November 14, 2011

natural childbirth is not possible

I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it's more likely from my new winter boots than from standing on a soapbox. But...well...I want to say something that's going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:

Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.

Okay, maybe it's POSSIBLE, but it ain't likely.

We live in a culture that fosters negative perceptions regarding childbirth. We watch movies and tv shows that tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We see images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our "friends". We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such.

What we are NOT doing is educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.

You can SAY all day long, "I want a natural birth," but if you aren't educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don't read the Driver's Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver's ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.

Now, by "educating yourself" I do NOT mean taking the little hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that "could go wrong" and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic "NO".

Read for yourself - literature from both ends of the spectrum, from "Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing" to "Shut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups". Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in "A Baby Story" on TLC, then chase it with "The Business of Being Born" on Netflix. Read up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven's sake, PARENTING.

While I heavily favor drug-free birthing, as a doula it is my job to help you have the experience you want. Have a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR decision. Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.


Jennifer Pentecost said...

Amen! As a L&D nurse who has had unmedicated childbirth, it drives me CRAZY when ladies come in wanting a natural birth, etc but have not done any research or taken ANY classes. I'm willing to help you, but when youre in pain and haven't taken any classes or read about any techniques to help you, you are not at a point where I can teach you from the beginning. (ESP when I have seen you for an antepartum visit and suggested you read and/or take a class and you didn't take my advice!)

mnpolutta said...

All I can say is I wish I had known you when....

NinjaPrincess said...

Preach, sistah!