Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Conversation on Birth Choices

It's inevitable. You get a group of women together and childbirth will most likely come up. Especially if anyone of them is pregnant. It seems like this topic has come up a lot lately in discussions I have been a part of. There are so many different ideas out there on caregivers, childbirth classes, where to have your baby, breastfeeding, and the list goes on an on.

I must begin by saying that I have not had the experience of any of this yet, so I am the bystander on many of these conversations. Of course, as a doula, natural birth advocate, and breastfeeding supporter, I do often find myself wanting to advocate more than I should. I also know that natural childbirth advocates can often times get categorized as "radicals", not willing to hear any other side.

But, it makes me really think after these gatherings and such discussions with these women. I am glad to be a part of such a diverse group of friends who have different ideas and opinions. By now, you all know that I do, however, feel that it is important to be educated and informed on all aspects of childbirth if you are a mother (or father) or plan on becoming one soon.

I understand that when you are pregnant that you get all kinds of advice, solicited or not. But, if you say to me "I am not brave enough to have a natural birth" or "I need the epidural before I even go into labor", then you are going to get a few probing questions from me. I would ask you, "What makes you feel that way?" "Do you know you have a 1 in 2 chance of having a cesarean section if you birth in a hospital?" "Do you understand the repercussions of an induction?" Sometimes just talking it out with them helps bring the topic into a whole new light. Maybe they have heard horror stories about other births and feel the hospital and drugs are the safest route for them. Maybe they aren't fully educated on how the drugs may effect the mother and baby during and after birth. Maybe they want the process to be easier for their husband/support person so he/she doesn't have to "worry" about her as much or get too tired while she is in labor (a doula would help, but that is for another post).

Many people have gotten their view of childbirth from television and movies. You know, the shows that all depict childbirth as an "emergency situation". The media has truly misrepresented the intimate, calming, loving nature of birth. They have created birth to be a fearful, stressful situation that it does not have to be. Besides the media, I often wonder what really makes women feel fearful of childbirth. Is it the pain? Is it the "what if" factor? It is all the unknowns? Does she feel unprepared?

As women, we have the right to choose whatever kind of birth we want to have. It is, after all, our body and our birth. So, whether you choose to have a natural (unmedicated) birth or a medicated birth, please understand why you made that choice. That choice could affect you and your baby for the rest of your lives.


Nancy said...

Well said, Hannah. Thanks!

Donna Ryan said...

Hey, I scrolled through your blog this morning and love the new look. More professional, for sure. Lots of great info!