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Do you trust birth?--Is that really the question we should be asking? - Page 2

post #21 of 68
No, I don't trust birth at all. I've experienced it two times go horrible wrong very quickly with no apparent reason. I'm kind of scared of pregnancy and birth, it has almost killed me twice. If I ever have another child, I want as much medical intervention that I can get.
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
Okay, thinking more, if birth is like life, if it is just a natural part of life (which I love and agree with)... why is it the one time in life where if we are ill or have something go wrong, it is a big failing on our part? Why in life if we are ill, we get help and we go on, whereas in birth, if we need help it is some giant mark on our character? What, other than good old fashioned woman hating, would explain that?

Not sure if this is exactly what you mean, but biologically, we expect to have illnesses throughout our lives. We have an immune system equipped to deal with it. Illness is "natural". A traumatic birth (usually) has aspects to it that are "unnatural" (whether justified or not, that unnatural cesarean might be life saving at the time, but it also may still be traumatic) and biologically, we do not expect to birth our babies through our abdomen so it is a pretty serious shock to our bodies if it happens! But, no, I don't believe it is a failure on the part of the mother. Sometimes its just bad luck. Sometimes its coercion from OBs.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post
Not sure if this is exactly what you mean, but biologically, we expect to have illnesses throughout our lives. We have an immune system equipped to deal with it. Illness is "natural". A traumatic birth (usually) has aspects to it that are "unnatural" (whether justified or not, that unnatural cesarean might be life saving at the time, but it also may still be traumatic) and biologically, we do not expect to birth our babies through our abdomen so it is a pretty serious shock to our bodies if it happens! But, no, I don't believe it is a failure on the part of the mother. Sometimes its just bad luck. Sometimes its coercion from OBs.
Oh I definitely agree that it is a serious shock to the system and that sometimes c/s are unwarranted (um most of the time probably!). I am saying that biologically we expect to have illnesses, yes, and sometimes our immune systems can carry us through, but other times we need medical assistance. Same thing with birth IMO. Biologically we expect to give birth, and why should we never expect to need assistance with birth, as we do with life? Surgery is a shock, c/s interrupts the birth process and physically I do believe our bodies are shocked and kind of bewildered. But same with surgery for other issues, and yet sometimes we do need it. And it doesn't mean we are xyz of a bad thing or failure; it is just part of nature that not everything goes off without a hitch.
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
But same with surgery for other issues, and yet sometimes we do need it. And it doesn't mean we are xyz of a bad thing or failure; it is just part of nature that not everything goes off without a hitch.

But OTOH, many of us feel that birth shouldn't be equated with sickness at all. There are pregnancies and births where "illness" occurs which absolutely needs medicine but otherwise it's not a sickness that needs managing by an OB.

I do agree that if we fall ill with major diseases, we don't blame ourselves for failing. My mil did feel guilty for smoking when she got lung cancer, I understand that, but no one sees a child with lukemia and blames the child for "nature" not being normal.
post #25 of 68
I trust birth. Its going to happen, you won't be pregnant forever. Sometimes it'll happen the way you planned other times it won't. Mostly it'll be safe, sometimes it can be dangerous and scary.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
But OTOH, many of us feel that birth shouldn't be equated with sickness at all. There are pregnancies and births where "illness" occurs which absolutely needs medicine but otherwise it's not a sickness that needs managing by an OB.

I do agree that if we fall ill with major diseases, we don't blame ourselves for failing. My mil did feel guilty for smoking when she got lung cancer, I understand that, but no one sees a child with lukemia and blames the child for "nature" not being normal.
I am equating birth not with sickness but with life. And things going wrong physically is a part of life, but somehow it is expected to never be a part of birth, at least not if we 'trust birth.' I trust birth to be about as reliable as life. Usually all goes well, but sometimes we need help, and that doesn't mean we are a failure.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalmonBayDoula View Post
This is a great thread, I have enjoyed reading it. One of my favorite quotes (and at the moment, I can't recall who said it, to give proper credit to???) is

"Birth is as safe as life gets!"

I trust birth because it is an evolutionarily tested process that has been selected to work over thousands of years.

Sharon
I have heard Jeaninne Parvati Baker say that!
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I am equating birth not with sickness but with life. And things going wrong physically is a part of life, but somehow it is expected to never be a part of birth, at least not if we 'trust birth.' I trust birth to be about as reliable as life. Usually all goes well, but sometimes we need help, and that doesn't mean we are a failure.
I agree with that. Maybe the question is for those who are afraid of birth?
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
I agree with that. Maybe the question is for those who are afraid of birth?
I don't know tho that we either have to fear birth or trust it to be bunnies and fluffy kisses. Yk? I have IMO very little fear of birth for a woman in this culture, and I have had two natural births, the second at home and an incredibly high experience. Yet I don't 'trust birth' in this way I hear about so often in natural birth communities, I don't assume it is wonderful and sweet and will always go perfectly if we just believe in it enough. I think there is another path to be found that is not faith that verges into flaky-illogical-dangerous territory, OR mainstream medical model style terror.
post #30 of 68
Great post. I've thought about the topic before. I do hear a lot of mamas on this board saying they trust birth, or have faith in the birthing process. Come to think of it, I've probably made similar comments. But no, like a PP said, I don't trust birth any more than I trust nature (and I grew up in New Orleans). I trust that I'm a competent driver, but I still have insurance because there's a chance I might cause a wreck. Things are usually okay, but sometimes they go wrong.
I had pretty much a textbook perfect homebirth. My mom and my sister also had easy, uncomplicated births. We were the birthing version of a beautiful spring day with blue skies and a gentle breeze. But it's still very common and natural for something to go wrong in birth.
For me, choosing to have a homebirth involved a lot of factors, but on the safety issue, it came down to a game of odds. I figured if I stepped into a hospital I had nearly a 1 in 3 chance of winding up with a C section, a 60 percent chance of getting dosed with pitocin, a high chance of getting sliced open with an epesiotemy, a high chance of the birth and immediate aftermath interfering with establishing breastfeeding, and so on. I figured that if I had a homebirth attended by a highly trained and experienced midwife, I had a very high chance of having a safe and uncomplicated birth, or being able to quickly transfer to a hospital at the first sign of something beyond her ability to handle. I accepted the statistically tiny but still real risk of something happening that could have been handled in a hospital but could lead to death or injury at home.
Throughout it all, I did have a sense of overall trust and confidence in my own body's ability to birth easily and safely, and that wound up being true. But I still knew there was a chance that my body would become the equivalent of an earthquake or hurricane.
post #31 of 68
Thread Starter 
See, and I think that playing the "odds game" is not an issue of trusting birth. I think that is an issue of trusting my own sound ability to reason and make rational decisions.
post #32 of 68
I trust birth, I also trust myself to know if we need outside help. I feel birth is a normal event, but occasionally there can be issues.
post #33 of 68
I love the storm analogy. It drives me crazy that we're expected to be dressed for the hurricane, no matter how nice a day it is. But, it also does no good to pretend the hurricanes never happen.

Trusting birth...I do, but it is a weird way to phrase it. I trust birth to happen, usually, the way it's supposed to. That doesn't mean that I think a good attitude and doing all the right things guarantees a good birth or a healthy baby or whatever. I also like the "birth is as safe as life gets", but I understand why some people don't. The way it's used sometimes is intellectually dishonest. I've almost been killed crossing streets with the lights, after looking both ways - twice. I've done illegal drugs in irresponsible ways, and been completely fine. Birth is no different. It's not an illness. It's not an emergency. But, it's not completely safe. "Completely safe" is a null concept - it doesn't apply to life, and it doesn't apply to the beginning of life.

I never had any doubt that I'd have a vaginal birth the first time. I remember thinking that if the pain were much worse than I thought it would be (it wasn't - it hurt, but not like I was told it would), I might get pain meds. But, I wasn't even remotely planning to, because I hate pain meds. I trusted myself and my body and I laboured at home for almost a day. And...I didn't realize my little gymnast had turned breech during labour (as an aside, I've been assured by experts that he didn't, because that's not possible in a first-time mom). I ended up having a c-section. While I really thought I'd VBAC next time, my trust in birth and my body was shaken. I was too easily pressured into repeating the section, because of that lack of trust. When my first was 14.5 years old, I finally really believed I could give birth...and I ended up with my 4th c-section and stillborn son.

I don't "trust birth" for me, anymore. My last baby arrived by c-section on Friday, and I had my tubes tied. But...I still trust birth as a physiological process, in general. I trust my heart to beat and my lungs to work, too - but that doesn't mean that hearts and lungs never fail, yk? Because I know people with heart disease, doesn't mean I have to live as though I have it. Because I had multiple c-sections and a stillborn baby, doesn't mean every woman has to be treated as though those things are imminent.

So, basically - I think the medical establishment is completely off track...but I also think there are segments of the natural birth community who go overboard in the other direction.
post #34 of 68
Wonderful topic!
My opinion--Birth is a venture into the great unknown. You can prepare for the journey, but you never know what is going to happen!
I strive for a birth with no pain medicine or interventions. I had one perfect birth already--midwife, no pain med, and I pray for another one just like that!

However, I am thankful for the medical community. Throughout thousands of years, many women and babies did not make it safely through birth. That is why we have hospitals, medicine, and even c-sections. As precautions. As much as you might trust your body, I don't think you can trust birth. You can go into the birth, prepared for a natural wonderful event, but also realize that IF there are complications, then off to the hospital you go. We should be thankful for the choices available, whether we trust birth or not!

Answer to original question--I do not trust birth. I don't think you can trust anything in nature. Nature is untamed, wild, unpredictable. You just have to go with the flow, and adjust accordingly.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
The best thing I ever read about this question was on these boards a little while ago. Someone wrote that she trusts birth like she trusts nature. In other words, mostly everything is fine. Every now and then, there's a huge storm, and things are really not fine. The question to me is, how do you respond to that? "Birth" is not a person, who might be either reliable or unreliable, trustworthy or not trustworthy.

Rather than thinking about this question as "trusting birth" or not, I think about what kinds of odds you want to play. Because it's always odds, never a sure thing. The chances of unnecessary intervention if you walk into your standard US maternity care model are quite high. To continue the storm analogy, it's like women are being asked to wear their most protective rain gear and get ready for a hurricane every single day, even when the weather report is for 75 degrees and sunny.

To me, quality maternity care is about keeping track of the odds that things are going to stay sunny and warm. If everything looks good, which is almost always will, then you don't need any storm gear/intervention. In those cases where everything doesn't look good, you need to go about making appropriate preparations - whatever that might mean for a particular case.

But one thing I think is important to realize is that your level of trust in birth - or the weather - has absolutely no effect on birth or the weather. We can not control nature. We can only control our response to nature.
This is absolutely wonderful!
post #36 of 68
My two cents:

I 'trust' birthing and labouring the way a person 'trusts' digesting, blood circulation and pulmonary function. It is a natural, positive control mechanism for our species.

That being said, just because digestion happens, doesn't negate the possibility of problems. Just because your heart beats, that doesn't mean you won't have a heart attack. (Although sudden pulmonary adema is quite unusual ).

In that case, I trust that I or someone I know (or the people on MDC ) will have the knowledge to assess and rectify the problem.

And failing that, I would consider allopathic and surgical assistance if I could see a greater chance of a living outcome. I don't 'trust' it but I think some of the tools could be utilized.

I know some U/C mamas are big on allowing things to unfold as-is, but I am very selfish. I want my baby, alive. I will do all I can to 'trust' several layers before reaching true interventions.
post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post

I don't know the circumstances surrounding your birth, but for me, what
helped was to give myslef credit for everything I had contributed to my baby's birth. I grew my baby, I nourished him with healthful food, I did my best to prepare mentally and physically for his birth. I labored at home for 25 hours, and I was STRONG in labor, I chose to transfer because I new that I needed more help in birthing my baby. I chose to have a spinal and pitocin because I believed it would give my baby the best chance for a vaginal birth considering the circumstances. After 31 hours total of labor, I chose to have a ceserean because I knew I was exhausted and that my baby was exhausted and he needed to be born so that I could hold him and nurture him. After the ceserean, I nursed my baby and fought for what I new in my heart to be best for his health. I did ALL of those things and ALL of things are part of my birth process. The surgery itself was 20 minutes of all of that. I gave 40 weeks, 3 days, and 31 hours of labor to the birth of my baby. When I was able to really credit myself for all of that, I came to a place where I was able to say, you bet I gave birth, I just needed some help in the home stretch, and I'm okay with that.

I don't know if any of that is helpful to you or not, but in my experience I had to rephrase what I was telling myself about the birth of my son. I had to do it for my own sanity. I NEEDED to give myself that credit. And it has really helped me to come to a sense of peace. I have learned a lot of lessons that I otherwise would not have learned, and I am grateful for those lessons. Reframing my birth in this way does not make me glad I had a ceserean. It does not make me trust birth. And it does not make me trust my body. But it does help me to trust myself and to see myself as a capable woman and a capable mother because I know that I can respond to unwanted situations with strength and I can do what's best for myself and my baby even in situations that aren't ideal.
:

wonderfully phrased!
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
The best thing I ever read about this question was on these boards a little while ago. Someone wrote that she trusts birth like she trusts nature. In other words, mostly everything is fine. Every now and then, there's a huge storm, and things are really not fine. The question to me is, how do you respond to that? "Birth" is not a person, who might be either reliable or unreliable, trustworthy or not trustworthy.
.....snip....
But one thing I think is important to realize is that your level of trust in birth - or the weather - has absolutely no effect on birth or the weather. We can not control nature. We can only control our response to nature.
"My father always taught me to respect Nature. Because Nature has no respect for you."
--- Dana Scully, the X-files Episode "Quagmire."
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Girlprof View Post
But one thing I think is important to realize is that your level of trust in birth - or the weather - has absolutely no effect on birth or the weather. We can not control nature. We can only control our response to nature.
I love this (entire) post and haven't gotten all the way through the thread. But I have to disagree with the last paragraph here. What we think and feel and the level of trust we have (in a person, event, system, universe, etc) absolutely *can* have an impact on our outcomes. We may not be changing the entire system, but it can certainly effect our personal experience. Karma, fate, life force, God, nature...it is all interconnected and how we feel about it, where we place our trust or mis/distrust is very important.
post #40 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leila1213 View Post
I love this (entire) post and haven't gotten all the way through the thread. But I have to disagree with the last paragraph here. What we think and feel and the level of trust we have (in a person, event, system, universe, etc) absolutely *can* have an impact on our outcomes. We may not be changing the entire system, but it can certainly effect our personal experience. Karma, fate, life force, God, nature...it is all interconnected and how we feel about it, where we place our trust or mis/distrust is very important.
You're right, our emotional state, our level of trust does influence birth. But that's different than control. The post you responded to said we can't control birth. A woman can do all the planning in the world, she can build up her body and her mind and her soul. She can arrange things perfectly (and that goes for a medicated or an unmedicated birth) but that doesn't mean that she's not going to need a transfer to the hospital and a ceserean. Or if she's planning on an epidural, all of her planning doesn't mean that she's not going to have such a precipitous labor that there isn't any time for the anesthesiologist to get there. That's the point. You can plan and arrange all you want, but you still need to be open to the possibilities because in the end, you can't control birth.
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