Writing this post I'm exhausted - mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. A lot of this can be chalked up to being pregnant while raising a toddler, but a fair bit of it comes from all the craziness surrounding the issues facing moms. Maybe I'm one of those unstable, double minded people, but when I read an article about some of the dangers attached to medicalized hospital births I start nodding my head and agree that they made some good points. The problem is that I do the same when I read an article critiquing freebirthers or some of the possible risks to home birth. There is no guaranteed safe way to have a healthy mom and a healthy baby. There are studies suggesting certain practices, but even then they aren't conclusive or binding across all populations. Ditto for breastfeeding issues, morning sickness, and whether or not formula feeding is a valid option or the bane of our generation. You can't even feed your kids a meal of steamed rice, grilled chicken, and carrot sticks without having someone tell you that you're going to mess up your kids for years to come.
Unfortunately, as a postpartum doula, ICAN leader, babywearing educator, and mom I just can't really shut my eyes and pretend this stuff doesn't exist. It's the world in which I live and world from which the moms around me are getting either blame or encouragement. Most of the time I can block a lot of the insanity out, but sometimes it gets a little too close. What if having a VBAC is personally risky? What if I'm not giving my son the best nourishment to make up for him having had antibiotics in the NICU? What if some of this stuff is really exaggerated? According to which study? It's hard finding your way through the din of voices, and it can be really, stinking tiring. I find myself longing for clear-cut answers.
Feed your kids these foods. Birth in this way. Use this form of discipline.
The problem is that I'm smart enough to suspect (and have seen evidence) that it's really not that simple, and sometimes that makes it really hard to help other moms or even help myself when I'm trying to figure out the smartest choice to make for myself and my children. Of course at this point a lot of it comes down to grace and trusting God, but even then what one person calls "Trusting God" another person calls a reckless disregard of the evidence. It's hard.
There are no conclusions. There is no nice summing up. This is just an acknowledgement that we live in a messy and complicated world where sometimes it's hard enough to figure out what the right thing to do even is much actually do it.