No offense to you, zinemama, but I didn't read anything or pick up any undertones that anyone said anything that should make another person feel guilty or judged.
KeysMama, I thought, was very clear, without a clarification, of what her experience was and what her personal definition of natural was. I didn't find it judgemental at all. I thought that her account of discussing after the fact w/moms who choose to believe they went ala naturale was sensitive. I know that a lot of people would like to believe that they are having a natural birth in the hospital, and I don't blame them one bit for claiming that they did. We (aka: science) know that just transporting and being in the hospital interrupts the birth process
. There's a lot of cultrural dogma to be overcome, obviously. And no offense to KeysMama, but a lot of BA's (birth attendants) on this board take a lot of hits because their specialized background gives them a different perception of birth than someone who's on the other end of the yoni. Their views about birth tend to be pretty stark, but I appriciate it when they identify themselves as BA's so we have a perspective of where they're coming from.
It's distressing to me that when someone starts to discuss what is basically semantics and their personal views, someone invariably has to tell them that "other" people are hurt by their "judgements".
I think that is pretty sad that we all have to define our place in this continuum to everyone we speak to. But, it's part of the education and erradication of outmoded views of childbirth. I'm proud to be a part of this community because we care so much. I've learned a lot and I think that I bring something to the party, as well.
When I first started paying attention to discussions of childbirth, I realized they were referring to all vaginal as natural. And while that struck me at the time as a little odd, I went with it for some time. Until I did my own research and discovered that I didn't feel natural childbirth simply ment no major surgery. I think a lot more women can do it than think they can. Having that backup and encouragement (at the hospital) makes it tempting, perhaps too much, for women who are in the temple of technology, and are used to technology in their lives and the everyday convenience devices. As Pam England says in BFW, a lot of women in our culture have never done anything particularly physically challenging, or sweaty, vomity and ungainly as grunting and yelling in a public place. I think one of the closest things to compare to is running a marathon, and all the training leading up to it, and the mental letting go, the walls and valleys and highs during the run, but no one sees your privates.
We have a lot to overcome in our culture, and it's no wonder we don't "do" natural childbirth well. But, we're getting there, and there is no shame in wanting a little help, or a lot of help, but part of the education and erradication process is to acknowledge what we had chosen and not feel so intimidated by labels and continuum issues related to a natural birth.
I think if someone you don't particularly know brings up in conversation, you are justified in saying - yes, I had natural childbirth. But if you're discussing the whole thing, you could bring up the fact that you had some pain killers and an episiotomy or some oxygen, so it was pretty natural. And not feel ashamed or judged because it's your experience - good, bad. Everyone can just keep their negative opinions to themselves if they can't be supportive.
I'm planning a homebirth attended by 2 naturopaths (doctors) in May. They can use vacuum extraction and oxygen and of course can do episiotomy. They don't and haven't used vacuum extraction, but it is a tool they have available. I think this is going to be a very natural birth. But, I've also had surgery for removal of a polyp on my cervix during pregnancy, so it's about as natural a process as I suppose I can get. I'm trying my darndest to become educated for the marathon part of pregnancy. So that when the time comes I'm not birthing in my mind, but in my body. I wouldn't be able to birth at home as naturally as I can if the polyp were there, and it may still be an issue, because only the part sticking out was cut off. But, I am attempting to go as non-interference as possible. Not for my sake, but for the baby, because I believe he's the one that will benefit the most from a non-interrupted, non-medicated birth and an intact mom after the outcome. If I didn't think that recovery from a medicated birth took more time and just wasn't generally good for the body's natural recovery system, and I didn't know about the impact to the baby in all this, I'd probably opt for twilightsleep. But you can't even get that anymore.