Why I’m a fan of epidurals AND co-sleeping

by eltomboy

You may think those two concepts are on the opposite ends of the “good mama, bad mama” spectrum, but for me they are right in the middle. I have had two VERY different birthing experiences, Wyatt was delivered naturally with a midwife, Mara was delivered in the hospital with an epidural and I can honestly tell you that Mara’s birth was far superior than Wyatts.

I had all of these ideas in my head that delivering naturally was so wonderful and good for the baby and you have an immediate bond and you heal faster. None of these things held true for me. I was told that I would feel so powerful and really, learning how to drive a manual car when I was 20 was more empowering to me. Also, with Wyatt, we kept him in a bassinet next to the bed for the first 6 months of his life, until I was so sick of having to physically get up and get him into bed with me multiple times a night to breastfeed him. We were also reprimanded on several occasions for letting him sleep on his stomach, but this kid would not under any circumstances sleep on his back. So, finally one night he slept with us and you know what, he slept right through the night, didn’t wake up once. It was miraculous for all of us. I woke up during the night just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming that he was sleeping so well. Not to say every night was a dream, but learning to breastfeed while lying down was the only time I really felt comfortable doing it.

Now with Mara, I had an awful pregnancy with her and was in so much pain from all of the prodromal labor I was in that I was practically begging for an epidural. She came fast and furious, Tim didn’t even make it in time for her arrival! And the second I had her in my arms I felt a connection with her that took me much longer to feel with Wyatt. I think I was in so much pain during and after his delivery that I couldn’t possibly fathom thinking about anything else, but how horrible my body felt. It may sound selfish and I’ve never heard anyone talk as openly about it as I do, but trust me, I’m not the only one.

And Mara has been in bed with us since day one. I sleep better, she sleeps better, it’s much easier on me. I am way less tired than I was when Wyatt was born. His first three months were especially difficult for me, but now, Mara’s first three months have flown by with maybe 2 or 3 rough nights.

What I’ve learned from all of this, is there is no really “right” way to be a parent. There is no “better” way. Even though everyone will tell you there is. I was considering becoming a lactation consultant, but I feel like I’d be bad at it because if the baby wasn’t latching properly and both baby and mother were miserable, I would honestly tell them to switch to formula. Formula is not bad, but for some reason people think its the worst thing to give your child! I just can’t imagine preferring a distraught mother and a hungry baby to both parties being content even if she feeds her baby from a bottle and not her breast. Whatever is best for you and your baby, do it. If your baby likes to sleep in his crib, let him do it, if you prefer to take baths with your kids instead of giving multiple baths, do it, just do what works for you. People judge so harshly, but know deep down, that you do know what is best for your family.

Sorry, this is so ranty, but I’m so fed up with everyone saying what is right and wrong, or assuming if you follow one parenting method, you have to follow all of them. I’m starting out November trying to be more patient with myself and having a little more grace in my day to day.