So, what was terrible about my pregnancy the last time around?
- I didn’t have good support. DH was kind of deer-in-the-headlights about the whole thing. My family did not live in the area and my OB* didn’t allow doulas (see the next bullet point).
- Though I didn’t know it at the time, in retrospect, I wasn’t crazy about my OB. She was polite and professional, but there was never any kind of personal touch to her care. I saw her more than any doctor I had ever seen in my life, yet I couldn’t tell you a single personal thing about her other than that I knew she’d had kids of her own. On top of that, her practice was rather paternalistic and controlling. I was serviced by that clinic with the infamous anti-doula sign in the waiting room. I feel like my OB did not take my questions or concerns seriously. Also, her office staff was rude and they had sloppy accounting practices.
- The predominant conservative religious culture tended to worship motherhood and restrict women’s roles to the tune of “but pregnancy and childbirth are so awesome! Men need to be priests so that they can have something awesome, too!” This made me feel almost obligated to have a bad experience so that I could say, “Giving birth is not awesome. Your argument is invalid.”
- The books I had read and the movies I had seen pretty much conditioned me to expect pregnancy and childbirth to be terrible.
- I wound up with interventions that I did not want. The episiotomy was the worst, and my care providers did not tell me that an episiotomy could cause dyspareunia through psychological triggers even if it heals properly. I struggled with dyspareunia for three years after the birth.
I think that a lot of these factors can either be changed, or I can change my attitude about them. That is what I am working towards in planning pregnancy #2.
* She was actually a family practitioner, but she practiced out of a clinic with two OB-GYNs and delivered babies exclusively. So I guess she was an OB-wannabe?