expensive.


  12. There was just am article in the NY times about how overly medical US births are and how unnecessary so many hospital birthing practices are (petocin, induction in general, c-sections). I think it’s wonderful that you’re getting a doula. You may not be able to explain it to everyone; some people may just not get it. It’s your body and your birthday experience. My mother has been. Midwife for thirty years and has safely delivered so many babies. Good luck with your decision!


  13. The idea of complete strangers touching your belly is as creepy as it sounds and it doesn’t go away! It was by far, the worst part of being pregnant. As for the conversation with your Mom, I’m sad that you want to have that connection and you can’t have it because of different opinions on the birth of YOUR baby. I get it. I had a very mainstream labor and delivery -but my mom was not asked to be in the room. She was very devastated, but in the end, I could only have 2 people and I didn’t want to slight Kim’s mom by picking between the two moms. It made my birthing experience less beautiful, worrying about my mom and her feelings. If I can tell you – though a different kind of situation – don’t worry about what others think – this is your experience. Love it. Live it. Own it. That’s the only way you will be content with the experience you have worked so hard to have!


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