What does that mean anymore?
adj. Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical: normal room temperature; one’s normal weight; normal diplomatic relations.
adj. Biology Functioning or occurring in a natural way; lacking observable abnormalities or deficiencies.
The status quo-AND/OR-“biology functioning in a natural way”.
Some days I don’t know what “normal” is either. For example, the “norm” for birth in this country (think induction, cesarean) may be average, but doesn’t exhibit “biology functioning in a natural way”. Maybe there isn’t a strict way of defining what IS normal, but there is a lot of attention these days as to what is NOT normal. And don’t get me wrong, I do it too. All of the time. We know so much, there has got to be a “reason” for everything and if that follows, there also has to be a solution, right??
Solutions come from problems. But how do we determine if there IS actually a problem?
We seem to have all these rules in our heads and have started to leave our hearts out of what is considered “normal”. Instead of looking at the big picture, we are all guilty of consulting our book of normal/abnormal for every little thing and then offering our fix, our answer. Even if it’s a “natural” solution, does everything require one? Does everything need to be explained?
Like I said, I do it too. I noticed not long ago that my newest babe is lip-tied. Hasn’t caused him any issues, but that’s not “normal” (or is it??). I was so tempted to “do something” about it; that MUST be why he doesn’t sleep at night, or why he was taking a while to eat solid foods! Suddenly, what’s normal for him became a problem. Something that needed fixing. (And for the record, after digging a little deeper within myself, I realized that these things are OK. This baby, this personality. But darn it, I want to sleep!:) Sometimes the “answers” are just being in it. Going through it.
There are so many examples of this lately, and my natural mothering world is no exception. I think it’s because we ARE smart and we ARE informed, and we take responsibility for our choices. But the needing to fix all of the time and “search and destroy” (as a friend so aptly put it) is diminishing our power as mothers, as women.
It is “normal” (in my circles, anyway) to question things. But where do we draw the line?
Not “enough” breastmilk? Then you need some milk producing herbs!
Feeling tired all of the time? Then your thyroid must be malfunctioning!
Labor too “long”? Then certainly baby was in a funky position!
Baby in utero having hiccups? Then there must be a food sensitivity!
Unless there’s not. A “reason” for any of these things, I mean. Unless all these things are normal, for this woman, this baby, at this particular place in time. Maybe she only thinks she doesn’t have enough milk because she’s pumping. Maybe the labor was “long” because that’s how the baby needed it to be. Maybe she’s tired because she’s nursing 2 kids and is up all night! Or maybe not. Our brains want to analyze, want to solve, want to do better. All this is OK…until somehow we are sort of back where we started. Full circle. We’re not trusting where we came from or where we are going.
So, I am offering that perhaps fear has become our new “normal”. Fear of missing something, of being wrong, of not covering all the bases. Fear of normal becoming…abnormal. Whatever happened to letting things be? Without needing to fix or solve everything. Forgetting that this is nothing more than imitation of the medical model that we tend to run from because of its tendency to band-aid everything and instill fear. How are we behaving any differently?
I want to stop trying to find solutions to things that are “biology occurring in a natural way”. Especially when there is nothing to fix, no one hurting and nothing wrong.
To admit that normal is normal or maybe that abnormal is normal, takes some guts.
When it’s in your own life, maybe less guts. After all, it’s your own life.
But when women come to us, other mamas, and want to know what we think-
It’s ok to say “I don’t know” or “that actually sounds normal to me”. We don’t have to make a problem where there isn’t one, because there is the trust we have in the natural processes (“normal” processes?) and ALSO the intuition of the woman. Not every woman is on to her own intuition. But it’s a growth process. It’s there, maybe hidden deep down under, for all of us. So, when asked about another, sometimes the best thing to offer is, “What do YOU feel?”
If a mama truly feels there may be a problem, she is probably right. But often when we are asked, that is not the case. We ALL need reassurance. Especially in pregnancy. We want to hear that baby hiccups are normal, not that some random internet source said they were tied to fetal hypoxia! We want to REASSURE normal. I want us to reassure normal, and not feel like we have to produce a problem and a solution for others at every turn. Or for ourselves.
I want to remember normal. And go from there.
Life is normal until proven otherwise. So is birth. And so are you.