And now for some controversy.

Before we were telling people about the baby, I found myself with research to do and no one to get a coffee with. Instinctively I reached for blogs, post upon post of advice, product recommendations and experiences others had in their first trimester. Blogs take a lot of heat, but reading them was the perfect solution to my 14 torturous weeks of sworn silence about one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me.

It made me realize what good resources we are for each other. In the same way that I can recommend restaurants in the cities we've traveled to, some discussion of the ways we navigate child-rearing decisions on this blog may be helpful to some of you.

Here are a few topics that I've been thinking a bunch about lately:

Cloth Diapers
Nothing gets people angrier than cloth diapers. I casually mentioned this to a couple guys at work over lunch and got LAUGHED out of the kitchen. Unmarried men who have a hard time showering daily were giving me crap about what I'm planning to do with my kid's crap. And that's when I realized how crazypants other people are going to be about how we raise Tiny.

My parents raised us on cloth diapers. They don't deserve a medal for this, just as no one deserves detention for using Pampers. It's a choice, one that I'm happy to say has become far more appealing over the years. The latest generation of cloth diapers are super-cute!

I'm interested in cloth diapers for two main reasons: environmental and financial. Chris and I have talked about it and we're open to trying them, probably in conjunction with disposables at the very beginning. I know it's going to be tough not having a washer and dryer in our apartment, but they're literally 50 feet down the hall.

Haters gonna hate. I promise to report back as research is conducted!

Maternity Leave
I have LOTS of thoughts here, but probably not appropriate for public consumption. Suffice it to say, I think women get so many mixed messages about what's appropriate when it comes to taking time off to have a baby AND how soon it's appropriate to go back to work. It seriously crosses a ton of confusing boundaries for me, including feminism, motherhood, business and spirituality.

I haven't outlined my maternity leave plan yet, but I think about it a lot and will obviously need to have those conversations before long with work. Again, I urge anyone confronting this issue to do what is best for you and your family. Don't feel pressured either way.

Birth Plans
Maybe I spoke too soon up there. NOTHING gets people angrier than natural birth plans. It's sort of confusing to me, actually, but people get very offended when you tell them you're going to try doing things naturally. As if you are trying to one-up everyone in the world who has not gone the natural route.

So here's our sitch: we watched The Business of Being Born and found it awfully propaganda-like. Still, there were a number of points that resonated with us and made us think about pursuing options that were not traditional hospital births. I was not down with doing a home birth in our Brooklyn apartment with Oscar and Ollie looking on (oh hellll no, I was not down with this), but I didn't like the ookiness that I heard about that was happening in hospitals either. I also have friends who have had tough hospital births. So we decided to investigate.

We discovered the Birthing Center at Roosevelt Hospital in midtown west and it felt like a great option. The Birthing Center is in the hospital, just a floor below Labor & Delivery. The BC has very low intervention and they're hooked up with a group of midwives. Now, midwives I can get behind; my sister is in nursing school right now, planning to become a midwife herself. So we ended up in a wonderful midwife practice and are planning to give birth naturally at the Birthing Center.

Could something go differently? You betcha. And we'll be flexible if it needs to. But I can't help thinking that overcoming the running barrier last year and other recent challenges have prepared my mind for difficult moments. Kate will be our doula and we'll do what we can to bring Tiny into this world with the least stress possible.


Ok, that's enough controversy for one evening. I know I don't even have to say this, but please take all of these thoughts as my own. They're not going to work for everyone. But if you're out there searching for some information or merely some like-mindedness, then I think it's a worthwhile post to put out into the world. Let's all agree to have our babies the way we want them and parent however we can!


Kath said...

Dear me, there are comments about everything. God forbid I don't have black out curtains in my nursery!!

Becky said...

Great tips! Now here's one that is sure to bring up controversy... Unassisted childbirth. I honestly don't know why this birthing method is such a big deal to most- why is it absolutely critical to have to go to a hospital to deliver a baby, or to have a midwife come to your home to deliver. With the right knowledge most women/spouse/significant loved one, can deliver a baby- I mean millions of women of our past have used this method- it is a natural process. I do admit that I was seriously skeptical of this method until reading Laura Kaplan Shanley's book titled, "Unassisted Childbirth"- she uncovers several myths associated with this method-and she really makes a lot of sense.

Daffodil Campbell said...

Just wanted to give a shout out for hypnobirthing. No hypnosis required (I take issue with the name hypnobirthing, actually). They might be calling it something else by now, all I can say is the te chnique worked for me. Not just for birth, but for other stressful situations (pre-op, for example). I know expectant parents get a ton of unsolicited advice, so my apologies for adding to the pile-on. But it just really helped me stay calm and open to all sorts of unexpected stuff during the delivery. Yay for being chill in labor!

Abby said...

I totally hear you on the no to cat companions in labor. I actually really love the idea of a homebirth, but there would just be SO MUCH FUR at our house! In many years, when I am ready to have a baby, I hope I can find a birth center that sounds as great for me as the one you've found sounds for you.

Jen said...

@Kath- yes! Crazypants, all of them!

@Becky- Ha! That is not the choice for (hypochondriac) me, but I don't doubt that others are intrigued by it.

@DC- Dude, I am totally looking for a hypnobirthing class! I heard about it on a podcast a few weeks ago and it sounds awesome.

@Abby- exactly. The baby is born and a giant ball of cat fur floats through the air and attaches itself to its head. NIGHTMARE.

Jessica said...

I have a few friends that are doing cloth diapers and you're right, they're super cute! And I love the environmental friendliness. I mentioned it to my dad and he laughed me out of the room. I think many people don't understand that diapers have come a long way from giant safety pins and a square of cloth. Anyway, if the laundry aspect turns out to be too difficult, I know there are a few diaper services in the city -- which may cancel out the cost savings, but makes the whole thing easy as pie!

Meg said...

Jen, every point in this post resonated with me so much. I am planning to cloth diaper my future babes (and have already experienced the shock and horror when I've mentioned it). Maternity leave is an issue that gets me worked into a frenzy but every parent has to figure out what's best for them. The end. As for the birth center and Katie as your doula - that sounds so wonderful. I am really looking forward to reading about more topics that you and Chris explore and consider during your pregnancy and then while raising Tiny.

Looking forward to seeing you this summer!!!

Avi Flax said...

Really interesting stuff! I know you already have a doula but if/when you speak to my friend Julia about yoga, you could discuss this stuff with her as well — she’s very informed and opinionated!