September 27, 2016

Making people pleasers.

My previous text was a very difficult one for me to post. My feelings and thoughts concerning my wish for a home birth, are feelings and thoughts I thought long and hard on ever even revealing - to anyone. What finally triggered me into writing was some comments I read about how doulas, private midwives, childbirth classes and so forth, are but a way to take advantage of, manipulate and make good business off women whose brains and judgement are mushed by pregnancy hormones. Comments and views like that are so incredibly demeaning - to everyone involved - and really make my blood boil. So I decided I wanted to not hide my thoughts and wishes concerning this matter anymore, but proudly stand for what I believe in - even if it does not correlate with the public opinion. I must tell you, it's not easy to share an opinion out of the ordinary, as so often when someone raises a question, expresses an opinion or thought out of the norm, it is taken as criticism and/or ungratefulness - even stupidity. It's very easy to be bullied by these into simply keeping one's mouth shut, or just going with the flow.

In whatever I write, my intentions are never to insult, judge or criticize anyone. These are merely my personal thoughts, feelings and opinions, which we all have our right to, and I equally respect thoughts, feelings and opinions different from my own. I see myself as a smart, thinking woman, who weighs her options, does her research (not only the one that corresponds with my own point of view), listens to her gut, and thereafter: draws her own conclusions. If my choice then differs from the masse's, does that really mean I am not capable of drawing conclusions and making my own (valid) decisions? Why should I have to go with the flow? Has that ever been a good thing; when people are not allowed to think for themselves? 

One other reason why making my thoughts, opinions, feelings and values public feels difficult at times, is because I have the remains and history of a people pleaser in me. With having lived the way where my own well being and feelings always came second, simply to keep others happy, now posting things that might not make people around me (known or unknown) happy, stretches my area of comfort quite a lot. There's still the person in me that simply wants to keep everyone happy, not push the boundaries, not press any buttons. Of course, this trait is a good one; to take others into consideration, and that is something I will never lose - but all in healthy moderation and balance. 

So being an ex people pleaser, and someone who still from time to to time battles with recognizing when falling into that trap - when I do choose something for myself, when I do stand up for myself, even the slightest hint of being thought of, suggested or told off as therefore being ungrateful or selfish, is really hard for me to hear. For I am so glad and proud that I've finally found the power to speak my mind, to make my own decisions - and to stand behind them. And I know my intentions have never been, never are and never will be to hurt others. I have simply finally allowed myself the right and respect to be true to myself. To not be guilted, bullied or manipulated into doing as is most convenient for others. To see and recognize when someone is trying to do so. This is why, even if it is not meant with harm, even if it is a comment unheard by the speaker - when the slightest indication or mention of the words ungratefulness, selfishness or irresponsibility pops up in a situation where I see myself or someone else simply making their own choice and decision, I get extremely protective. Because this is one of the ways people pleasers are made: by hearing they are ungrateful, selfish or difficult when choosing for or listening to themselves. You, me, and everyone else, have the equal right to choose exactly what feels best and right for us. No one has the right to bully, manipulate, convince or guilt us into choosing or doing something we don't want, simply because it accords with their personal opinion, fear or need for control.  Because when someone wants you to do something their way, that's exactly what it is; their fear that you might otherwise choose differently, their fear of losing control - over you and/or the situation. They are not respecting your right to choose for yourself. We really need to start respecting and trusting each other more. We seem to have such a difficult time with trusting and respecting other people's skill to draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. Trying to control other people's opinions and/or choices through guilt, manipulation or strength is not the way to go. It's not the way with your partner, it's not the way with your friends, it's not the way with your family, co workers, strangers - anyone. (And it's certainly not the way with an expecting woman whose motherly instincts have started to come awake...) So just as it does not make me ungrateful if I say 'No thanks' to an ice cream offered to me, or choose to go to hairdresser A instead of B. Just as it does not make me ungrateful for my (first) nurse simply because my opinions and/or values don't accord with hers, it does not make me ungrateful for the health care or hospitals we have in Finland by wishing for the setting of my own home or believing in first trying it the natural way. When it comes to my heart, my health, my values, my hair, my life - I have the full right to choose who and what ever correlates with what feels best for me. And no one should have to feel that my choices are me stepping on their toes - simply because I chose to not walk their way.



September 23, 2016

I want a home birth.

Last year 46 out of 55 759 babies were born at home in Finland. Planned home births that is. An extremely tiny percentage (not even close to a percent), but still a growing number from the year before. Planned home birth is something of a sensitive subject here in Finland. Not seen with very accepting eyes. And if one is one of the 0,0 something percent that wants a home birth, one sort of learns what to say and what not to say when that matter comes up. Basically one just keeps one's mouth shut. Because the reactions and the response can be quite aggressive, judging, even intimidating and harsh. That is why I thought I would leave my thoughts about this subject unsaid and unwritten, at least until our little baby has arrived. But seeing as anything can happen in life, I want to share my thoughts already. Because if it goes as so, as to me giving birth in a hospital, I want everyone to know that that wasn't my wish. I want to proudly stand behind being one of the 0,0 something percent.

When first asked about if I had given any thought as to the circumstances around the birth, my answer came without me even having put any thought into it. I answered the way 16-year-old me would have answered: in hospital, with my husband in another room (as I thought the grossness of something being forced out of my tiny va-jj would not be good for him to see if we ever were to look at each other in that way again), and probably with the help of a lot of painkillers. At sixteen I even felt a cesarean would be just awesome, as that would mean I'd have to do no work, nor go through any pain myself. (!!) And then a full grown man told me he had been a part of his child's birth, and that that had been the most amazing and beautiful thing he had ever seen and experienced, and that he would not have wanted to miss that for the world. His words really got me thinking. If a man could see all that, and find it so beautiful, why was I so shy/afraid/disgusted of the thought? And so, I decided to carefully venture into the world of social media and youtube, and I saw my first ever water birth video - with muted sound though, as that felt like a little too much at once. I did not expect my reaction to be tears, nor how beautiful I would find it to be. It was like my eyes were opened and all fears washed away - in some other woman's birth pool.

I love the feeling of knowing myself. Of trusting myself, my intuition, my own judgement. And when you find something that for the first time in your life makes an event you've dreaded into a beautiful thing - well, I wanted to know more. So I watched more videos (with sound gradually going up), read more articles, blogs, and even bought me some old school books. And now, for the first time in my life, I know what birth is. I know what happens in a woman's body. I know about all the magnificent hormones we have, how our bodies are built, what happens when the process of birth begins, what positions help deliver, how to breathe and move in order to help relieve the pain. And with knowing all of this I now have complete trust in my body. I have no doubts I cannot do this. And absolutely no doubts that this will be the most beautiful thing in my life so far. I have no shame of showing myself in this state to my husband Sam. None. He has now become the one I want closest to me when all this happens. And I want to do it at home. I want the natural pace of the process to be respected. I want to be surrounded by people who trust, believe and know that a woman's body is more than capable of performing this act - as naturally as possible. Because this is the most natural thing.

So why is it so difficult to "come clean" about wanting and wishing for a planned home birth? Because people react so hard. And why do people react so hard? Is it the matter of safety? That is the first thing one gets asked/told. But if we put the topic of it being a safety issue aside for now, and let it rest on the fact that with every intervention done at a hospital (interventions you might never even come to second guess, as you already perceive them as a "natural" part of birth), there are risks as well. And if we respect the woman as much as to assume that she has done her homework - and her judgement based on that. (That she is healthy, in the risk free zone, close to a hospital and has expert and experienced help with her.) Then why is her choice frowned upon? Why does she get judged? Called irresponsible. Is it because a woman thinking outside the box (or hospital in this case), is a woman making things difficult by taking things into her own hands? By thinking for herself? Is she not capable of doing so? When a woman wants to know how her body works, be it through buying books, googling, taking childbirth classes, having a doula and/or a personal midwife (who, in some people's opinion, have the audacity of getting paid for their help) - that is not a woman who has lost the capability of thinking for herself, nor does it mean she has lost the capability of performing the most natural of things: giving birth (on the contrary - she wants to do it as well as possible - by herself). And those are not businesses ripping off vulnerable and pregnancy hormone confused women. These things empower the woman. So why do we belittle them? Knowledge is perceived as power in almost everything else - except for when a woman knows? Can a woman know?

I respect all that the doctors, nurses and midwives at the hospitals do. I just want to make that perfectly clear. This text has nothing to do with the place most women choose to give birth. That is everyone's right to choose for themselves. But this text is about how I, through the process of being pregnant, found a great discomfort in the role of the passive patient I was put in. After all, this is the most active, personal and hands on happening of my life. It is me, my body, and the little miracle growing her own life there inside. I would much appreciate my knowledge, judgement, intuition and choices being respected. As no one else is going to give birth to this girl but me.



September 20, 2016

How I found what I was looking for.

How I found what I was looking for. My work, my passion, my love, my life, my baby, my happiness.

Easy: What I feared the most, I ventured in to.

I know, the word 'easy' is easier said than done. But it's true. After coming this far, I can honestly say, that finding yourself, finding what you want in and out of life, is as "easy" as that: Follow your fears. What you fear the most, what your biggest insecurities are, are your own personal telltales on what direction to go towards. What to try, what to do, what you will be good at, what to dare.

I grew up creative. Creativity, drawing and painting is what I loved. What was my getaway, my sanctuary, my freedom. Yet, I always told myself I wasn't good enough. I didn't even see it as an option to support myself through doing it. I looked everywhere else for what to do in life - except for there. Because 'there' was filled with fear. 'There' was something I loved so much, something that made me so vulnerable, that I got scared of the thought of even trying. So it felt safer to keep it as a dream. As something others would be good enough to do... Until one day, life handed me the biggest blessing of all; a huge "fail" in life as I knew it, and I, through and thanks to that, got to feel how not so terrible, nor dangerous, a "fail" actually was. (More of a relief, in fact.) So through my weakness, in my newly found courage, I ventured into what I had always feared I would not be good enough to do: paint. And to show what I paint. And there I found myself. My pure self, my passion - me. A happiness I had never felt before. And a huge sensation of freedom. And through that, I found the me I could feel and be happy with. The me that could start to heal herself. Mend herself - by herself. The me that slowly began to learn not to rely on others to fulfill her. To not look in others for the sensation of safety, meaning of life, self-confidence and assurance. I faced my fear - and found nothing less than my calling. (One of them.)

So when one thing starts to feel genuinely good, it's hard to keep compromising in another. It was time for my relationships to feel as good as the rest of my life did.

I also grew up a people pleaser. What has felt and been the most difficult for me has been to express (and value!) my own needs, to speak my mind and to say 'No' when something hasn't felt good or right. I have been so afraid of rejection, of not making others happy, that I have not allowed myself to feel that I am just as important as the other. I put myself second to others, even to the ones that treated me bad (actually, especially to them). But so now I began to realize that feeling bad was something I did not have to live with (!). And slowly but surely I began facing my fears, which meant expressing my desires. I can tell you, it's quite hard at first. It's like the words are locked in your mouth, your tongue physically unable to say them. But the trick is to simply spit it out. Don't think, just do. Say it. And I did. All that I had never dared say or demand or stand behind before - I said. I wanted to be respected, supported, valued, heard, listened to and seen. And I meant it. And then, I had to have the courage to walk away from those who were not able to give it.

So with career, self-appreciation and -respect in place, romance, intimacy, family, love and motherhood - all still included a lot of fears. Because what happens when all of your life you've lived with the pattern of fighting for your partner's appreciation and love? That love, that appreciation, becomes what you fear the most. As that is the most unknown. And that I did. True intimacy was the scariest thing I could imagine, for that was something I had never experienced. True, pure, honest to god, vulnerable and open intimacy. And then this guy comes into my life, showers me with his kindness and pure appreciation. Really sees me, and wants to see me. And I fear him like a wild animal fears the warmth of a fire. Luckily, by this time life had shown and proven to me, that what I had feared the most, when ventured into, had brought me the most happiness in life. So I say 'Yes'. I slowly get closer and let him come closer (in retrospect, it wasn't that slow, but it did feel like it) - and my fears begin to release - opening up the door to nothing less but euphoria. To a peace I have never ever ever never ever felt before (no typo there, just wanted to make my point). And all falls into place. I don't fear romance, intimacy, becoming a mother or building a family anymore, because I dared open myself up to the absolute best man to do this all with.

They say 'Follow your dreams'. But if you don't know what your dreams are - as I didn't - then begin by following your fears. Dare recognize them, and then dare confront them. They will lead you to where you want to go. Your fears will lead you to yourself and to your dreams.