Do you think the way your mother told you about birth changed the way you experienced it? - Mothering Forums
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Birth Stories > Do you think the way your mother told you about birth changed the way you experienced it?
gutsandgrace's Avatar gutsandgrace 09:26 AM 04-29-2014

i have lurked on these boards for years, reading birth stories for the most part and trying to find answers for my questions about what went wrong for me...i had a fairly traumatic birth experience and i keep doing research and reading and trying to figure out why it unfolded the way it did.


I think in part, the complete lack of information from my own mother played into my experience. she had a highly medicalized experience with both of her pregnancies and saw that as the norm and even desired. i see other women who's mothers and sisters (and husbands, fathers and brothers) helped support a more positive experience, i just wonder if i am looking  for reasons in the wrong places.


What do y'all think?

3lilchunklins's Avatar 3lilchunklins 02:08 PM 04-30-2014
I'm sorry that you had a traumatic birth experience.
IDK if I can personally say that my mother's views on birth effected my birth experiences. I guess a mother *should* be encouraging to her daughter as she approaches her own birth. But ultimately I feel like its up to the one giving birth to form their own opinions on birth. It scares my mother to death that I want a home birth, but that isn't going to stop me.
I think that as you continue to search for answers to why your birth unfolded in a way that was undesirable, you might find it more healing to not focus on blame, because that only bears more pain. I hope you figure out what you need to, or at least come to a place of acceptance.
Usually Curious's Avatar Usually Curious 07:30 PM 06-07-2014
Originally Posted by 3lilchunklins View Post
I'm sorry that you had a traumatic birth experience.<br>
IDK if I can personally say that my mother's views on birth effected my birth experiences. I guess a mother *should* be encouraging to her daughter as she approaches her own birth. But ultimately I feel like its up to the one giving birth to form their own opinions on birth. It scares my mother to death that I want a home birth, but that isn't going to stop me.<br>
I think that as you continue to search for answers to why your birth unfolded in a way that was undesirable, you might find it more healing to not focus on blame, because that only bears more pain. I hope you figure out what you need to, or at least come to a place of acceptance.
My mother had 3 medical, twilight sleep births, one homebirth with a midwife, and one natural, hospital birth (me). She was very open and honest with me.

With her fourth, MW/home birth she thought she was dying. The MW assumed she knew what she was doing without realizing that the twilight sleep births had not prepared her for natural birth. She literally thought she was dying.

With my birth, she was in the only hospital in Houston, TX that allowed natural birth. She said it was a much better experience.

I don't think her experiences affected my expectation of birth. My older sisters were open and frank about their experiences, too. I formed my opinion of birth from reading during my first pregnancy. The most helpful book I read was "Childbirth Without Fear" by Dr. Grantley Dick-Read.

I do think my birth experiences affected my dd's birth expectations. She was present at my 4th and 5th births in the few years before she had her own. She was mad because I "made birth look easy." She expected it to be as easy for her (with her first) as it was for me. However, her expectation was a natural, uneventful birth and that is what she got.
waywornwanderer's Avatar waywornwanderer 07:54 PM 06-07-2014
Originally Posted by gutsandgrace View Post
i have lurked on these boards for years, reading birth stories for the most part and trying to find answers for my questions about what went wrong for me...i had a fairly traumatic birth experience and i keep doing research and reading and trying to figure out why it unfolded the way it did.
I think in part, the complete lack of information from my own mother played into my experience. she had a highly medicalized experience with both of her pregnancies and saw that as the norm and even desired. i see other women who's mothers and sisters (and husbands, fathers and brothers) helped support a more positive experience, i just wonder if i am looking  for reasons in the wrong places.
What do y'all think?
Hmm- first off, I'm so sorry you had a traumatic birth experience. That sounds tough. I wish healing and forgiveness for you.

To answer your question, in my experience (mind you, I just have the one daughter, and the one birth experience)- no.

Well, ok. Here's the thing. My mom is an advanced practice urogynecology nurse. She sees uterine prolapse, et al, all the time, and when she found out I was pregnant, the first words out of her mouth were "I hope you're scheduling a c-section, because birth will mess you up". Oh, don't get me wrong. My mom is a LOVELY lady. She was so stoked for her first grandbaby. But in her view, given her own birth experiences (4 kids, all vaginal but all with epis, one precipitous birth that tore her badly) and her clinical experiences, she just could not see why I wanted a natural childbirth.

She and my DH (who, btw, as a student physician who had not yet rotated through OB-GYN, was terrified of birth and forbade me to have a homebirth) were baffled when I suggested I needed a doula. But, I fought for it and hired a student doula even though my family teased me for wanting a "stranger" in the labor room.

I have to say, between my doula and the Birth Without Fear class I took with my DH, and the eventual love/support of my mom (she was there in the birth room videotaping and taking pictures and crying tears of joy).... I had a fabulous birth.

I'm not sure why. I think sometimes, you prepare for something, and it doesn't go the way you planned. And sometimes, it DOES go exactly the way you planned. The reason behind it is a mystery. (If you believe in God, some people think that God has his own reasons for everything, beyond human wisdom. I don't really believe that, but I do believe that there is some sort of order/guiding wisdom in the world, and things tend to unravel the way they need to. We just don't always see it at the time.)

Anyway, hugs to you. Thanks for this thought-provoking discussion!
ocelotmom's Avatar ocelotmom 03:45 PM 06-08-2014
My mother never really told me much about her births, but I knew that they were natural (pain-med free, anyways - about as natural as they were going to get in a hospital at the time). She was a Bradley instructor, too. And yes, it influenced my thinking. I figured that if she could do it, so could I. I never planned to have an epidural, and didn't.

My grandmother also apparently had natural births, back in the 40s/50s (which I didn't find out until after I had my 3rd), and presumably that influenced my mom, and by extension, me.
Shakti77's Avatar Shakti77 08:50 AM 06-09-2014
My mom had 2 natural births and 1 Caesarian birth. Her birth experience didn't traumatized us but what she 'told' us abt birth messed us up a bit.

She told my younger sister when she was a highly anemic teenager who was going through painful periods - 'if you think this is painful, how are you going to deal with child birth? It will be 1000 times worse than this'. My sister had 2 Caesarian births. Just a Coincidence? I don't think so.

She told me about her first natural birth experience when she had me. Just the pain part. And that she kept telling the nurse with every contraction, that it was painful and the nurse telling her every time that it should get even more painful for the baby to arrive. Even though I wanted a natural birth, with my first DD, after a couple rounds of contraction, I remembered my moms words on how the pain will only increase from there, I ended up with a epidural.So, yes, it was ,my Moms words plus the fact that I was clueless about child birth. I had not taken any child birth class nor read about it in detail about labor.

For my second birth, I knew what I wanted. I went with midwives and read books on positive birth experiences and took a midwife birth centric labor class. I got a great birth experience the second time around.

My inference from my sister's experience and mine is that if you only have your mom's words to go by, then her birth experience influences you. Not that she is to blame for anything! But if you read books, take class and prepare for your birth experience, you have an open mind and are prepared.
tm0sweet's Avatar tm0sweet 10:56 AM 06-18-2014
Interesting topic! I think my moms birth experiences influenced me, but in a totally different way. I have a weird relationship with my mom. We're very close, but she is very opinionated and often negative. My entire life she has told me "you won't be able to do this" or "you're doing it wrong" and my response "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED"

My mom was induced for both of her births so as soon as I got pregnant she told me I might as well schedule an induction because I won't go into labor on my own, well CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Unfortunately with my first baby I let my moms negativity and unnecessary pressure from my MEDwife get to me and I had an induction shortly after my due date after they both told me I would kill the baby if I let him stay in any longer. Grr, still makes me mad. My second baby, was completely natural and I was able to shrug off the pressure from my mom to induce again even though I went to 41+6.
DtsWife 08:18 AM 07-09-2014
My mom absolutely influenced my view of birth, and my birth experience. She had 7 natural births, 4 at home. She was very frank about everything, the pain, "laborland," tearing, how not to tear, all of it. It really helped me prepare and not be afraid before I had Zoe.
BlessedOne's Avatar BlessedOne 01:53 PM 07-10-2014
My mother had 3 hospital births....the last one being me via emergency c- sect. I had issues when I was born, including not breathing on my own for 20 minutes as well as relatively low birth weight (5.9) for a full term baby. My mom didn't take care of herself while pregnant and unfortunately it became apparent when she was pregnant with me. Thankfully everything was eventually was fine. I firmly believe all of the issues could have been avoided had she not smoked and taken better care of herself while she was pregnant with me.

So with all of that being said, she is for hospital she wasn't supportive of my idea to hb. But that didn't stop me from doing it. I will say I don't prefer her being here for the actual birth, because she is a worrier and I don't like that kind of atmosphere in such a time. With my first hb, she was there and insisted that I have 02 and a baby mask ready for when baby was born. Towards the end of my labor, she started to set up the noisy annoying sure did irritate me and break my serene setting. But I knew that was her security blanket. The next hb, I didn't tell her until after baby was born...she was upset. The next one I did tell her and she came. It was better, but I still felt like I was restricted and waited until she went to the store before I birthed the baby. But once she arrived right after birth, and the baby was not perky...she freaked and called my dad all hysterical. I seriously just wanted to tell her to shut up or leave. The baby was fine, but just wasn't what she expected to see. She is a great help cleaning up though. =) With this birth, I hope to tell her shortly afterwards and hopefully not cause an issue again....but we shall see =S

So yes my mom did influence the atmosphere of my birth, but she did not influence the location or most of the decisions made by me during pregnancy and delivery.
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 02:11 PM 07-10-2014
Sorry about your birth, OP.

To answer your question, yes, I think my mother's stories about birth had an influence for me. She had 5 vaginal births 4 unmedicated, & pain meds (demoral?) for her 3rd birth. So, I grew up feeling like unmedicated birth is possible and reasonable and that some births may be more painful than others, creating the need or want for pain meds. I also grew up being told that birth is hard and painful. It was that way for me.

My mom considered HB and read Ina May before my birth (I was the first child). Her birth story from my birth is full of Ina May type language. She decided on hospital births for all of her children - all with a male OB.

When I decided on HB for my first, I had the support of my family. My mom attended the birth of my second child and, although she supported birth at home (in theory) I do think she was sort of worried. I'm sure I would have had her support in a hospital setting given that she had largely positive stories about all her births.

So, yes, I do think that the story of birth passed on has a way of getting into our psyche and can have an influence during birth.
BlessedOne's Avatar BlessedOne 11:54 PM 07-11-2014
I guess I sort of misunderstood the question. My mother didn't really talk to me or others of her other two births much. I Only know of mine because 1. She was talking to me..about me 2. Mine was different than the other two. I could not even say whether she had epidurals ôr other drugs or even how long or hard the others were.
I will say that I know she used to (I would like to think my homebirths have changed that) always feel birth was a stressful/traumatic event. I remember her saying to her sister (after her sisters sons girlfriend who was known to have panic attacks (actually wrecked while having one) had just miscarried)..... "she would have never made it through childbirth!" I thought that was very offensive... but I don't think her views of birth affected mine. Had I heard her say that prior to me giving birth, maybe it would have.... but as it was I only found it offensive. I have never really been the type to let other peoples ideas affect my ideas. If anything I try to prove them wrong.
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 05:49 AM 07-12-2014
Originally Posted by BlessedOne View Post
I have never really been the type to let other peoples ideas affect my ideas. If anything I try to prove them wrong.
I'm not sure about others but I was answering the question from the perspective about how birth stories and experiences seep into our unconscious from childhood through life.

I think the way our culture at large (and starting with our own mothers, aunts, grandmothers, friends, and etc.) talk about birth has an influence on all of us.

My 10 year old (now 12) was at her sister's birth. I have a feeling that no matter what she hears or what I say, that that experience will influence her in the most significant way.

I think she will view birth as scary and hard. And beautiful. The birth was at home so she will probably see birth as a non-emergency event.

I do think I had a generally positive view of birth and I think that was helpful BUT I also heard some of the messy, painful stuff too and I think I needed to hear that as well.
cyclamen's Avatar cyclamen 07:57 PM 07-14-2014
My mother had two c-sections (first one because I was breech and an attempted ECV broke her water and my brother was a RCS) and she was very happy with them and proud of herself for having given birth. She was very pleased to be a mother and I remember looking at the "smile" on her belly and her telling me that was where I had been born through. She always told the story like it was a fond memory for her. I know she had a difficult pregnancy with me and thought many times that I would be born very prematurely and not live. After she went home from the hospital she had little support and got an infection and had to go back to the hospital. She talks about being cooled in a large tub of ice because her fever was so high. It sounded scary to me. But she cheerfully recounts that as well. She grew up in a resource poor environment which I think played a big role in her outlook.

When I was younger, I wondered if my mom had had two unnecessary c-sections. Now that I'm older and have had certain experiences, I think I share her perspective. As for my childrens' births, I've had three children, all unmedicated vaginal deliveries. My middle child could have survived her birth had I been able to receive a timely c-section and so, I really understand my mom's cheerfulness about her section in a way I wish I didn't.
BlessedOne's Avatar BlessedOne 12:44 AM 07-15-2014
Prior to giving birth, I hadn't really been apart of any major childbirth discussions or had taken part in any person's birth. Sure there might have been the random comment from a family member of "I spent _______hours in labor." But honestly I couldn't even get into specifics about anyone...not even my mom outside of her birth with me...and that isn't even more than a handful of facts.
Perhaps the lack of communication, is why I don't feel that anyone's stories affected my labor. I knew birth would be hard work....but that is just a given.
I will say that had I not ever given birth prior to delivering my friends baby at home, I probably would have been affected. She is typically a strong lady but just looked crippled and I cant get that doe eyed look out of my head that she would look at me with. She just kept saying "I cant do it." It was very stressful for me to watch (I know that is selfish...but true). I was so glad when the baby was born and I could get rid of that stress. But on the other hand, had I not had 3 UCs of my own she wouldn't have asked me to attend. I don't know everyone assumes that just because I UC that I want to be a midwife or have any interest in anyone else's birth. Even today a lady posted a pic of a live birth on fb because she figured I would want to watch it *rolls eyes*.
crazyms's Avatar crazyms 03:12 AM 07-15-2014
I think that it can certainly have an affect on you just like your area, options and support system can have an affect on you. My mother had three children all in hospitals with epidurals. Everyone I know has done the same thing. I don't know a single person IRL that has ever had a home birth. There are also very few options for midwives or birth centers in my state. Breastfeeding is also something that very few people do in my area. My mother had only ever breastfed my brother (the youngest of 3) and talked about how it was the worst experience of her life and she didn't see why anyone would do it. With dd I went for the hospital birth and the immediate epidural from fear. I also didn't breastfeed partly from lack of support and information but also from stress and too many people around at the birth. I found this forum after having her and learned a lot here. I read and researched a ton and went into DS's pregnancy wanting a natural, homebirth and to breastfeed. I started with a midwife but pregnancy complications led us back to the ob and hospital birth. I made it through most of the birth without pain meds but they gave them when complications arose so that failed. I did manage to breastfeed from the start and continue so that was great. With my third I hoped to get that natural birth but home birth wasn't an option since we were traveling with dh's job I would just try for the natural birth in the hospital. When pregnancy ended in a pre-eclampsia induction that just didn't happen although I did get to breastfeed again. I never did get the birth I wanted but I'm okay with that now. I wish I had had more support to get the birth I wanted but my children are here and healthy so I can't complain.
TeeThatsMe's Avatar TeeThatsMe 11:10 AM 07-24-2014
What a wonderful, thought-provoking question, OP--thank you! And I wish you lots of peace and understanding surrounding your own birth experience.

My mother's descriptions of birth definitely had a big hand in my attitude toward it when I became a mother. She had three hospital births, and frequently described them in terms of unnecessary medical intervention, which I always found interesting because she's the daughter of a nurse. When I got pregnant and began to plan for a home birth, her outright joy and support were a bit surprising to me! She told me once, "I am so happy that you get to have what I didn't. I wish I had known the option was open to me and I'm so proud that you have chosen that path." Those words just meant the world to me.

Funnily enough, though, when she actually attended the birth of that first child, it became clear that a lot of unproductive ideas had remained with her throughout her medicalized upbringing. When she arrived, I was starting to move into transition and had retreated very far inside myself with some almost trancelike relaxation, and she looked at me, shrugged, and said, "Well, you don't seem like it's hurting you very much. I guess it's going to get a WHOLE lot worse!" Oh, I was so mad at her!

Ultimately, though, having her blessing for my choices has been absolutely key for me--and, you know, I don't think I fully realized how grateful I feel for this until you asked the question. I just wrote her a thank-you letter. Thank you, OP, for asking the question, and thank you all for discussing it and helping me understand this about me and my mama.
sillysapling's Avatar sillysapling 07:48 PM 07-24-2014
My mother didn't even realize she was in labor until her water broke and I was crowning an hour later. The paramedics made it just in time for me to slip out. One guy, it was his first experience with birth.

I think it left me a little cocky, actually, even though I knew that I couldn't count on it being like that, I expected it a little too much and I didn't prepare as much as I should have.

I purposefully sought out accounts of pain in child birth. I found one that was actually very similar to what I had experienced (she was a 2nd time home birther and mentioned that the pain was so intense she thought she'd have to transfer to the hospital)- that was far more valuable to me than my mom's account.
applejuice's Avatar applejuice 05:08 PM 07-25-2014
Thank you for this thread. It is a good question.

My maternal grandmother was an RN, PhT who was a twin born at home in 1905; her daughter, my mom, was delivered by forceps in a hospital in 1933. My mom had nine children, 1950s-1971. I am the first a preemie born at home and weighed 4#, 12 oz. All but one were born at home UC; the one born at the hospital was the 5th and was a breech born vaginally; that was 1961 - my mom came home four hours after the delivery on Mother's Day, this in an era when women were given the amnesiac drug scopolamine and stayed in the hospital for a week after the birth. My mom breastfed all of us.

People asked me if we were too poor to afford the hospital in those days. Health insurance did not cover too many births in those days; insurance covered complications as eclapsia and c/sec's from what I recall. Nowadays, even with health insurance, it is often the wealthier persons who can afford the home births. How strange how things change.

My Father was born at home, the youngest of five children in 1914. I do remember helping my Father weigh my new siblings, then dress and diaper them, and observe them; no heel pricks, eye drops, Hep B vaccine, or vitamin K shot. My brothers were not circ'ed. My mom breastfed. It is an honor to handle a new life. I continued this practice in my own life. Just b/c I delivered at home, does not mean I had easy labors; my first was a long labor and was posterior - 2nd was posterior with a deflexed head with asynclitism and was extremely difficult and painful - if I had been in the hospital with the first two, I would have had a surgical delivery - 3rd and 4th were easy.

I have three sisters who had children, but they went on to the hospital and had surgical deliveries, so it is not hereditary. One sister had a primary c/sec for a breech - her 2nd was a transverse lie with placenta previa, so she had a second c/sec. Another sister had a c/sec for fetal distress, and anther sister had a primary c/sec for FTP.

I have shared pertinent information with my sons since they carry genetic information that may be important for their own children. There are family attitudes passed on about labor and delivery, but there are genetics too that affect how efficiently babies arrive in this world. Men usually do not talk to their moms about labor and delivery, but they should.
FN2BAMOM 04:06 PM 08-08-2014
My mother told me that she gave birth to me without pain. I was very excited to think I might get to be one of those women. Then, 2 months out from my first natural childbirth, I mentioned what my mom said about it to my dad, and he told me "Of course she didn't feel any pain. She had an epidural." Me - "What???!!!" And then of course I laughed hysterically. I totally believe him. It would be just like my mother to forget about something like that. She apparently had three epidurals in a hospital with us three kids, and her labors lasted a while (day or so?).

So with my first NC, that's what I was expecting, minus the epidural. What I was not expecting was a 5 hr labor, start to finish, no Braxton Hicks contractions at all, and if anyone touched my body I felt like I was being stabbed by knives, on top of the pain of the contractions. If only my mother had been brave enough to try and give birth naturally, she might have experienced some of these things and warned me about them. (Not making assumptions about anyone else here - I know my mother and I'm pretty certain why she gave birth medically in a hospital and ignorance (a lot of which she may not have been able to help) and fear played a part in that.) I knew from the start that my mom was probably not a reliable source of information (although that she could forget her epidurals did surprise me), so I tried to educate myself on pregnancy and childbirth.
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 05:43 PM 08-08-2014
My Mom's 3 hour start to finish labor for a first baby gave me hope that it was hereditary, , but no such luck. She did give me the overall impression that birth in general is no big deal, so I'm sure that helped. Of course, my Mom has a positive attitude about almost everything!

My first was about 16 hours, but not too bad, overall. I'm sure it would have been faster if I'd stayed home-that birth taught me that I HATE other people during labor! The next time I stayed home with DH and the Doc under strict orders to leave me alone until I called them to catch her. She came in 4 or 5 hours....I didn't really look at the clock.
emthom's Avatar emthom 05:18 PM 09-11-2014
My mother's experience definitely shaped mine! I was a brow presentation baby so my mom had a c/s for me and then had considered a vbac for my brother but ended up being (easily) persuaded into RCS for his birth. So I grew up thinking c/s were ok. I read Pushed before we even started ttc and became this huge natural birth advocate. I was planning on a hb for ds1. I almost felt bad discussing birth with my mom after that, like she thought I was judging the choices she made by making different choices than she did. Some last minute drama with the hb mw had us transfer to an ob with a MEDwife on staff who pressured me into an unnecessarean and the last thought I remember having before finally agreeing was, "well my mom had 2 c/s and we turned out just fine..." and now I continue to pay for that logic.

Ds2 I tried for a birth center vbac. I was in non-stop (ctx 5 mins apart without any breaks) prodromal labor for 5 days before I started making any cervical progress. I was exhausted so transferred to try an epi for sleep, but I couldn't sleep and ultimately agreed to another c/s for FTP. Turns out he was literally lodged in my pelvis and actually went into shock when doc pulled him out.

Now I'm 38wks pg with dd1 and planning for a hospital vba2c. Just found out the mws are dropping me/transferring me to the high risk docs simply because my last op report says I had a thin lower uterine segment. Why they waited til now to drop this on me, I have no idea. But I'm trying to be positive since the docs are supposedly vbac friendly. I think people think I'm nuts for trying to go natural again after such long unrelenting labors. My best friend even said, "well this time there will be no drama and you'll know when her bday will be in advance" when I 1st got pg. But we want more kids so I have to try for it. To me there is just no other option now. But looking back I wish I would have fought harder for what I wanted the 1st time instead of folding after thinking about my mom's experiences and rationalizing that all would be ok.
emthom's Avatar emthom 04:55 AM 09-12-2014
I should add that reading other women talk about how they feel like a failure because all the previous generations of women in their family had natural births but they didn't (when they've been the 1st to have a c/s) is sort of the opposite of how I feel. To me its more "well my mom never had a natural birth, so will I be able to?" I'd like to think so but what if genetically we are not built correctly or something? My grandmother had natural births and 2 of my mom's sisters did too, but one of her sisters also had all c/s. I don't know if that is due more to the political climate of birthing during that time (mid 80s) or something genetically going on in my family, ykwim?
msspriss 09:15 AM 10-21-2014
Yes, what my mother said about birth shaped how I viewed and experienced birth.

My older sister was born in the hospital, natural. She didn't know she was in labor because the contractions didn't feel as bad as period cramps to her. She went to the hospital for bradley classes, and they told her they needed to admit her. Older sister was born early the next morning. She said it was painful, but not worse than cramps. She always had bad periods.

I was a homebirth, decision at the last minute (okay, around 38 weeks), she had been planning a hospital birth again and changed her mind. Of course no pain meds.

With my little sister, she developed pre-eclampsia and delivered her at 34 weeks, induced and she never said if medicated, just that "she just slipped right out"...

I planned a homebirth (with the same midwife who delivered me), but I also developed pre-eclampsia at 32.5 weeks. I went to the hospital, was induced, labored for 36 hours without pain medication, and then ended up having an EMCS. And you know what, even induced, pitocin contractions were not that bad. They weren't any worse than a bad period.

She passed away a few years ago, I would have loved to talk about it more with her.
PitBullMom 01:04 PM 10-22-2014
I've only talked about birth with my mom a few times, but my sisters have had six children between them; I have gotten a lot more information from them than from my mom. My older sister and I were both hospital births with demerol. My younger sister was the last, so my mom decided to go medication free. This was the late 70's so not at all a "typical" decision at a hospital. My mom and I were talking about birth a couple of months ago and she told me that when it got bad my dad kept saying "one more contraction and then we'll get pain meds" and eventually my sister arrived. She did tell me something very important that makes a lot of sense - contractions don't get more painful. They get longer, they get closer together and you get more tired - those three things together wear you out, so the perception is that they are getting worse, but it's because you don't get a break.

My sisters had very different birth experiences - baby 1 was an emergency c-section because my sister was pretty much unprepared for labor, didn't move around, didn't do much of anything and eventually the baby was just stuck in there for too long and was in distress. She came out looking like one of the SNL coneheads. baby 2 was VBAC, my sister's provider had told her that natural wasn't possible, so was forcing a c-section. So, when she went into labor, she stayed home for as long as possible. When she finally couldn't stand it anymore, she called an ambulance and gave birth on the way to the hospital. baby 3 - natural again. baby 4 - natural again. baby 5 (other sister) - she was brow beaten into pitocin by her provider and husband. It was an ugly situation. She didn't want it, and my mom was there for support and to back her up. Then my mom had to leave and they just ripped into her about how she was killing her baby, etc etc etc. So she gave in. Then when she didn't want to continue, they fought her some more, but my mom was back and ended that crap real quick. She had the typical hospital birth - on her back, legs held by nurses, etc. baby 6 - no drugs, but an OB screaming, purple pushing and being held down by nurses to keep her on her back.

Most of my friends have also given birth multiple times as well. The vast majority of their birth stories are horrifying to me... "required" cervical checks, stripping of membranes without permission, batteries of tests done because they don't know what's wrong so they're just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks... No. Freekin. Way.

And then, of course, there is my volunteer work with NILMDTS. More than three dozen photo sessions with only three babies that ended up leaving the hospital with their parents. I'm painfully aware of all that can and does go wrong. Sometimes with no warning despite the very best prenatal and medical care available... and sometimes because care has been less than adequate. Because of this, I fully believe in having all medical interventions available so that they are there if necessary. But only when clearly necessary and not for some BS reason like "you haven't progressed 1 cm per hour so we must augment labor" I think failure to progress is possibly the most over-diagnosed "problem" in labor. YES, it certainly happens, but it's not nearly as common as you hear about.

So all of the above, mixed with my extreme dislike of defensive medical care and being told what I will and will not do, has led us to a midwife practice and a hospital birthing center. If we didn't live so far from a hospital, we'd do a home birth but I'm not comfortable with that option. We've declined tests, have a doula, and are finishing up our birth plan. Basically, we want a home birth experience that just happens to be located in a hospital. No checks, no wires, no hookups, no nothing.... and I have a wonderfully over-protective husband and a doula who thinks this is going to be fun to back me up.
philomom's Avatar philomom 04:48 PM 10-22-2014
My mom was a nurse in the late 60's when we three were born. I'm '66, my sister '67 and my brother '70.

With me, she stayed home as late as possible. This was in an era where women labored all day mostly alone in a room and then were twilight sleeped for the actual delivery. She had heard tales of floppy babies that didn't cry well. So, she arrived at nine centimeters dilated and asked for the bare minimum of drugs, the doc and the other nurses listened to her and she has some groggy memories of my arrival.This was a coup in a generation that has no memories of active birthing. She went home in two days and everything was well.

With my sister, she once again stayed home until the last possible moment. However, she was given a new drug.. name now forgotten that she had a terrible reaction to. My christian, teetotaler mom was screaming, cursing a blue streak and trying to hit her caregivers. They say my father nearly knocked the doors down because he knew she was in big trouble to behave that way. They knocked her out with something and sister was born a bit sluggish and bruised. My mom had some post partum depression with this baby.

With my brother, back to the first type of story. She waited until the last possible moment before she went in. She was lightly medicated and has some memories of helping push out my brother.

So, I knew I could birth well and I did. I didn't do any drugs at all. And I also stayed home until I was well along, arriving at the hospital each time already 9 centimeters dilated.But my mom had no breastfeeding support and soon gave up each time whereas I nursed my kids till they could talk well. I have never suffered PPD and for that I'm truly grateful.

I love to share, with much enthusiasm, my natural birth stories.
chuord's Avatar chuord 04:04 PM 10-27-2014
I haven't given birth yet, I'm 40 and pg with twins... The delay in starting a family was partly medical partly fear...
I have a low pain tolerance, as a kid mum always joked she'd need to be out of the country when I delivered otherwise she'd hear me screaming... It's silly but I absorbed that and always assumed death would be less painful... Add to that that she was in labour with me for 36 hours (8lb baby) I'm still scared, but hoping I've chosen my provider well (she will do vaginal twins if everything is safe) and trusting in my dh (doctor) to run interference and keep me safe.
I have a feeling it will be ok and I'll regret not getting there sooner
Sharlla's Avatar Sharlla 04:58 PM 10-27-2014
My mom didn't really talk about her birth experiences.
blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 07:03 PM 10-27-2014
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
My 10 year old (now 12) was at her sister's birth. I have a feeling that no matter what she hears or what I say, that that experience will influence her in the most significant way.
Yes to the above!

My mom had three successful pregnancies and spoke very freely to her daughters about all three experiences. She had twilight sleep for #1 , local injections for #2 , and #3 was a completely unplanned precipitous hb after a 10 month long pregnancy marked by almost zero prenatal care (save a few visits in the last trimester and an amnio...I recall being in the room for that. I was 9yo and the needle scared the crap out of me!). My mother was an elderly multip and smoked tobacco and mj through the whole pg. Probably drank more than a few beers, too. Of course, none of that meant anything to me as a child. But as a pg adult, I couldn't help but feel that surely birth must else could someone put so little effort into it and still have such a great result (20 mins from 1st cx to placenta. Yes. Twenty mins. Trust me, I was there! )?

Seeing my mom give birth so easily inspired me to plan a med-free delivery for ds1. Too bad no one warned me about the cascade of interventions, but that's a whine for another thread.

Regarding this:

Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
Men usually do not talk to their moms about labor and delivery, but they should.
I could not agree more! I speak to my two sons ALL THE TIME about birth. They've watched parts of BoBB with me. Ds1 has attended three vaginal births, most of an all-natural labor, and two other labors which ended in surgery. Ds2 was present at a vaginal birth but was too little to have memories of it. Ds2's step mom is a huge supporter of natural birth. I have explained to my kids all the reasons why natural birth is important and made it clear it is vital to support their future wives in making well-informed birth choices. Ds2 is still too young to care, but ds1 is a young adult interested in marriage and I can totally see him asking a prospective wife how she feels about birth choices. Natural birth and bfing are very important to him. So are football and video games. I have lots of hope for him! LOL
applejuice's Avatar applejuice 07:20 PM 10-27-2014
My DD was influenced more by her friends revelations about birth than being present at her own brothers' births at home; her friends all went to the hospital and complained of being mistreated. I always was very open with her about everything, but she listens to others. My sons listened though. My son called me all through the delivery of his own son. Odd how that happens.
wanderinblues's Avatar wanderinblues 10:25 AM 11-25-2014
My mom's words about birth definitely affected me positively. She only spoke of it in positive terms: how happy she was to meet me, and how it made her feel powerful. She had med free hospital births with myself and my brother. I'm sure she would have had homebirths if it were covered by medical at that time. My mom was a bit of a hippie and has a mistrust of the medical establishement. She didn't have ultrasounds and had minimal prenatal care. She is enthusiastic about my choices to avoid ultrasound and interventions, birth at home, etc.

I always believed I would have a relatively easy, complication free birth (though I did read less positive birth stories and tried to prepare for a difficult birth as well) in part because my mom had uncomplicated births. More importantly, I wasn't afraid. My mom let me know, in a gentle way and from an early age, that birth was not something to be afraid of, so I looked forward to it. And my natural hospital birth was fantastic and I can't wait to do it again at home
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