It’s Not About You.
I have never really thought of myself as a selfish person. I grew up as the oldest child in my family. I always had more responsibility than my siblings and I rarely had moments to myself to just do anything I wanted to do. I was naturally giving, a people-pleaser, and found myself continuing this way into adulthood. I’m sure it’s why being a doula is the perfect career for me.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I began to get unsolicited advice as do most newly pregnant mothers. Some of it was helpful and some I wished people would keep to themselves. One thing that stood out to me then and still stands out to me today, is how often people say things like,
“Well, you know it’s not about you anymore. It's all about the baby, now."
For a long time I believed this.
I recently came across a discussion in which a mother’s choice in how she gave birth turned into a free for all of people stating how selfish she was. You see, the birth did not come without complications. The mother had a satisfactory birth experience and even with the complications felt like she made the right decision. She had made her decision based on her research and personal convictions. She felt like her care provider treated her with respect, listened to her concerns, and gave her the best care possible, yet she was attacked because the outcome wasn’t “perfect”. She was essentially selfish because she dared to consider her own recovery as a factor in her decision.
Throughout pregnancy you are told what you can and cannot do based on medical advice, other people’s personal experiences, fears, and biases. Pregnancy brings on a whole new level of vulnerability that many have never felt.
You give your body over to a being you have yet to meet for 40 weeks (more or less).
You subject your body to physical exhaustion, sickness, aches, pain, poking, prodding, and people invading your personal space just because your abdomen sticks out a little further than it used to.
You experience childbirth. Enough said!
You turn your breasts over to this tiny human day in and day out for weeks, months, or even years.
Every ounce of your being is focused on the well-being of your baby.
But, you know, it’s not about you, right? Don't complain about the soreness, sleep deprivation, uncertainty and emotional stress you're going through. Didn't you know it's what you signed up for when you decided to become a parent? Suck it up, buttercup! It’s all about the baby, now.
STOP IT! JUST STOP IT!
If you don’t take time for something to be about you, how are you going to let anything be about the baby? You’ve heard that all that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, right? Too many times people leave the “healthy mom” part out. Having a healthy mom isn’t about you just existing, although that’s very important. You need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy during pregnancy AND after birth.
I’m giving you permission to be selfish even if no one else does.
Your thoughts, your feelings, your preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and especially in the days, weeks, and months that follow, matter!
This is your experience.
It is totally and undeniably about you! YOU MATTER!
Elysia Douglas is the owner of North Atlanta Concierge Doula Services, wife, and mother of 4 children. Her experiences as a mother and with helping her friends through pregnancy and birth led her to explore careers in birth work. She is passionate about helping women find their strength and reducing/overcoming the fears they may have during pregnancy and birth and possibly carry into their new roles as mothers.
If you are seeking an experienced, knowledgeable, caring and compassionate doula who not only wants to make sure your little one is adjusting well, but also wants to see you thrive, please contact Elysia at
470-384-9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.