I find this interesting because I have never gotten this impression from "natural birth" sources-- or only rarely, or only as shorthand. Instead, what I get is, "iatrogenic complications are usually/often the cause of such-and-so complication" or "if you do XYZ no-/low-intervention thing, then you will improve your chances of having an uncomplicated birth." No guarantees.
Guarantees, as a rule, are neither scientific nor ethically supportable.
But I feel like I run into these sorts of arguments all the time (speaking generally now), and while I am FAR more intuitive than logical, they confuse and frustrate the logical part of my brain, such as it is. Like in a business situation, I'll say, "well, studies show that X works 80% of the time, and here is why I think X is the best course of action, blah blah." And people will respond, "Oh, so if I don't do X, then I'm stupid?" or "I had a friend who did X and it was a disaster for her! There goes your theory!" And I'm kind of nonplussed. Just because something usually works (if there's good reason to believe it does), does not mean that it always works, or works for everyone in every circumstance, or whatever. And it certainly doesn't mean one should place all of his/her hopes on that thing, without considering how s/he will feel and what s/he will do if it doesn't work. But on the other hand, just because there are no guarantees does not mean, to me, that it's not worthwhile to at least make an attempt to make the choice that carries the best odds.
I hope that doesn't sound condescending. Just "thinking out loud."
I'm not suggesting anyone here "failed to take responsibility" in some way by buying into powerful ideas (societally-sanctioned or otherwise). But I think it's been really, really important to me, personally, to see life as series of risks and rewards and decisions, none of which has a guaranteed outcome.
I really appreciate this response to my post because it gets me thinking again. I don't take this as condescending. I actually agree with you on pretty much everything. There are no guarantees. The best we can do is improve our odds.
I think where I'm coming from is trying to figure out how we support and help women who've had traumatic births. And the message "there are no guarantees, all you can do is improve your odds" is just not helping me move through my trauma. I am a bit stuck in endless second guessing about my experience, especially since I don't know exactly what went wrong with my labor or what would prevent the same disaster were I to try again (not that I'm going to). Did I really do my best and give myself the best odds? Did I really give natural birth every possible chance to succeed? And if I didn't, what does that say about me? Did I deserve what I got? If I really understood that there were no guarantees, then why do I feel so traumatized? And why am I still trying to sort this out more than 3 years later?
Which brings me back to something I posted far upstream...the prevailing views of birth trauma. Either I am:
1) Neurotic and need to get over myself.
2) I went with the wrong provider/care/method and/or didn't make the right choices and I need to just take responsibility for that and move on.
3) Something else, to be determined.
What I wish for is a birth conversation context that would not only help women prepare for their best possible birth, but help them move through trauma when it occurs. It seems like the "there are no guarantees, just give yourself the best odds" message would be enough to innoculate women against disappointment and trauma when things don't go well. But that's not what I have experienced.
Sorry, I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well.