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#1 of 19 Old 01-23-2004, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have acheived a great and empowering feat 3 times, naturally, that of childbirth. Something that in our society today should not have to be a great acheivement yet will always be one due to the nature of it's outcome.
I've been filled with a sense of empowerment, I reached into myself and met my spirit at the core of my being: we worked as a team. Then I was forced back out of myself to meet my greatest feat. The creation of two soul mates born of one.
The fact that I acheived this of my own free will, unmedicated , unlike the majority of American Women in our society today, has made me feel somewhat of an outcast among my peers.
When I want to stand up tall and shout to the world my beautiful accomplishments, my pride, my euphoria, I instead feel boring, misunderstood and somewhat embarrassed. Instead of contributing to Womens Liberation, it's more like Womens Degradation. I feel as if I'm supposed to keep quiet and not let the truth out that it can actually happen naturally. By acknowledging that, I'm taking all of Womens Power away to plan and choose how and when they will have a baby. They feel PRIDE and POWER in Scheduling their deliveries.
All the misguided reasons as to why so many women are told they shouldn't, couldn't, have a baby naturally are thrown out the window. Being told by a womans DR. "your hips are too narrow, your too tired, not strong enough, you'll tear anyhow, it's for the baby's own good" and a myriad of other reasons, some true but most unlikely, are unquestioned. Women find solace in each others disstressful stories over their deliveries. Theres more astonished faces and pats on the back when comparing who's duration of labor was the longest, possible complications, the most stitches, longest recovery, etc.... Women hide behind these excuses like badges of bravery.
They should feel humiliated by their Drs. suggesting they are incapable of doing what Mother Nature has provided every other female animal and being of doing naturally-As if todays Women is some chromosonal defect.
They should demand that their Drs., Nurses, Coaches, give them plenty of time and support, provide a nurturing environment and assume they can handle the pain, letting Mother Nature take it's course.
I just want to be part of the conversation. Yet when I tell a room full of women in response to the birth stories going around, that mine were all natural, all different yet beautiful and invigorating, I get mostly silence. It's quickly back to the conventional stories. I wish to share my birth stories the same as any women yet in the end I feel excluded and somewhat ashamed being reminded that my pain couldn't have been the same or as long. Does anyone else feel left out of one of the proudest moments of their life?
I am not a "deliver natural nazi", I completely understand that things happen and that it may just not be the way for everyone. I don't look down on Women for it. I blame mostly the DRs. for teaching Women to accept these conventional methods. I am disheartened when Women don't bother to challenge them. I'm embarrassed when I hear a Women order her epidural ahead of time or schedule a C-section for a speedy outcome..
Is this Liberation for Women or the Errosion of all we were truely meant to do? Any responses?
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#2 of 19 Old 01-23-2004, 02:56 AM
 
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I'm embarrassed when I hear a Women order her epidural ahead of time ..
I'm one of those women. In my case I have abuse issues and cannot untangle the sensation of pain from my body's memories of being abused. It would take years of therapy and unearthing memories I'd rather just let sleep so I can enjoy my current blessings. For me, the epidural was a good thing. It allowed me to enjoy my childbirth experience, to relax, and have a happy time rather than fighting old ghosts.

I am planning to have another epidural and just hoping I make it to the hospital on time. If I have to go natural I know I can do it okay. I have confidence that I'll get through it. But I've fought enough pain in my life. Which is what I would do-- I'd get into fight or flight mode, rather than seeing pain as a good thing. Esp. during the transition phase when your labor starts talking more than your logic does.

Other reasons that women rely on epidurals is societal, as you mentioned. In the old days girls would probably attend the births of relatives and grow up knowing what to expect. When their own time came to give birth they would be surrounded by the loving support of their family and friends. Unfortunately it's become a very impersonal society where one gets embarassed showing a nursing breast in public. Much less showing one's nether regions to friends and family during a birth. Women have forgotten their heritage.

So they go into birth fearful, not ever having seen a birth before, not knowing what to expect, surrounded by needles and monitors and forceps and people in white coats and masks. They cannot relax. Their partner may also be there but he knows less than she does about birth in most cases. So an epidural becomes what those women of old used to be to each other. A way to relax and cope.

The women of our society should not be blamed for the lack of heritage that the last couple of generations have robbed them of. I think today it's a very rare women who will seek out natural childbirth, really study and prepare mentally, and ask friends/family/doulas to attend the birth in the home. We hear of homebirth on this board all the time, but it's not part of mainstream society and many women have never heard of it, much less considered it for themselves.

I'm hoping to be a doula someday to empower women with whatever childbirth decisions they make, and to help them to know all their options ahead of time. I may not be able to get past my own issues, but it will be healing to help others.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#3 of 19 Old 01-23-2004, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Avoiding the pain sounds like a positive alternative to use for your birth and if it's not in time I'm sure you"ll do great. There are many different reasons why we choose the deliveries we have and I really don't have a problem with that. It's really society and it's views about it that depress me and the Doctors and lack of support in general. There is no doubt that there can be complications and certainly pain will always be associated with childbirth. It just makes me sad there aren't more stories about how amazing and invigorating the experience really can be. Thanks for taking the time to share. Good luck.
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#4 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 01:15 AM
 
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Darshani -

Good for you for your discernment about this. Your choice to put limits on what your body goes through strikes me as really wise and self-protective. Kudos. So many survivors get stuck in the place of not being able to protect and advocate for themselves - your thoughts on this are so powerful and inspiring to me.

Thank you for your openness.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#5 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally posted by rainey
I've been filled with a sense of empowerment, I reached into myself and met my spirit at the core of my being: we worked as a team. Then I was forced back out of myself to meet my greatest feat. The creation of two soul mates born of one
. . .
I just want to be part of the conversation. Yet when I tell a room full of women in response to the birth stories going around, that mine were all natural, all different yet beautiful and invigorating, I get mostly silence. It's quickly back to the conventional stories. I wish to share my birth stories the same as any women yet in the end I feel excluded and somewhat ashamed being reminded that my pain couldn't have been the same or as long.
oh sista, I hear ya!

Rainey, you say "I just want to be part of the conversation," and I am learning how hard it is for that to happen when an unconventional birth is experienced.

There is so much more I'd like to say on this interesting subject, yet everytime I try to type a thought, I become muddled and can't express my emotions or experiences or feelings quite clearly....

I was reborn after my first baby was born, a true renaissance of myself when I became a mother. And heck, kids, this was at the hands of a gold-chain wearing OB, Pit drip, lousy epidural meds, etc. But my first birth was even better than I expected, and I was beyond empowered. I DID IT.

And after my second babe was born at home, well HOLY SMOKES...only my MDC mammas know what it means when I say, well, I was loud, but not because it hurt, or, I felt so safe and happy at home...because everyone else seems to assume that reckless homebirthing mothers are out there to prove their uber-wombs and delusions of grandeur.

Why is it so fashionable to diminish this feat of creation in our culture? Why is it a pleasing hobby for the bubble-burstrers? I think of my in-laws...my mother in law, and her 3 sisters...4 women, born to a woman, ALL of these women have wonderfully pleasant, short, effective births without any troubles--seriously, 3 hour labors, easy pushin', happy times in spite of classic obstetrics.

But there was a son born to this woman, and he married...so, when my in-laws get together, these 4 women with their happy, easy labors, are ridiculed by the one married-in woman, who belittles and degrades the whole birthing scene.

I mention this because ALL the folks are mainstream, yet this junk is still going on--it's not just a "problem" for the earthy-birthy meets scheduled Brazilian c-sec.

I just thought of another facet--what about near-death experiences? When people report they saw a light and all was peaceful, in spite of techinically still living--and in great pain--no one says, well, you looser, remember, dying hurts and you're silly.

Have American women been so abused, so bullied by obstetrics that the "only" way to be empowered at all is to belittle and diminish the accomplishments of others?

Or is it impossible to see what birth really is these days--DON'T FORGET what it's like in a hosptial, which is so easy when happy births are remembered...the bright lights in the hall, the clanking of doors, the vinyl floor, the blood pressure cuff, the smells, the in-and-out of nurses & doctors...on and on...so much unpleasantness, so much stealing the stage from the labor and birth, so much to enhance mom's discomfort, I don't know HOW natural laboring/birthing-at-a-hospital moms DO it.

Darshani, you write: So an epidural becomes what those women of old used to be to each other.

Of course it does. This is why I don't think ill of empowered women selecting pharmacuitcal support when birthing in a medical setting. (And mamas--EVERYONE should have a doula when birthing in a hosptial.)

I don't know...maybe, Rainey, it's like high school--"high school sucks for everyone" doesn't it? OR DOES it.........maybe there are a few folks who really did enjoy it when they were there...are they freaks? or are they the minute, empowered, 'stars have alligned' group that the happy birthers are?

Or maybe birthing will slowly but surely come into vogue, as women's sexuality has--how recently were marital relations concidered a wifely duty, whereas now most (many? some? all?) woman expect a happy time...lovemaking is no longer the 'chore' of yore.
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#6 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 12:16 PM
 
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Then, Darshani, I pray that you will be put into a position of going through it without an epidural.
I know your intentions are in the right place, and part of me thinks that's probably the only way it will happen-- to get there too late for epidural. I'm not so sure that I hope that for myself. Abuse victims not only associate pain with fear and trauma, but the big one is loss of control. I am so afraid of loss of control that I've never been drunk or been tempted to try illegal drugs. I don't even like roller coasters because once you get on you have to ride it until it's over. I was forced on one by some classmates in high school (at Magic Mountain-- the one that goes upside down and all that) and although I made it through the ride, it was one of my worst memories.

On one hand I might get through the experience just fine and come out on the other side victorious and confident. On the other hand I don't know how I'll get through it, and it's that not knowing that scares me. It's also crossing into the realm of pain/fear that is very scary for me. It would be like forcing a person with a fear of flight onto a plane. Sure they know logically that they will be able to make it through the flight, but once they are in the air they may panic and vomit and have cold sweats. When the flight is over, it will not have been the most pleasant of experiences and the feeling they would get at the end would be one of extreme relief. I doubt they would be happy about the plane ride and say, "Wow that was a great experience!" Of course birth is sweetened by a baby at the end.

I have employed a doula who I seem to connect well with, and hope we can be better friends after the birth. I have absolute trust in her ability to get me through this if needed. She's going to be my lifeline. I also will have my dh there and my two best girlfriends. So I have lots of support if I need it, and I feel blessed that I'm going to be surrounded by so much love.

My ability to be a doula comes not from my own experience in birthing, but in my ability to comfort, be compassionate to someone who's suffering or fearful, and to be their source of strength when they feel they are falling, and to be educated enough to help them make the right decisions. I hold hands well, I encourage, I can be a strong advocate for their rights. I don't feel it's necessary to go through it myself in order to provide that support to a laboring woman. I have attended 3 births and although I'm very "green" I have been told afterwards how my presence was calming and how I helped make the birth experience better. None of the three births went anything like they had planned and they were glad to have me be there to keep them calm and focused.

There are a lot of good OB's and midwives who've never given birth, and in our area there is an excellent LC who's never nursed but comes with a great reputation. I myself never nursed (I pumped) and yet I've been able to provide breastfeeding support to several friends, including emailing one in India who was having trouble breastfeeding her twins. I gave her some LC-type advice and she nursed them exclusively after that. Another friend was so tired after her birth (she had a long pushing stage and heavy bleeding) that I basically latched her baby on for her and held her in place while she nursed for almost 2 hours.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 01:33 PM
 
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We hear of homebirth on this board all the time, but it's not part of mainstream society and many women have never heard of it, much less considered it for themselves.

OMG!....how true this is.....the other day I dropped my dd off at a friend's house to stay the night. Well, I started talking to the girl's mother and we (somehow) got on the topic of me wanting to become a midwife, doing homebirths. Her response was "I wish they had homebirth when my dd was born, I would have taken that route." I am ashamed to say that I almost laughed in this woman's face (I need to get a better handle on my tact issues)...I almost asked her "was homebirth invented in the last 5 years?" (not that women haven't been giving birth to babys since the DAWN OF TIME...(and hospitals only became popular in the last century or so..)
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#8 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 01:50 PM
 
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USAmma, I also suffered much abuse as a child (physical, emotional, sexual) and I know what you are going through. However, I found that giving birth was one of the most healing experiences thus far. I delivered both my children drug free, and I used Hypnobirthing. Do I think it took away all my pain? No. But it did give me some very valuable tools to use when I was in pain, that helped me feel 'in control'. I also felt that I was never out of control, b/c I was trusting my body to do what it was designed to do, I could move, eat /drink, whatever and do it all on my terms. I highly recommend HypnoBirthing, (alot of doulas know about it) the meditations are beautiful, and empowering. I think whether you use an epidural or not, it might be nice for you, just emotionally. If you can take the class, even better. Whatever you decide to do, I think you are very brave. Giving birth and raising a child can be a very healing experience, but also bring up alot of your old sh*t. Having the right support, and plenty of it helps greatly, as I'm sure you know. Feel free to PM me if you ever want to talk.
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#9 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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Dear rainey:

I feel the same way about My Own Four Homebirths! I feel as though I could stand on a mountain and command the heavens, I am so empowered by them. It is oh, so awesome!

YET-

When I sit in a group of my fellow mother contemporaries, I am a pariah. Most of the conversation moves to how a doctor saved the day by deciding to "save" her and the baby by doing a Caesarean Section. Such medical "heroics"!

Dr. Robert Mendelsohn quoted another person by aptly saying,

"Obstetricians are like firemen - they both save lives; but the fireman doesn't start the fire."


"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#10 of 19 Old 01-24-2004, 11:11 PM
 
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I've had quite a few clients with sexual abuse histories. While everyone needs to do what they feel comfortable with, many women choose a homebirth with abuse hx for a variety of reasons, here are some of the most common:

* No strangers (or friends/providers!) entering their body or surprising them with unwanted touch

* The freedom to leave a situation that feels unsafe (whereas an epidural renders one paralyzed and often that feels too vulnerable to women, especially when they say they cannot feel what someone is doing "down there")

* The ability to be modest and to wear clothes that are familiar

* The ability to have a voice and not have to fight about personal boundary issues

* The ability to discuss in depth prenatally a variety of things that might be triggers during labor/birth (certain positions, IVs, poop, etc.)

* To be on their turf and know that anyone invited is just that



Many times, the reclaiming of a woman's body through a natural birth is a huge victory. Sometimes natural birth can cause more triggers and deeper regression into the abuse. It's so variable and I'm glad women have choices.
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#11 of 19 Old 01-30-2004, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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tinyshoes,
Your comment regarding the comparison of what people would say about death was a wonderful observation and humorous.
I had been a Hospice Volunteer for a couple years up until my first pregnancy. Prior to that I had sat at my Mothers bedside along with my Father while we kept her at home as she spent her last months of life, the result of a Brain Tumor. After witnessing her die there was actually such a calm and I felt as if an unknown part of life with great meaning had opened up to me. Whereas, I had assumed there would only be lots of crying and depression. The grieving process went so much easier knowing we had kept her with us all along and been there for her up to the last breath. With each Death I saw, after her death, through my volunteer work; I felt more confident that Death needed to be a process with less Drs. and less of an artificial existence than what our society has to offer to the terminally ill. Especially when you witness a real death the way it should be given to follow through, love , patience, support, fear of the unknown, and then a real birth, love patience , support, fear of the unknown, (especially if it is your first). You will see a beautiful and amazing similarity. Unfortunately they are two very important aspects or our life that society is somehow snuffing out the beauty in and making it so fearful and so sterile. I specifically remember after giving birth the first time how I thought of my Mother and how I saw the beauty in the two acts. One obviously somewhat sad in the end while the other pure joy yet both pure and profound and as Mother Nature/God intended. I feel honored that I was there for these events and I see they need not have the fear associated with them.
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#12 of 19 Old 01-30-2004, 05:18 PM
 
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"I don't know...maybe, Rainey, it's like high school--"high school sucks for everyone" doesn't it? OR DOES it.........maybe there are a few folks who really did enjoy it when they were there...are they freaks? or are they the minute, empowered, 'stars have alligned' group that the happy birthers are?"

I see where you are going with this, but I think the analogy works well only if you're talking about hospital birth specifically -- because school is to learning as to hospitals are to birthing. I think the better analogy would be between birth and learning itself. I think ? your point, which I agree with, was that in our culture, learning/education is seen to be a miserable chore, just as birth is. Whereas in reality, learning and birth can be enjoyable experiences if they aren't saddled with all the extra unnecessary crap.
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#13 of 19 Old 02-01-2004, 08:03 PM
 
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Just wanted to come back to this thread to share my birth story! :-) Everything went well, I felt totally in control, and it couldn't have gone better. It was so peaceful and joyful.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...0&pagenumber=2

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#14 of 19 Old 02-02-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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Originally posted by blueviolet I see where you are going with this, but I think the analogy works well only if you're talking about hospital birth specifically -- because school is to learning as to hospitals are to birthing. I think the better analogy would be between birth and learning itself. I think ? your point, which I agree with, was that in our culture, learning/education is seen to be a miserable chore, just as birth is. Whereas in reality, learning and birth can be enjoyable experiences if they aren't saddled with all the extra unnecessary crap.
Ohhh blueviolet, I think you interpreted my point in a cooler, better way than I had intended when I wrote it.

I just meant that high school itself is a miserable chore: the classes, the students, the sports, the fitting in, the lack of self-esteem. It seems that everyone agrees, highschool sucks.

Just the way that everyone agrees birthings sucks.

I do like the comparison to learning = chore as a birth = chore. That's not true; learning can be great fun, epecially when it's not at high school and within the confines of US History class in preparation for the US History exam, midquarters, this quiz, that presentation, etc.

I think that's an excellent analogy, that high school learnin' is akin to hospital birthin'...a LOT is going on besides the actual goals, i.e., education and birth.
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#15 of 19 Old 02-05-2004, 06:27 PM
 
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I sooo know what you mean about wanting to shout from the mountain tops what you have done. When I'm in groups of mainstream women, the minute I start to talk about my natural hb or even breastfeeding, their faces just kind of glaze over, they listen politely for a minute then back to "My OB had to induce b/c the baby was almost 8 pounds" or "How many stitches did you have" or "Well, I didn't have enough milk". Argh! I get so frustrated, but I think that they don't want to hear how wonderful my experience was b/c maybe they feel cheated somehow that they didn't have a wonderful experience, KWIM? I was one of those women before I was pregnant with Madeline (although I did b'feed both of them). A gentle friend suggested that maybe I had a horrible first (hospital, induced, vacuum extraction) birth experience b/c of so many interventions. It didn't make sense to me at the time, but when I was pregnant again and knew I didn't want to repeat the same awful things, I found that she was right on in her thinking. Maybe I was more open-minded than some? : I don't know.
So I will shout it out here:
I AM FIERCLY PROUD OF MYSELF FOR GIVING BIRTH TO MY 10 POUND DAUGHTER IN MY HOME, ON MY TERMS. I AM ALSO PROUD THAT I ENJOYED HER BIRTH AND FELT VERY LITTLE PAIN!
I AM MAMA-HEAR ME ROAR!


Thanks for letting my get that out ladies

Paige, mama to three girls, (10), (8) and (3)
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#16 of 19 Old 02-06-2004, 12:00 AM
 
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Well, I must say I have had almost the opposite experience that you all have. Before DS was born, most of the women that I talked to about births were of the homebirth/drug-free mindset. I think some "conventionally-thinking" women tried to talk to me, but I wouldn't listen. I read so many books on natural childbirth, and spent so much time reading the accounts of women here at MDC. I grew up hearing from my mother that childbirth was a breeze, not painful at all, and she was so scathing about any woman who thought otherwise. So many people that I associated with including my sister had relatively easy drug-free births, that I didn't think it would be any different with me.

I planned a home water birth. I ended up having an emergency c-section after transferring to the hospital because of the unbelievable nightmarish pain. The c-section happened after my son's heart stopped; I was waiting for an epidural at the time and was glad (!) that the baby was in distress and they would have to put me under. I was so wrapped up in the pain that I wouldn't have cared if they told me my son had died at that point - I just needed it to stop.

Since then I feel embarrassed to talk about my birth experience. I don't understand why so many women seem to be able to do this and I couldn't. I feel like such a loser whenever I read about all these wonderful natural births you all are having. I resent my sister for having what I wanted and expected. I am pregnant now, and so far haven't even been able to express my fears about my upcoming labour with the e-mail support group of mums that I belong to, or anyone except my husband.

I have ordered the Hypnobabies program and am hoping things go better this time, but I am planning to have this baby in the hospital, just in case they don't. (After watching my son's heart stop last time, my husband wouldn't even consider a home birth with this one anyway. I can't imagine how scary that must have been for him, because as I said, I really didn't give a damn at the time.) I have a wonderful midwife and, despite my fear of the pain, a tiny belief deep inside me that I can do this.

If I end up needing drugs, or God forbid, another c-section, I don't think I will ever talk to anyone about my birth experiences again. The shame would be too much.
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#17 of 19 Old 02-06-2004, 08:34 PM
 
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Rachel,

Your post really touch me. I wish I had the perfect answer for you, but I don't . Thank you for sharing here with all of us. I hope you can find space in yourself to aknowledge your courage for all you've been through. I don't know why labor is so painful and difficult for some women and a relative breeze for others, but I certainly do not feel that you were a failure for wanting a way out of the pain. I can only imagine how the pain must have been absolutely, unbearable, awful pain for you to need relief that desperately. That doesn't make you a failure at all in my book. I hope that you can find a way to be gentle and compassionate with yourself. I am so glad you shared here with us.

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Lisa , married to Dan, mama to IVF miracle Natalie 5/20/09 :
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#18 of 19 Old 02-07-2004, 12:41 AM
 
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Rachel,

I have learned a long time ago that a birth experience does not make anyone a hero or a loser. What matters most is raising that child to adulthood. I know that ideally you probably wanted better than what you got, but things work out that way for a reason. At least it's quite evident in your case.

Also understand that pain is relative to each woman. Some are more sensitive to pain than others. Some embrace it and some try to flee from it, based on their life experiences. I saw an amazing hypnobirth and hope that is a good tool for you to use next time.

While it's not a popular or ideal choice on these boards, I do think that epidurals have their place. Perhaps not for everyone, but I happened to have a peaceful epidural birth experience recently. I certainly don't feel like a loser for getting one. I still felt fully in control of my birth experience and everything went as I wished it to.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#19 of 19 Old 02-07-2004, 03:34 AM
 
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Rachel, when I hear your story - and others like yours, I am reminded that there are many factors to an experience.

You had the opportunity and availability of pain relief. You sought out what you needed. Nobody coerced you (from the sounds of your story) into something you didn't want.

I think you should be amazingly proud of yourself. It's not a contest - who can have the "better" birth. It's about being supported and secure enough to make informed choices about what is right for your body and your baby. Many women don't even get that.

I think we should hear more stories like yours, honestly. Each birth is so different for each woman. I have had clients shocked by the pain of birth - and when I worry that I might have encouraged them to stay at home and work through it, they remind me that they were still in control of their birth and they would have chosen a different path if they wanted to.

The important thing is that women are fully educated about their choices, that they ask the right questions that will bring the right answer for them....this sort of questioning and concern will carry over into their parenting and allow them to feel more secure in their choices.
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