Maternal Profile

Tiziana d'Agostino: Advocating for Birth Center Care and Midwifery

A New Dawn

As the sun painted the skies of San Diego in hues of gold and orange, my life was about to change forever. I'm Tiziana d'Agostino, a UX design consultant, originally from the vibrant city of Milan, Italy. Moving to the U.S. years ago, I found myself far from home, without the comforting presence of family, which only amplified my sense of solitude in this vast new world.

Even before my son's arrival, I knew I needed support beyond what my wonderful husband could offer. Being far from home, and without my Italian family to guide me, I felt a deep need for someone personable, someone who could walk me through the birthing experience with empathy and understanding. That's why I decided to secure a doula ahead of time, someone who could be there for both of us, filling the gaps left by distance and unfamiliarity. I chose a doula who was not only experienced but also offered prenatal massages and prenatal yoga sessions as part of her package. It was a significant decision, one that required us to pay out of pocket, but the promise of personalized support and the luxury of having someone else there for guidance made it worth every penny.

The Heart of the Storm

I was 37 when I embarked on the journey of motherhood, a path that both excited and intimidated me. Unfortunately labeled as an "elderly mother," I was determined to have a birth experience that felt right to me, one that didn't confine me to a bed or rob me of my autonomy. That's why I chose the UCSD Birth Center for the arrival of my son, a place that promised a blend of medical safety and the holistic support I yearned for.

The labor was intense and swift, far more so than I could have imagined. Amidst the physical ordeal, I found solace in the freedom to move, to find my strength in positions that felt natural, supported by a team that treated me with kindness and respect and clearly had my physical and emotional well-being in mind. My husband was my rock, providing comfort and reassurance with every passing moment. The doula played relaxing music and massaged me with lavender scented oil. She also took the first picture of our new family of three. And then, before I knew it, I was holding my son, cutting the cord myself because my husband is squeamish at the sight of blood.

A New Chapter

Those first days were a blur of emotions, learning and growing together in a room that felt like a cocoon, shielded from the world outside. The birth center's philosophy of care, emphasizing breastfeeding and the absence of commercial pressures, resonated with me deeply. It was a special place where we both began to navigate the complexities of motherhood, bolstered by the support of my husband who never left our side.

Reflecting on my journey, I'm struck by the contrast between the joyous moments and the trials that followed. Motherhood is a mosaic of experiences, some radiant with love, others shadowed by the weight of expectation and the silent struggle of postpartum depression. It's a path that tested my independence, my identity, and my resilience.

To other mothers walking this path, know that your choices are valid, your feelings are real, and you are not alone. Also know that is normal not to feel an immediate connection with the tiny stranger that is on your chest. Whether it's deciding on a birthing center, embracing the support of a doula, or facing the challenges of breastfeeding and beyond, trust in the strength within you. And to the innovators and researchers out there, let my story be a reminder of the need for compassionate, personalized care that honors the diversity of motherhood's journey.

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