Sunday, February 24, 2013

Portlandia of the Baby World

Hello from Portlandia. The thing I love about this show is that it is so very accurate in making fun of the people here. And yet I still love living here, or rather, Portlandia's humor makes it easier to live here, easier to co-exist with the skinny vegan bicycle dude with a bird on his hat at the farmers' market asking for gluten free bagels. And yes, I am guilty of some of the same Colin-questioning as the next resident of Lala land.

In regards to baby making, we all generally get them in there the same way. But when it comes to getting them out & what to do with them once they are out, Portland(ia) has its own take on every aspect and I'm so very thankful to be living here. There are so many more alternatives available here for every aspect of child rearing. It's easy to accept the way we do it here as the norm, and I certainly wish it was in most cases. I forget that in the US, the rate of cesarean section is over 30% ( , that in some places, midwives are considered unusual or fringe and that breastfeeding for at least six months is at a rate of 47% nationally (CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card). Here in PDX, we are ahead of the game, which for childbirth means in some ways returning to the past, but with the benefits of today's medical technologies at hand. (PS: as I research this I noticed that Oregon has the highest rate in the nation for breastfeeding at three months and six months! Hurray!)
Take my birth for example: I worked with midwives at OHSU, one of the top teaching hospitals in the country. We had a doula to coach us through the birth. We took two classes, one was "Birthing from Within" (which Shannon could barely stomach) and another more conventional Basics of Birth class from Kaiser. In our birth plan, we had included hypnobirthing, water birth, and as many steps as possible to avoid drugs or other interventions. Once born, we co-slept with our baby, worked through many a breastfeeding issue with lactation consultants, breastfed exclusively for as long as possible (still happening), bought into all the alternative toys, carriers, and other baby gear, joined a moms' group with like-minded people, and attempted the newest thing in feeding: baby-led weaning. 

Now don't get me wrong, I painstakingly researched every decision, and in the end I pretty much ended up doing what all the other moms of Portland(ia) were already doing.

I think that wherever you live, parenthood is a foray into confusing research, confounding choices and indoctrination into certain schools of thought. But somehow in Portland, there are just a lot more alternatives, or as some might see it, a lot more ways to go over the top with something. I don't care. It sure beats a hospital where doctors make all the choices for you, and going to Babies R Us for parenting information.