At least. It means "if nothing else".
This phrase is used a lot. It is used to try and lift spirits. To try and get someone to look on the bright side of things. To compensate for things lost.
For many women, they are so over hearing at least. "At least you know you can get pregnant", "At least you have your baby" , "At least you are both healthy" . While these statements may be true, it suppresses deeper things that are tugging under the surface.
Our society has gotten hung up on the belief that as long as the baby is healthy, that is all that matters and we should be happy about that. There are reasons to be thankful for a healthy baby but I think there is room for healthy moms and families to complete that equation.
Healthy, non traumatized, heard and supported mothers will have healthy babies. Families that are listened to, cared for and nurtured will have healthy babies.
A healthy baby will not flourish if the mom is still in shock from how her birth went. She may not be able to respond to her baby's needs to the fullest if her mental health is shaking. Partners can experience trauma from what they see in the delivery room; already feeling helpless enough but then being told their input doesn't matter. Or from just adjusting to caring for a new mom and a new baby. There is so much going on below the surface that the phrase "at least" fails to address and it is suffocating.
Our stories and experiences are important. Whether good or bad, they shape how we respond and react to things. Saying "at least..." devalues a person's feeling and emotion to what they experienced. We should instead be asking questions and making sure that they, the recipients, are all right. You don't need to ask a mom who's birth plan went awry the perfect question or say the most poetic thing to the woman who's lost another pregnancy. You just need to start the conversation and then listen. Sometimes there will be silence. But it's in those moments that healing and reflection can take place in just knowing someone recognizes there's more than just "at least".
o Continuing with my look into the birth options for Central Oregon, I am going to touch on the OBGYN's that are here for you to see throughout your pregnancy.
For many, once you find out you're pregnant, you may reach out to your friends or Facebook and ask who's the best OB in town. While there are certainly favorites, when choosing an OB for yourself and your baby it is more than a popularity contest. It's about finding those who fit your individual needs and uphold and respect your birth wishes.
Currently, the two largest independent OB offices in Bend are East Cascades Women's Group and Central Oregon OB/GYN. East Cascades has nine OB's on staff and just recently added a Certified Nurse Midwife that you can choose from and see throughout your care. There are many great doctors in this office who can serve a wide variety of needs from low to high risk. Central Oregon OB has two OB's on staff. If you are having a high risk pregnancy, this may be an office to look into.
All of these doctor's do not work for St. Charles Health Systems, rather they are independent contractors who have hospital privileges. They also work on an "on call" rotation, so the doctor you chose to see during your pregnancy may not be the who is on the day you go into labor.
The third option is St. Charles Women's Clinic. While the office and prenatal visits are in Redmond, you will birth at the Bend hospital. The women's clinic has a mix of OB's and Certified Nurse Midwives on staff. There are five CNM's and one will be on call at the hospital at all times. If you are looking for the midwifery care model but still in a hospital setting, this is an option for you.
The hospital also has hospitalist on staff. These are OB's who do not regularly see women prenatally, but are available on the labor floor if needed.
It is important to look at your individual needs when choosing your physician. Even with the knowledge that you most likely will not get your same doctor for your baby's birth, how you are treated prior to can pave the way for your birth. Interviewing physicians and asking about their birth philosophy, induction rates, cesarean rates, and how they would handle certain situations will give you a good idea if they are the right fit for you.
Take your time finding the right care provider for you and your baby. The relationship should be built on open conversation where you feel that you are heard and are receiving all the information you desire.
Mother's day is right around the corner so my mind has been thinking a lot about what a mother does for her children.
Becoming a mother is the act of allowing yourself to lose control and being okay with it.
It all starts before you even get pregnant. Not knowing when it will happen or if it even will. And if it does, will it stay?
And when it does, you no longer have the control over how your body will react. Foods you once enjoyed now repulse you. Everything hurts. Your hormones are doing funky (and amazing) things. You're exhausted even though you just woke up. You get bigger and bigger and bigger.
Then it's the waiting. Counting down the weeks waiting for baby and body to agree to be born. Ask most women who have gone over their estimated due date about their unsuccessful old wives tales when trying to induce labor. Labor is something we physiologically cannot control.
Then on the day your baby decides to arrive, the control of your body needs to be released in order for the symphony of birth to happen. We have to will our minds to let our body go in order for birth to happen. We have to let go of the doubt, fear and anticipation to just be in the moment.
When baby is born, we realize that time is no longer ours. We give of everything to help our child adapt, learn and thrive. Some schedules work, some fail. What was flowing yesterday isn't today. So we hand over the control and just roll with each day as it comes. Learning how this unique human is fitting into this world.
Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months. Soon first words are being spoken. First steps are taken. With every new first is a feeling of triumph and heartbreak. Little by little, your baby doesn't need you. Words go from "momma" to "no" to "let me do it" to "I got it". Whether it's putting on a shirt or learning to ride a bike, mothers know they have to let their child do it eventually; so we let go of control no matter how messy it may be.
Before we know it, our baby will be older and ready to live their life. And all we can do is love them and let them know we are always in their corner. Fly or fail, they always have a home to come back to and a momma that will still give everything for them.
Happy Mother's day to all women. Those who wish to be mothers, are mothers of angels, young mothers, older mothers, mothers by birth, mothers by love.