The “Mommy Wars” get a lot of press in the blog world, and when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth, the most “sniping” seems to happen between the two far extremes on the spectrum. On the one side is “Trust your doctor, whatever he/she says is the Gospel truth” and on the other side is “Medical care is a big conspiracy against women. Don’t trust it! You can do this on your own.” We hear about women having Unassisted Pregnancy and Unassiste Childbirh, and others who obsessively go for ultrasounds, pre-register for their epidural, or just skip the labor all together and go for an elective c-section because that seems more convenient and less messy all around.
The majority of us, I believe, are not actually fighting on either side of this philosophical mommy-battle. We’re mostly just ducking the volleys and trying to navigate the process of pregnancy and avoid the endless, overwhelming guilt-mines. Some of us may lean more towards one side or the other, but what we believe and what we want in pregnancy stems from the information that’s available to us and our experiences, rather than from a death grip on some overriding belief system about pregnancy. We may have preferences, but are willing to consider all options because we don’t believe our preferences are on quite the same level as the Ten Commandments.
Those of us in the middle, no matter which way we lean, choose to bend a little if the situation calls for it. Someone who typically relies on modern medicine and technology may find that the only thing that relieves her morning sickness is a ginger lollipop or those special wristbands. And on the other side of that, someone who prefers natural methods may realize that her morning sickness is causing her problems that traditional methods don’t help, and check herself in to the hospital. I believe that the vast majority of women are in this middle-way category. We just don’t holler as loudly as the extremes do.
Being a “centrist” when it comes to pregnancy care can lead to some interesting situations. Internet conversations have made it possible for me to find myself hassled by both “sides” of the debate. One person thinking I’m a doctor-hating hippie nutcase because I chose not to induce because of an “overdue” baby, and another person simultaneously questioning my dedication to my child’s health because I chose to have non-stress tests and ultrasounds done after my pregnancy went past 40 weeks. Really, it’s impossible to “win” in this situation. All we can do is make our decisions the best way we know how, and be willing to put aside preferences and philosophies when the facts of a situation present us with problems our preferred methods can’t fix.
So if you find yourself sitting on the fence, observing the All-Natural vs. Medical pregnancy battles with consternation and a twinge of fear that you might be missing something or doing something wrong, take heart. You’re in good company. Most of us are sitting on that same fence with you.