Saturday Surfing

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Looking though my hundreds of unread posts in Google Reader last week, I couldn’t help but marvel at how interests evolve, so I thought I would do something a little different this Saturday and build links into an actual post.

I follow a few “mom blogs,” like Kelle Hampton’s Enjoying the Small Things whose second daughter’s birth story I’ve linked to before, I Am Momma Hear Me Roar which has super cute and easy crafts, two adorable boys, and an author who just seems nice, and A Peine For Your Thoughts, which is a hilarious and sarcastic almost-mom blog (she’s going to have twins any moment).  I follow craft blogs like Grosgrain which has amazing sewing and lots of upcycling directions, Prudent Baby which is almost all kid-related, and One Charming Party which is about, you guessed it, throwing parties.  There’s a few random blogs of my friends, a blog or two about home decorating, and a handful of cooking and food-related blogs, my favorites of which are Spoonfed and Smitten Kitchen.  I tend to prefer blogs with lots of original photography.  But most of the blogs I follow?  Most of them are because of her:

Blogs about parenting (Alternative Mama, Authentic Parenting, Peaceful Parenting, Simple Mom, Sustainable Mothering), blogs about breastfeeding (Breastfeeding Medicine, Mama is…), and blogs about birth (Stand and Deliver, The Man-Nurse Diaries, The Unnecesarean).  I am so incredibly absorbed in and excited by these subjects, something I never would have expected even two years ago.

I always knew I wanted to be a parent.  I’ve known since late high school that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  The thing I didn’t have planned was the type of parent I wanted to be; until I got pregnant, I hadn’t given much thought to breastfeeding or childbirth or things like cloth diapers; I had never heard of Mothering magazine.  When planning for a baby actually became reality, I only stumbled into many of the philosophies I now hold near and dear.  I read the standard, What to Expect…, but then picked up The Complete Organic Pregnancy when I felt it didn’t fully answer questions I had about being healthy naturally while pregnant.  It was from that book that I started to get a better picture of the importance of our surrounding on fetal and infant development.  I initially decided to breastfeed for a year because of the cost (lack there of, rather) not because I had seen examples of exclusive breastfeeding among my siblings, cousins, or the kids I babysat, and not because I was so committed to its health benefits (but I am now!).  I also started to think about cloth diapering because it seemed like an economical choice, and most of my friends and family thought I was nuts!  Luckily, cloth was on my radar because my dad and step-mom had used it with my younger brother, but I still had to figure out what that would mean for us.

Being the researcher that I am, I started going through pregnancy and birth books at the library, and one day I stumbled upon Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.  That book is amazing!  It talks about the evolution of modern maternity care in the US and really opened my eyes to the fact that childbirth can be more than what it is on A Baby Story.  From there, I watched The Business of Being Born, and started seeking out birth videos on YouTube and people’s blogs; I discovered the amazing videos on Birth Matters Virginia.  I read everything I could get my hands on about birth: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, Natural Childbirth the Bradley WayIna May’s Guide to Childbirth, and others.  When I had worked my way through the library stacks, I started reading online; I dug through past articles on Mothering’s website, read everything on the La Leche League answer pages, and started visiting a local parenting message board.  I read about doulas and Chris and I decided to get one.  Once I went to my first LLL meeting while 5 months pregnant and started going to prenatal yoga, I was committed to natural birth, breastfeeding, and parenting.  I never thought, though, that the interest would persist after Nora was born.

But it has.  And, not only am I amazingly excited about all I’ve learned, but I want to go out and share it with the world.  It’s almost like I’m a born-again, compelled to go out and spread the gospel.  Childbirth can be the best experience of your life.  Breast milk is miraculous.  Cloth diapering is easy.  Two years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be interested in such things, let alone driven to work in this area.  And here I am on Nantucket, hoping to help other women see what I see through a retail store.  Who would have thought?

In college, I met my friend Megan.  We bonded over the craziness that was being a Resident Assistant at our small private college: strict rules, annoying co-workers, and a psycho-prude (can I say that?) boss.  If I hadn’t had her friendship that year, I never would have made it.  I was a sophomore philosophy major and she was a senior bio major; after that, she graduated and went off to med school to become a neuro-surgeon or something.  But we stayed close,traded off maid-of-honor duties, and, as it worked out, Megan decided to become an OB-GYN.  She didn’t think that would be her specialty when she headed off to med school, but now she lives in Virginia with her husband and catches babies (and does surgery and other fancy stuff) for a living.  Now when I talk to her, we talk pregnancy and birth stories and what’s going on in the world of obstetrics.  She listens to my rants about home vs. hospital, and is all about minimal intervention, but also keeps me inline with the actual science and cases of medical necessity.  She’s great about getting full text research articles for me that I can’t find (like the one that ultimately made me decide while pregnant that I would decline antibiotics if I had tested GBS-positive (I didn’t)). If I had to have an OB, I’d want it to be Megan (or maybe Abby Epstein’s “Absolutely, you should have a home birth; I’ll back you up” OB from TBBB), because I know that Megan is a phenomenal doctor who sees birth the way it should be seen – as, in most cases, a normal thing.

It’s so interesting to me how life changes…how I went from being a college kid to an admissions officer supporting her husband to a stay-at-home mom to someone who has a calling to help others and is trying to start her own business to do it.  And I can’t help but think how amazing it is that Megan’s right there with me.  My best friend and I traveled down two completely different paths, yet we ended up with the exact same interests.  It doesn’t get anymore mind-boggling than that.

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