I told Leigh I would write a disclaimer post, and even though its 11:30 pm and I still have (want) to do a devotional, I can't seem to go to sleep until I get something written, might as well be this one I guess.
Here's the thing. I'm not too fond of disclaimers on blogs. Not on my blog anyway. I'm afraid that disclaimers make things less serious...maybe they water down the message. The problem is that with the topics on my blog, specifically the pregnancy, birth, and parenting stuff, woman automatically become offended. Not necesarily because they should, but because by me writing down my opinions, it automatically insinuates that I think if you don't do what I say I think you are less than me.
THIS CAN'T BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
And I hope this "disclaimer" can help you, my readers, to get me and my message without feeling needless guilt or that cringe of defensiveness we as women get when we feel we are attacked or criticized.
I love women. I love people really. I may not like what people do, but I love them nonetheless. I am known to defend the actions of others to a fault and when those defenses aren't deserved. I am the stereotypical devils advocate (although I won't actually advocate for the devil, so don't ask).
So when it comes to women, whether childless or not, pregnant or not, mothers or not, my only goal is to be supportive and loving. Showing true love. The actionable type, not just "ooh...i love you", but what can I DO to show you Christ's love. All women are valuable, whether or not they agree with me or like me. And I don't think support is only putting on a happy face and telling you that you are always doing right either. I think support is telling you the truth in love and helping you to be informed so that YOU can make the decisions you need to make that are right for you and your family. I have been blessed with a gift that enables me to mind-boggingly get the approval and acceptance of those who are in positions of power and authority so that I have influence to get changes made when they need to make, so I can support you by fighting for what you need.
Key word...need. I believe that love and being a "servant" is giving you everything you need to be the person God created you to be, not just what you want. So sometimes, we will disagree. I can only speak from my perspective on what you might "need", and I realize that. I realize that I am NOT God, and I do not know everything, not even close. Because of that, I will rarely take a stand against decisions made by women.
In fact, my fight is not against women at all. I wish I didn't have to fight. But I feel like there is a true struggle to get the truth out there, and I KNOW that there is a fight to get the Truth (big T to represents God's truth, the ulitmate truth of the universe) accepted in the public eye. So, while God may or may not see things as absolutely as I see them from time to time, and I know I will be mistaken, I do believe that His truth is absolute and real and can sometimes cause disension.
My struggle then is for women (and men too I guess) against those that try to suppress the truth, whether intentionally or unintentionally. At this point that has led me to be suspicious of doctors and hospitals and angry at times. It has led me to be suspicious and resentful against men and women who make legislation or even just public policy that inhibits access to the truth. I will continue to provide factual information and my resulting opinions about that information on my blog whether it makes people "happy" or not. Hopefully, someone will be encouraged from my writings to do their own research and make wise decisions for their families.
Realize that I don't have animosity or anger at women who disagree with my decisions or opinions.
Here is an example situation that happened to someone I know.
A woman was in a difficult end-of-pregnancy phase including weeks of bedreast and lots of discomfort. If you have ever had a not-so-easy pregnancy and/or labor, you can imagine how stressful this can be. So, when she was finally allowed to labor, during a contraction the monitor showed a 'potential complication' on the monitor. I can't tell you what actually happened because I wasn't there, but the mother was told that her baby had stopped breathing. As you can imagine, my guess would be that any mother who was already tired and stressed (and this being the first baby) would hear that information and panic, eager to do whatever it would take to get that baby out and healthy. Fill in your own blank on what you would do in response to hearing that information, whether it be some sort of intervention (water breaking, meds, etc.), an emergency c-section, or just freak out and cry and get more worried about your poor innocent baby. I won't tell you what this mother did because it really doesn't matter in my opinion. I care about what she chose because I care about her, but it would never change my opinion of her.
Most importantly because she wasn't given a fair chance. Many of you have already done this, but if you haven't, let me help you out in more deeply understanding this situation. Take a step back, hold on a second, and think about what that doctor told her. Her baby had stopped breathing. Remember that she had not yet given birth.
Hopefully in your sane, non-pregnant, non stressed, non tired mind you were able to read that and immediately understand that her baby did not stop breathing...it had not started breathing yet! It was still in the womb. It is possible that there was some other complication she should have been worried about (by the way, in the end, she had a beautiful, healthy baby), but she should not have had to panic that her baby was not breathing.
Am I angry? You betcha. And I wish more women were angry for this type of situation. I wish more people knew that this is what happens to women. I wish more women and men were prepared so that they could help support their family/friends when they face similar situations rather than just leaving them in the hands of doctors. I'm angry at the doctor who said this and others in the medical community who let it happen. (I'm guessing what happened is that the monitor didn't pick up the baby's heartbeat for a minute, and since the baby is alive and didn't suffer any type of complication from L&D that it was a mistake on the monitoring, not actual baby distress, and I'm guessing the dr. didn't go into more explanation about what was REALLY happening because it was easier to explain to a "common folk" that way rather than assuming she was smart and could handle more factual information, but I wasn't there and I don't know for sure, ). I'm frustrated that this type of situation happens all the time. I'm frustrated that MOST people who are available to support a woman who faces this just say "it will all be ok, we love you" rather than reminding the dr that babies don't breath and urging the doctor to spend enough time evaluating the entire situation and instructing the mom on what she needs to do and what is REALLY going on and getting the mom's fears really reassured rather than a superficial reassurance.
And I don't really think this is anyone's fault, especially the "lay people". I think its all caused by a lack of information and tons of misinformation. We don't teach each other enough. We trust "the experts" too much without realizing that they too are only human, will make mistakes, and can't possibly know everything about each individual person and pregnancy.
But I am not angry with her, nor will I ever be disapointed in any woman for how her L&D turns out or the decisions she makes. I will never be disapointed in a woman for choosing interventions or to have medication. I fully respect a woman's right to choose for herself and her family what is best to help her labor and deliver a healthy. I believe every birth of a child, no matter how it happens, is absolutely wonderful.
What I wanted to do for this person was to rush over there, hug her, cry with her. Hold her face wipe her tears, tell her she could do it, remind her that her baby will not breathe until it comes out anyway, and tell her how to preven that type of situation in the future. (different positions, move this way or that, etc.) I wanted to talk to that doctor. I still want to calmly but firmly tell him the impact his simple mistatement/misinformation had on her during her labor. I wanted to be there to keep everyone who were distractions away from her and prevent her from drowning in negativity and fear. I wanted to be there to truly support her in the ways I've learned over the past couple years.
And, in my mind, none of that would include any sort of condemnation or ridicule or disapointment in the decisions she made. She would make all of the decisions. I would simply provide information and then do the things that needed to be done to facilitate the birth, as perfectly as she saw it happenening.
And afterward, we would rejoice in what she accomplished, no matter how it turned out, and in the beautful miracle God provided.
As I see it, this could be anyone's story. It happens to be rooted in truth in someone I know, but it could be your story. It could be my story.
So, here it is, my disclaimer. Please "hear" my heart. I am hear to support you. I believe in you as a woman. I believe that God will empower you to give birth to your child and he will empower you to care for your child afterward. And, since theoretically you are interested in reading my womanly posts because you or someone you know are moving toward having a baby/mothering a baby, you have the opportunity to prevent yourself/others from becoming "that" woman, I am hear to try and pass on wisdom and knowledge that I have learned, "truths" about what you/others are about to go through, what is "normal" and "natural", so that hopefully you will read what I write and go do more research for yourself. Even if you prove me wrong, at least you were able to learn the truth and make good decisions for yourself.
If you read something of mine where I am being critical about a certain practice or policy, I have no opinion on whether it is "right" or "wrong" for you in your specific situation. I do not judge you and your decisions. I do not think that you should not be able to make that decision. Read what I have written, process it without becoming defensive, and go do your own research. Follow medical advice and "get a second opinion", then, get a third and a foruth. Ask questions. Its ok. In this "information age" you are given the opportunity to do research for yourself and make your own educated decisions. You are intelligent enough, and you and your baby are worth it. Ask what God wants for you and your baby and your family as you bring a child into this world. Believe that He does have purpose in all of this. And, at least in your specific situation, He does have a "best way" for it all to happen (which may or may not be the same as the "best way" for everyone else).
All the while, I'll be sitting out here in cyber space cheering you on from my little corner of the world.
I'm sure this doesn't express exactly how I feel. I'm sure in written form it won't come across exactly right. I'll just have to trust that you will hear my heart and the Lord will have to take over from there.
By the way, it is now 12:48am. :)