I've very excited to announce that beginning tomorrow, I’m going to begin a weekly post with a positive, natural childbirth story. I’m lining up guest posters who will be sharing their personal stories of how they brought their baby into the world.
I’m a huge natural childbirth advocate. If you think women who have natural births are martyrs with something to prove, you might want to stop reading now, I’m about to get on my soap box. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The idea of a natural, interference free birth has never been a stranger to me. My mom had me and my seven sisters the old fashioned way, with no drugs. Two of my younger sisters were even (gasp!) born at home. My sister has three natural births under her belt and with baby #4 due in July, I’ve no doubt she’ll soon make it four. I never really gave natural birth a thought until my husband and I started talking seriously about starting a family. It didn’t take me long to decide that a natural childbirth was the way I wanted to go.
To be honest, I started out just thinking “If my mom and sister did it, I’ll be darned if they are going to show me up! I’m tough, I don’t need drugs!”. Then I began devouring books, scouring websites and generally educating myself on the topic of birth. The things I learned completely change my mentality. I still wanted a natural childbirth - even more, in fact - but for completely different reasons.
Let me just stop right now and say that I think that modern medicine is amazing. Hundreds of thousands of mothers and babies have been saved through medical intervention.However, I firmly believe that these same life-saving procedures and surgeries are grossly overused and abused in hospitals and health facilities around our country. Research has proven that more than half of all c-sections are not medically necessary. These unnecessary surgeries can cause life long damage to both mother and baby. For example, c-section babies are 79% more likely to develop asthma as children. Epidurals and other pain relieving drugs can slow down the labor process and despite what your health care professional may tell you - the drugs DO pass to your unborn baby. I mean really, let’s be honest with ourselves. We avoid strong painkillers, lunch meat, caffeine and a slue of other things that are considered unsafe for our baby during our pregnancy - are we really naive enough to believe that drugs as strong as morphine or an spinal epidural (which is derived from cocaine, by the way) is somehow magically NOT going to pass to our unborn baby? Don't even get me started on planned inductions before the actual due date. I digress.
There is a pandemic of birth paranoia sweeping our country where childbirth is being treated like an illness that needs to be fixed, monitored and managed. We spend so much time focusing and preparing for things to go wrong that we've forgotten that birth is a normal, natural act that our bodies were created to perform.
The bottom line is this - birth works. A woman’s body is designed explicitly to carry and bear children. Throughout my pregnancy, I never let myself doubt that I was fully capable of birthing my baby. I trusted my body. I knew that it would probably hurt (it did!) but that I would be glad I persevered (I was!).
I’m completely convinced that having a natural childbirth is more than half mental. It’s not enough to hope that you won’t need drugs or interventions - you have to go into your birthing experience truly believing that interventions will not be necessary. Personally, I never even let myself consider them an option.
A big part of my mental preparation was surrounding myself with positive birth stories. I scoured the internet for successful natural childbirth stories and talked endlessly to my mom, sister and other mothers who had birthed their children naturally. I felt such a rush from hearing other mother’s recount the day of their baby’s birth.
This is the idea behind the natural childbirth series I have planned. I would love for pregnant mom's to have another resource they can use to help them prepare for their own natural childbirth.
On deck for tomorrow: Peanut's birth story! You didn't really think I was going to pass up the chance to share my own birth story, did you?