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Dodo 09-10-2002 10:29 PM

I had never even heard of planned unassisted births until I become a lurker here at MDC when dd was three or four months old.

My initial reaction (please don't flame me!) was disgust -- not, I should say, with the women who choose UC, but with the possibility of *my* giving birth unassisted.

When I gave birth to dd at a free-standing birthing centre, I really appreciated the support and energy provided by the midwives and their students. They were my silent cheerleaders. I wanted to share the birth with them. At the time, I was a little surprised, because I had been planning on insisting on privacy during the delivery.

The thought of giving birth without the company of women intimidates me.

With the exception of heights and spiders, I like to try things that make me uncomfortable (e.g., I'm terribly uncoordinated but love taking dance classes, I find languages difficult but I got my MA in my second language).

Add to this the fact that over the past year a lot of my pre-conceived parenting notions have been blown to pieces (e.g., I'm one of those moms who swore that she'd never co-sleep, but now I wouldn't have it any other way).

So, now I find myself thinking about UC. How do I feel about it? Do I think it's empowering or a practice without historical precedent? I really don't know!

I'd love to hear what you all think about this topic. Have you done it? Would you like to? Why or why not?

XmasEve 09-10-2002 11:59 PM

This sounds like a really cool and honest thread (well, they all do!) so I'll jump in.

I'm expecting my first in a few months. I'm only just drinking age now, so I can't say I've spent a lot of time thinking about parenting. (But this little one was very, very much wanted!) But I'm a quick study and make stubborn (some would say "snap") decisions. I have had "white coat phobia" since I was an infant. So I had always thought I would definitely have a midwife and homebirth-no other way for me. Well, turns out there's no midwife in my current location. Very hard for me to accept. Now I'm facing a hospital birth, even though every prenatal visit at the doctor's office leaves my shaky for days afterward.

I would love to do an unassisted birth. But DH refuses (he's trained as an EMT and lesson one for them is that dr.'s word is law). He would do a midwife-attended homebirth, but UC is too far out there for him. So no more babies for us until we live somewhere with a midwife, because we'd both feel better about that. And while UC is my alternative to not having a midwife, his is hospital. Oh well, a few more months to steer him my way...

Arduinna 09-11-2002 12:12 AM

I'm all for it and plan to do it with my next pregnancy.

My dh wasn't so sure about it when I first told him what I wanted. But he trusts me to know what's right for me and would never think of telling me what I can and can't do. Now that he has learned more he thinks it's the only way to go. He says his original doubts came from societal attitudes and not his own personal beliefs.

laurashanley 09-11-2002 01:43 AM

Hi Dodo,
Here's a page you might find interesting - "Historical Presedence for Women Giving Birth Alone" -

As you'll see, there are many cultures where women gave birth without any help at all. But actually, even if there weren't, I still would have done it this way. Catching my own babies felt very natural to me. So even if this wasn't the way of the past, I believe it's the way of the future.

Dodo 09-11-2002 11:35 AM

Thanks for the link, Laura. I did read that New York Times article. Dr. Borst's quote evidently had a lasting effect on me!

Greenfaeriedog, I sympathize with your dilemma. My dh, very much to my surprise, turned green when he learned that I'm hoping for a homebirth for our second (who we haven't even begun to think of conceiving), so I can only imagine how he'd react if I wanted a UC. In fact, when I told him that I wanted a homebirth, his first question was, "Not unassisted, I hope?"

Arduinna, how did you convince your dh? Also, will you have a prenatal care provider, and, if so, would you make her privy to your plans? The only UCer I've met IRL didn't have any prenatal care. Again, I don't know how I feel about that... On one hand, she armed herself with information, and I think that's so important, on the other hand, I hear stats about prenatal care lowering infant mortality, etc.

Arduinna 09-11-2002 12:41 PM

Dodo, honestly I didn't convince my husband. But I do think their were some factors that influenced him. He already supported home birth, so it wasn't that far of a jump to UC. Second, he has alot of trust in our bodies ability to do what what it needs. I do that is really important. He strongly believes in the mind body connection. I had a natural pregnancy loss at home, and while the labor like pain was quite similar to my dd birth it was much easier to handle at home, alone and in the dark. We had planned a home birth for that pregnancy.

As for prenatal care, I strongly suggest "Expecting Trouble, the myth of prenatal care in America". Author Thomas A Strong, JR MD I got mine from Amazon. It will open anyones eyes to prenatal care, and is written by a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist.

I haven't made a final decision about prenatal care. The funny thing is that I grew dd for 20 weeks without prenatal care because 6 -- pg tests and a past history of very irregular periods had me convinced I wasn't pg. And my lay midwife I used the last time doesn't usually start seeing clients until the 6th month and only does iron, protein and sugar tests. So while my dream is to not even have a due date or an official prenatal care provider I am still working out some issues with myself. Our society doesn't trust ourselves much and it often takes alot of work to figure out what you (in the plural sense) actually believe verses what someone else has told you they believe.

Hope that made sense.

lovinmama 09-11-2002 03:04 PM

Hi all!
I had a hospital birth first, unassisted second, and with my third who is 7 months old I hired a midwife. The reason I decided to have a midwife with my 3rd was because at the time I was living in a new area with no close friends, no friends at all really, and I thought it would be nice to have another lady with me since my husband is not really the type that likes to be really involved (he justs stands back and tries not to pass out :-) I still was very reluctant to get a midwife and only met her a couple weeks before my babe was born. Anyway if I ever do have another child, I will definately go unassisted (mabey a friend for support, but not hire a midwife). For me it was this weird loss of power thing. I dont feel like with a midwife there I listened the way I should to my own body...for instance....after I birthed my sons head, I was on hands and knees and I had this natural urge to go back onto my bottom, but because the midwife was there, I asked her if I should, instead of doing what I felt I should. I have the birth on videotape, so I can hear myself asking her if I should roll over and her saying no and then she started tugging on my sons head. I mean really tugging. I just stayed in that position even though I really wanted to roll over, then she told me to roll and as soon as I did his shoulders were born. It was obvious that I instinctively knew what postion I needed to be in but because I hired this midwife I felt that she was in control and did not listen to myself the way I would have had she not have been there. I was almost complete when she arrived but the whole energy changed when she got there. This may have been because I did not really know her and did not really want her there for me I am all about unassisted!!!!

laurashanley 09-11-2002 03:51 PM

Regarding prenatal care (or prenatal scare, as some people call it), I never had any. I honestly believe it can make things worse. When you go looking for a problem, sometimes you find one and sometimes you create one. Even those you supposedly find can often be resolved without interventions. I'm sure a doctor or midwife would have tried to turn my footling breech baby into the "correct" position. Yet he was born easily because I wasn't afraid and listened to my intuition. I know three other women who also caught their own footling breech babies without assistance. I also know a man who has been in a wheelchair his whole life because as he was being born (feet first), the doctor tried to push him back in and turn him around. Granted this is an extreme case, but I know of many cases where doctors or midwives have made things worse rather than better.

Here is something Jody McLaughlin (editor of Compleat Mother magazine) sent me recently. She mentions Tom Strong's book which I still need to read.

"Prenatal care in the past was mostly benign; blood pressure, fundal height measurements, urine checks and unfortunately, blind weight gain restrictions. Today it is aggressive and frightening, something many pregnant woman can do without.
In the middle 1980's the calculation was used that every dollar spent on prenatal care saves $3 caring for sick babies. I don't know where those numbers came from but I believed them.
However, anyone who still holds the belief that prenatal care improves outcomes must read "Expecting Trouble: What Expectant Parents Should Know about Prenatal Care in America"
by Thomas H. Strong, Jr. MD New York University Press 2000
ISBN 0-8147-9779-2. Dr. Strong, a practicing Ob/Gyn in Arizona roundly criticizes prenatal care. With all its bells and whistles and good intentions, prenatal care does NOT prevent prematurity, low birth weight or reduce the infant mortality rate. 'The conventional wisdom that prenatal care is crucial to the well-being of mothers and their babies is incongruent with the findings of published medical research and our nation's experience over the last
half-century.' pg 29."

indigolilybear 09-11-2002 07:38 PM

freebirthers here!

we had a very "assisted" homebirht w/dd who is now almost 4. took me a while before i realized that i had many issues w/what happened there since i did have a "nice HB"

next child, ds, we birthed at home by ourselves. it was wonderful and totally "uneventful", just a logical progression. i cannot see myself doing it any other way.

and for the record, i was scared s**tless every step of teh way, but kept acting on the side of faith, in myself, my body, my baby and my family. and it was teh most empowering experience of my life. i highly recommend it to those who "feel the call" LOL.

XmasEve 09-12-2002 02:10 AM

Originally posted by indigolilybear
and for the record, i was scared s**tless every step of teh way
Wow, thanks for that. It makes me feel so much better. I'm exploring all these resources for UC, but this is not addressed so I start to wonder "Am I the only one? What's wrong with me?" It's a huge relief to know that someone else was scared. Now I know my faith is strong enough!

As far as prenatal care, I get it, of course, since we're "planning" a hospital birth (feels more like just climbing on the conveyor belt). But I think I would get it even if it was apparent that we were definitely going the UC route. As it is, I decline just about everything but a quick FHT check, weight check, fundal height, etc. But it's nice to know that I have the resources to ask for more. (For instance, I was very concerned about my Rh factor because of my medical history, so I was glad to have that test.) I think the important thing for me is to realize that *I'm* in charge at the prenatal check-ups, NOT the Dr.

Dodo 09-12-2002 12:05 PM

Yes, thanks Indigolilybear. Part of my recent interest in UC centres on accounts of painfree, ecstatic births. On one hand, I find it heartening to hear stories of birthing pleasure. On the other hand, I know that the labour pains I felt were real.

Laura, I have been thinking about that article you suggested. I have two concerns with it.

First, I think it dredges up the stereotype of so-called 'primitive people', especially women, being impervious to pain. In Stephen Jay Gould's book The Mismeasure of Man he quotes Cesare Lombroso, the father of criminal anthropology as writing "All travellers know the indifference of Negroes and American savages to pain: the former cut their hands and laugh in order to avoid work; the latter, tied to the torture post, gaily sing the praises of their tribe while they are slowly burnt." Goldsmith's reports of unassisted births amongst 'tribal' women are second-hand. Are 19th century Western travellers a reliable source of information on 'tribal' culture? These observers may have seen what they wanted to see, you know what I mean?

Second, I'm uncomfortable with stories of women birthing one hour and returning to work the next. When I was pregnant, my mother, who apparently thought I was feeling too sorry for myself, sent me the obituary of a Ukrainian-Canadian woman who had homesteaded on the Prairies in the twenties and thirties. This women had fifteen children with very little support and no money so she had no choice but to do heavy housework and tend to the garden immediately before and after giving birth. Well, guess what? She lost four of those fifteen children! Birthing and working do not an ideal combination make.

That said, I understand that you are not swayed by the past. I'm just sharing my concerns with you because I think that this article does not make a compelling case for UC and I know that as an advocate you are in a position to pass on references to interested women.

I am going to try to get my hands on that book about the myth of prenatal care, though.

laurashanley 09-12-2002 03:22 PM

Dodo wrote:
>On one hand, I find it heartening to hear stories of birthing pleasure. On the other hand, I know that the labour pains I felt were real.

I don't doubt they were real. I had some pain in all of my births, although it was minimal. But the fact is, labor pains are not a given and there truly are women who experience pleasure. Many women experience pain AND pleasure. I posted those quotes and stories because I wanted to help dispell the myth that every woman experiences pain in every birth. I also believe that much of the pain is caused by fear. I have several articles on my site that deal with the fear/tension/pain syndrome.

>First, I think it dredges up the stereotype of so-called 'primitive people', especially women, being impervious to pain.

I don't think they're impervious to pain, but overall I believe tribal women had less painful births than most women do today. I'm not putting tribal cultures down when I say this, but psychologically they are/were in a less self-conscious state than we are. Consciousness evolves, and as it does, people become more aware of themselves as individuals. Their intellects also develop which is why we have computers and tribal people don't. But with self-consciousness comes fear, shame, and guilt. A woman in a tribal culture is not ashamed to walk around naked. She feels comfortable in her body in a way that most women in our culture don't. I believe this has a positive impact on her births.

>Goldsmith's reports of unassisted births amongst 'tribal' women are second-hand. Are 19th century Western travellers a reliable source of information on 'tribal' culture? These observers may have seen what they wanted to see, you know what I mean?

Personally they ring true to me. I have more sources I could have added to that page (Sheila Kitzinger, Michel Odent). Many anthropologists have written about the ease with which most tribal women gave birth. I've also spoken with a man who observed women giving birth in Korea 30 years ago. He said he saw several women give birth easily in the fields. Did some women in tribal cultures have problems? Yes, especially those who had more contact with Western cultures.

>Second, I'm uncomfortable with stories of women birthing one hour and returning to work the next....This women had fifteen children with very little support and no money so she had no choice but to do heavy housework and tend to the garden immediately before and after giving birth. Well, guess what? She lost four of those fifteen children! Birthing and working do not an ideal combination make.

Maybe birthing and being poor and overworked and having 15 children isn't an ideal combination. But this is an extreme case. A healthy, well-fed woman today can go back to doing what she wants to do as quickly as she wants to do it, provided she hasn't had a traumatic birth. I bounced back very quickly. But resuming my normal activities was my choice and it may not be for everyone.

>I think that this article does not make a compelling case for UC and I know that as an advocate you are in a position to pass on references to interested women.

I'm not trying to make a compelling case for UC. It's not something I feel I need to talk any woman into. It was a choice that felt right to me, and it makes sense to many people. As far as that little article, I posted it because I wanted to respond to that woman's comment that there is no historical presedence for giving birth alone. But as I've said before, I'm not advocating a return to tribal consciousness or tribal ways. As Michel Odent (French author and OB) says, we're not talking about taking a step backward. We're talking about taking a leap forward. Women can have better births by overcoming their fears and understanding how the mind affects the body.

kama'aina mama 09-12-2002 05:44 PM

lovinmama, your description of the shift in your mentality when your midwife arrived is fascinating. It reminded me of the book "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer. He was on Mt Everest when all those people died a few years back. He talked about how some of those people may have lived if he and some other experienced climbers like him had been more active and attentive, but they were lulled into complacatience (sp) by the 'tour guide/ client' relationship. He saw things going wrong but said nothing... it wasn't 'his responsibility'. I think that is the big leap that women need to take, is we are responsible for our births!

indigolilybear 09-12-2002 07:39 PM

also, hygieia halfmoon's book "I can do this" (you have to call and order it from someplace specific) helped me a lot because in her other book, "Primal mothering in the modern world" she sounds so confident, etc. the other one, is her diary from her estatic birth and outlines the many many doubt and fears she had which was hugely comforting to me. check it out.

also i don't think anyone has mentioned mango mama's web site...that''s a great one too w/RH info.

re: prenatal scare.....we opted not to w/ds. w/dd it was such a nightmare that we felt okay w/it. i also personallly felt that if i was looking outside myself during preg. for that "you're okay" than i would need it in birthing. and also i really wanted to practice listening only to myself, my baby's tiny voice and my body. this was very very much a process to me and i feel that i worked much of the fear out....which made my labor very precipitous! i had maybe half an hour of active labor. he was born less than four hours after i woke up w/the first feelings of "maybe this is it". (in contrast dd's birth took place during around 24 hours)

it's usuallyl just a matter of deciding to do it, faking it til you make it so to speak, and then the universe will work with you! blessings everyone!

but yes, i am a not a super woman or just decide to do it and then work on "untraining" yourself and all those horrible and weird imposed ideas about what women, birth and sex is all about!!

cottonwood 09-12-2002 07:40 PM

My first two births were at home, attended by a midwife, and my third was a planned unassisted birth.

Though my body would have done just fine without a midwife those first two times, I wonder if my mind would have sabotaged my body with fear and doubt. I think sometimes it takes a long time to undo negative conditioning, and for most of us it hasn't happened before our first pregnancies!

Laura wrote: "Many women experience pain AND pleasure." Waving hand wildly in the air! That was me. My contractions felt like increasingly intense menstrual cramps, and the baby dropped before turning, so I had some fierce back labor (I was yodeling at the top of my lungs, making sounds that I couldn't make now to save my life.) However, as she emerged it was just the most gorgeous, rare, hugely sensual feeling. Intense sensation, yes. Ring-of-fire burning, yes. But still... it was so amazing that I often wish I could fully relive those last moments as she came down and through me. Part of the sadness for me of being done with childbearing is the remembrance of that feeling fading, and knowing that I will never feel it again.


SpiralWoman 09-12-2002 10:41 PM

Just wanted to chime in & thank you all for the discussion. I am newly PG, (14 days since my IUI) after a lengthy TTC (5 yrs off & on) that followed an unplanned (but rejoiced in) 1st pregnancy that lasted only 11 wks or so. I have a lot of knowlege about pregnancy & birth, modern obstetrics, etc, but no experience past those 11 wks. I do remember that my body did everything it did very well & without instructions from me (my thinking brain). At the time that was very assuring & I felt that the m/c prepped me for a full term PGnancy. Now 5yrs & several fertility specialists later, I have lost touch with some of that confidence! I am working hard now to regain a connection to my newly PG body that supports my confidence & quiets my doubt & fear filled mind. You can imagine the things floating thru my busybrain!
I have visited some of the UC sites & the stories really sustained me a few nites ago. I received a belief statement that goes: "I believe this baby will grow inside me until it is ready to be born, healthy, happy, & safe." Sometimes when I say it, it comes out "... healthy, happy, & free." I think the baby is already a UCer
I do not know yet if UC will be for me this time. I benifitted greatly from what Sweetwater just said. She thought having attendants @ her first 2 births helped her mind develop confidence (thru experience rather than faith) that her body could do it. That makes sense & follows the way I have learned many lessons in my life.
Having conceived this pgnancy in a mildy high tech manner (what a crazy phrase, sigh), I am @ a crossroads with how to proceed with my prenatal care. I definitely do not want to end up flaggd "hi risk" (I am 35), but I also want to use & get what I need/want from the medical system. It was so uplifted when I got a call back from my Nurse Practicioner today that my beta hCG & Progesterone were "absolutely wonderful" and they "couldn't want anything better." They also threw the word "great" in there a couple of times. You have no idea what a big smile that gave me! I think I really felt truly happy for the 1st time since the + HPTs. Is that terrible to be so externally referenced? I mean, I have my BBT, up every day, but I just needed that independent corroboration & an encouraging word, I guess.
Well, this has truly rambled on long enough, just wanted you all to know how truly good it feels to have all these options.
blessings, maria

cottonwood 09-13-2002 01:43 AM

Originally posted by SpiralWoman
She thought having attendants @ her first 2 births helped her mind develop confidence (thru experience rather than faith) that her body could do it.
Well... sort of. What I meant to say was that the benefit of having what I perceived to be a "safety net" might have, for those specific births, outweighed the negative aspects of the midwives' presence and actions. The attendants themselves did not do anything special to help me gain confidence for future births. Nor did my body's ability to give birth in itself quell my fears, because after all, every pregnancy and labor is different, and sometimes complicated births follow easy ones.

For me, my decision to give birth alone was partly about looking back on my births and seeing how the midwives' presence actually hindered my labors. It was also about being compelled by my dissatisfaction with those births to do research on birth; which led me to the realization that birth is in fact like any other involuntary bodily function: given a healthy mind and body, the body simply does not malfunction -- it's illogical. When in good emotional and physical health and in a secure, loving environment, I've never needed help breathing, or pumping blood through my veins, maintaining healthy sleep/wake cycles, becoming aroused enough to make love comfortably and enjoyably, or eliminating waste from my body. All of these are biochemically regulated processes. Birth is no different.

Understanding that is what gave me the confidence to birth alone.

But, you know, none of that would have occurred to me to think about unless I had first had the experience of two attended births, because unfortunately unlike Laura I did not have a philosophical husband and access to some radical books. (Not that one needs those things specifically, but you know what I'm saying, there has to be some initial prompt that sets the lightbulb off in the head.) I couldn't start undoing the conditioning until I knew I had something to undo in the first place; and I didn't know that I had something to undo until I had the experience to see with my own heart the reality of attended births, which turned out to be very different from the beautiful birthing myths I had grown up with.

indigolilybear 09-13-2002 02:17 AM

i've been looking for you, sweetwater, on all these freebirth posts!! i'm glad you're back.

anyway, just wanted to add my .02.
we actually read a great article re: freebirth while preg. w/baby one by Jeannine Parvati Baker in the sisters on a journey compilation ( a compilation of midwive's stories)
hubbie and i looked at each other, and it rang some bells but mostly *I* did not feel ready to progress alone w/it. DH even had dreams where we did not call hte midwives,etc. and said that during the birth, he just wanted everyone to leave.

anyway, so i did it and am glad i did it w/midwives. i needed to do it that way because i just needed to get one under my belt. (no pun intended ) i was too scared to brave the "underworld" of birth by myself....and it was only through this experience that i realized that really, no one could help me. i would have never believed this had i not birthed w/my "help-team" of fam, and midwives. you birth alone, w/your baby, and no one else can do it for you.

I *wish* I had been ready to freebirth dd, but i wasn't. however, it was her wonderful birth that gave me the stepping stone to build on....albeit a lot of "birth baggage" to work through too! It was still scary and all but I then knew what i had to work w/.

I spent most of the 2.7 yrs. after dd's birth processing, reading, doing personal "work" all in preparation for what i knew would be our next baby, our freeborn baby. I really wanted it....and i had to work hard at not working hard, if you KWIM? LOL. just let your body do the work. or as my main affirmation went "I believe in my body's ability to birth this baby easily, painlessly and pleasurably!"

k'smami 09-13-2002 03:06 AM

I've been reading about UC for over ten months now. In that time I've spent a lot of time dealing with my fears surrounding birth. I can honestly say that right now, I am not afraid. That is not to say that I won't experience fear later on and that I may need to work through, but it means that I no longer fear birth.

When I had a hospital birth with my Ds, the one emotion that stood out in my mind was not fear, but ANGER- anger that these nurses would not allow me to drink water, anger that I was essentially duped into taking drugs because they continously refused to accept my refusals for them until I finally gave in. I hated their control and I decided that I would not be at anyone's mercy but my own or my child's for birth again. And sure, a midwife will probably be less controlling but as I read about people and their midwives on the internet, I find that I would still be influenced by someone else's perceptions/needs surrounding my birth so I'd rather not take that risk.

SpiralWoman 09-13-2002 04:15 AM

thanks for clarifying your experience with your attended births for me. It helps me to understand. I am still a long way from making my decisions about how I will birth, but I know it will be a thoughtful process. If I could figure out how to do that quote thing you all do so well I wouldn't have paraphrased you like that.
blessings, Maria

cottonwood 09-13-2002 03:44 PM

Indigo Lily Bear! Unfortunately I'm not really "back" -- I'm on a friend's line, still don't have internet access myself. I miss talking about my favorite subject with you all!

Maria, no problem! In a forum where misunderstandings can be so easy, it's actually good for us to keep saying " I hear you saying this" -- if you hadn't, I wouldn't have had the chance to elaborate, which I LOVE to do.

member234098 09-14-2002 04:37 AM

Dearest Mothering Friends:

I am the product of an unassisted homebirth.

That was 1954. My Father delivered me as well as seven of the next eight. He was a Doctor of Chiropractic, but I do believe the law allowed him to do something like that as a practice of home methods, i.e., a family member can treat another family member as a matter of course. Also, childbirth is not a disease, so what is to be treated anyway.

I was told that my mom had placental problems, and one of my Father's cohorts showed him how to help my mom deliver the placenta, which he did each time. My mom went to the hospital for #5 who was breech (1961) and she was released the same day. It was Mother's Day.

I do not know if the experience "empowered" my mom.

I do know that it did not hold the marriage together. They were divorced after nine children and many years of marriage. My mom left my Father for another man.

Well, maybe it did "empower" my mom.

Dodo 09-14-2002 11:23 AM

I am really enjoying all of your responses.

Indigolilybear, I guess I am doing my "processing" right now so that I will be prepared to birth another child in the future. I had planned on adopting a warrior approach, but, after reading up on UC, I am leaning towards a more confident, accepting attitude.

I thought that I had a great birth experience - no meds, very little intervention, home the same day - with my dd, who was born almost a year ago, but my labour was long and I screamed through the whole thing. Throughout the pregnancy, I could only think of the birth with fear. I don't want to be that way again, and, really, I don't think I will be.

With my first, I had a hard time transitioning from free-and-easy single gal to mother, even though I very much wanted to be a mom. I spent a lot of time focussing on that transition and too little focussing on how I'd like to approach labour and delivery. Maybe I am being too critical. I had to do what I had to do!

I am jealous of women who were confident enough to give birth unassisted, particularly with their first, because it suggests to me that they were extremely confident about themselves as mothers and very comfortable with the birth process. Is that weird? I constantly have to remind myself that other peoples' successes aren't my losses!

cottonwood 09-14-2002 06:45 PM

Originally posted by miriam
I do know that it did not hold the marriage together.
There are some books on unassisted birth that talk as if UC is a vital key in cementing the marital relationship. I think the reality is more that husband/wife birth provides the opportunity for a special kind of experience that can deeply affect the relationship. Like with anything else -- making love, for instance, or taking marriage vows for that matter -- it's all in what you make of it, right?

member234098 09-14-2002 08:20 PM

dearest friends:

my parents first relationship was doctor/patient. It is a relationship that outlasted the marriage, because she still used him as her doctor after the divorce. ( his attorney told him not to continue this arrangement - i told him also, but he would not listen to me)

i thought it was bizarre.

however i merely point it out to show that having unassisted homebirths w/ dh around does not guarantee the future of any kind of marital bliss.

i have gathered from the experience what i can as the oldest of nine - that childbirth is normal and natural, not requiring hospitalization, surgery, drugs, etc., in most cases.

i did use a midwife. i am brave but not all that brave. i know my limits.

indigolilybear 09-14-2002 08:48 PM

as for the birth-strengthening-relationships thing. i agree, it is what you make of it though i cannot come up w/too many scenarios where two mature, loving and commited adults who *agree* to do this would not strengthened by it.

i think it is a huge statement of faith adn trust in each ohter and *personally* feel it has made a huge difference in our relationship. my DH has said that he feels much more attracted to me sexually since our freebirth and also is very impressed w/me after watching me birth ds.'s hard to say why exactly it was different and it wasn't *horrible* but he was definetly relegated to secondary player. and i don't believe that he really received the "orgasmic, oxytocin energy bond" that was due him. neither did the midwives really....but dd definitely did!!

but the varieties of situations out there are as varied as the people are.....LOL

Lakin24 09-15-2002 03:14 AM

Just adding my two cents...

I am pregnant and we are planning an unassisted HBAC this fall. I had an extremely medically managed pregnancy with our daughter that culminated in a totally unnecessary c-section at 37 weeks for "failure to progress". I was never comfortable with my medical care and I have a lifelong fear of doctors and hospitals anyway. This birth did not help matters much.

My husband and I decided that this birth would be as different as we could make it. We have done our own basic prenatal care (in so much as we count baby's movements and occasionally measure fundal height). We have no due date, we don't even have a due month... I was nursing my daughter when we conceived so I did not have a cycle. All we know is it was sometime from January to April when we happened to test and it was positive. We're not worried, I am healthy, baby is active, we are educated, prepared and definitely well-read on the subject.

The biggest problem we've had is with family and friends wanting to know when EXACTLY are we due and what did my doctor say at our appointment and when do I go for my ultrasounds. @@ We fob them off and just lie to some....... it wouldn't do them any good to know what we're planning and we frankly don't need the stress of their concern.

member234098 09-15-2002 10:48 AM

Dear Lakin24:

I am totally supportive of what you are planning.

I hope it works out for you, and that the experience heals you and your dh.

What a nice family you will have.

cottonwood 09-15-2002 03:32 PM

Slowly working throught this thread...

Originally posted by Dodo
First, I think it dredges up the stereotype of so-called 'primitive people', especially women, being impervious to pain. [snip] These observers may have seen what they wanted to see, you know what I mean?
The problem there, I think, is with the idea that "primitive" people are a different sort of animal from people living in industrialized societies. The idea that societal conditioning can affect how anything (including pain) is approached and experienced in itself is sound.

But certainly they were interpreting what they were seeing from the basis of their own conditioning, which made it inconceivable to them that anyone could experience pain and not react in a certain negative way to it. The other possibility, of course, is that those women they observed really weren't in pain. Painless birth, or birth in which the pain is not severe enough to cry out, or even pleasurable birth is possible; I know of many women, including myself, who have experienced this, and this even in a society that tells them from childhood that birth is dreadful! Just imagine how many more women would be able to avoid great suffering in a society that taught them that birth was (or could be) at base an enjoyable experience, and that advocated secure, unstressful environments for them to give birth in, essentially obliterating the fear-pain cycle.

Second, I'm uncomfortable with stories of women birthing one hour and returning to work the next. [snip] Birthing and working do not an ideal combination make.
It's true that given extreme physical effort or trauma, the body needs time to rest so that it can recover. This is common sense. On the other hand, not all birth takes such a toll on the body that the mother must be confined to bed for days or weeks. In our "civilized" society, mothers are put through all sorts of unnecessary stresses when giving birth. In a "primitive" society, it is unlikely that a woman will be subjected to the emotional and physical stress that characterizes most managed births, that her body will be cut or bruised or expected to perform as if birth is an athletic event. I've had both kinds of births -- and I can tell you with all honesty that my postpartum experiences were vastly different. After the managed birth I hobbled around like an old lady for weeks. After my unhindered births I felt physically very whole and well and was easily able to do basic household work. This from a woman who is extremely sedentary and pampered -- it makes me wonder how I would have felt after those births if I was physically fit and hardy!

k'smami 09-15-2002 05:24 PM

ITA sweetwater. Dh's grandmother birthed 13 children. She told me that after her first birth she was wiped out and had 40 days of rest. By her 13th, she was birthing unassisted and within the hour she was back at work. I'm sure part of the reason she was back at work was because she had to but she most certainly stresses that those births did not take a toll on her the way her first did.

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