Dispelling the "perfect birth theory" - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

Double Double, the women you quotes fear being judged, just as I do, albeit or different reasons. But it's not evidence that anyone here has said, "You had a Cesarean and not a natural birth? Oh, you bad, bad, inadequate woman!".. It's also not evidence that someone gloated, "I had a Perfect Birth, and you didn't! Ha! Ha!". I'm just cautioning against reading into women's stories and posts for things they never said.

Well there are definitely lots of cases where posters make it clear that they believe they got the births they wanted because they 'did everything right,' implying that if you didn't get the birth you wanted it was because you didn't 'do everything right.'  There's an example on page 2 of this very thread actually:

 

"Eh, I did have "perfect births". I talk about birthing with a huge smile on my face even many years after. Yeah, I did have a midwife, I exercised, took Bradley classes and did the Brewer diet. And it is peaceful post-partum not to have any birth regrets or anger like so many of my friends had. But maybe I was just lucky."  (That last thrown in there as a sop to those who would point out the many women who did the same type of preparation but ended up with very different births - but obviously not something this poster really believes very fervently.  And the bit about the birth regrets of the friends, doesn't that sound just a little gloaty to you?)

 

And then there's this on page 3:

 

"she envisioned the experience she wanted to have and made it happen by actively de-programming herself from the mainstream expectations of birth as horrible and painful. I don't think she was just 'lucky'"

 

 

I wouldn't say that labor preparation makes *no* difference, because I believe I've read that there have been studies showing that women who do birth prep classes are more likely to end up with drug-free births (though I haven't read these studies myself so don't know if that's possibly a selection bias effect of the women who choose to take the classes in the first place).  It's perfectly reasonable to believe that preparation makes *some* difference.  But there are still tons of cases where things are just not going to go perfectly, and labor prep/positive thinking/whatever is just not going to cut the mustard to turn a transverse baby, drop a skyrocketing blood pressure, reverse disseminated clotting, or whatever.

 

By having a natural vaginal birth be 'lucky' I don't mean that it's rare, lucky like one-in-a-million-lucky.  But regularly lucky, in the sense that things went normally well and didn't go wrong in the way that they a minority - but a significant minority, not a tiny rare minority - of the time.

 

Now painless (unmedicated) labor, that's lucky like the rare kind of lucky.  My mom got that kind of lucky.  (She doesn't do 'active de-programming by envisioning the experience' - she is a very nuts-and-bolts kind of person.  No labor prep.)  It exists, but I don't think it's very common.


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#92 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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She totally is reacting to what she thinks her customers want. I mean, she and I had a very candid conversation about it, and she wasn't rude to me by any means. She put this question to me: "Would you have hired an HB midwife with c-section stories on her site?"

 

And you know, now that I have a more realistic understanding of birth, having gone through it, the answer is yes. Yes I would. But when I was shopping around before I had my son? No. In fact, one of my questions when I interviewed MWs was "what's your c-section rate?" I think I came to HB with this silly idea that I would be ENSURING beyond all doubt that I wouldn't have a c if I went this route. I am not saying all HB mamas think that, and I am not saying that the HB movement promises that. That was simply my desire and my perception, and I take responsibility for that. 

 

That said, I really did have to honestly answer that no, given my attitude and ignorance before I had my first baby, I would probably not have hired that midwife. I do think it's a vicious cycle, though. I mean, what if all the HB midwives in my area had a collection of stories on their sites that showed the full spectrum of birth? I mean in that case, perhaps it would've become clear to me that all birth outcomes are possible with any care provider. I did come to HB with this poorly founded attitude that it would guarantee me a natural birth. But, I do have to say, none of the childbirth educators or midwives or folks I encountered in the world of NCB did much to dispel that idea.


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#93 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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Hmmmm...the plot thickens.

 

Every source I read prior to birth said to ask about a care provider's c-section rate, because a rate that is "too high" is a "red flag." Our local birth center proudly states that they have a very low c-section transfer rate. It is a point of pride, but more than that, I think we use c-section rate as a overall indicator of competence and as a natural birth litmus test.

 

Maybe it's time to rethink that.

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#94 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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Maybe so. There was a midwifery practice here that I also interviewed. I liked them, but their c-section rate was higher than the midwife I went with. Later I found out that they tend to take on tougher cases, and that might actually be why they have a higher c-section rate, not because they are less skilled or anything.


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#95 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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This is really all fascinating.  I completely would have been the same as Partaria.  There is such a huge gulf between the rates that the WHO recommends that are 10-15% that seemingly truly are too low to expect and a place like Brazil where the section rate is 90%.  

 

While I have completely let go of judgment regarding how a woman chooses to birth (in most cases), I still think the "system" is broken and it needs to be fixed.  

 

Frankly, I'm not sure there's an answer or a complete resolution to this whole thing.  


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#96 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mambera View Post

Well there are definitely lots of cases where posters make it clear that they believe they got the births they wanted because they 'did everything right,' implying that if you didn't get the birth you wanted it was because you didn't 'do everything right.'  There's an example on page 2 of this very thread actually:

 

Well, it's ultimately up to these posters to speak for themselves, so I'll be careful with my interpretation.  What I'm hearing is that they are as concerned as the rest of us (whether we've chosen natural childbirth out-of-hospital, in-hospital epidurals, elective, repeat cesareans, etc.)  of their birth stories getting dismissed.  "Oh, you had a good birth?  Well, you were just lucky...." 

 

But again, it's best to get actual clarification directly from them and to be careful of the word "implying"; I don't consider it a synonym for "stating."  Implications are based on inference, and inference is based on our own biases and subjectivity. 

 

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Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post
 

I'm starting to wonder if the Mommy Wars and the perception of a "pissing contest" among women isn't the real issue. The idea that birth is a product that can be marketed seems like a more likely culprit to me. There are certainly individuals and businesses who have a lot to gain by offering women a guarantee of a peaceful, enjoyable birth. And they have everything to gain by making it seem like it's individual women who are to blame for their own difficult experiences, not the method or the product or (gulp) birth itself. There's got to be a middle ground. Not "natural birth is a crock" and not "natural birth is the guaranteed result of a perfect preparation" but something else...

 


 

This conversation is taking a fascinating turn!  So it’s not just childbirth ed programs sending out the Perfect Birth message…..it’s providers, as well!  It’s everybody trying to woo us into parting with our dollars.  Gotta love living in a consumerist culture....     

 

Now I realize that Partaria’s midwife runs a business, and businesses only publish positive client testimonials.  (To get the full picture, you obviously need to go to Yelp, The Birth Survey, Health Grades, and similar consumer-driven rating sites).  But this midwife went so far as to censor even a *positive* client testimonial about a hospital transfer, (a move that’s not only unethical and disingenuous, but also foolish in the long run because, as you said, a positive transfer story bodes well for a midwife).  But in all of this, she’s trying to mislead maternity care consumers into thinking that if they use her services, they’ll have an ideal birth experience.

 

Equally frustrating, however, are the hospital websites and brochures: “Come give birth with us!  Just look at our homey interior decorating, big bath tubs, and state-of-the-art technology!  You’re in great hands with us!” 

 

Good grief!  Just ponder the mixed messages that women are getting.  On the one hand, your providers assure you that have so many satisfied clients and will give you an idyllic experience with the birthing tubs, epidurals, yoga balls, rooming-in suites, aromatherapy, high-tech monitoring, or whatever is applicable to your hospital or homebirth service. 

 

But then—THEN!—if you question what happened to you after the fact……….

 

  1. It must have been something YOU did wrong, (you didn’t focus well enough on your $%$#%# Calm Blue Ocean, you didn’t think enough positive thoughts, you ate too much or exercised too little during pregnancy, you didn’t cooperate with the doctor, you didn't stick with your Brewer Diet, it serves you right for attempting a homebirth, you declined that 11th vaginal exam, etc.)

 

AND/OR….

 

  1. Naughty Mommy!  How dare you act so spoiled ?  You’re lucky to be living in an industrialized country!  The doctor/midwife did all s/he could!  The important thing is that you and the baby (and sometimes not always the baby L)  are alive and healthy!

 

As I process the ideas in this thread—along with so many of the birth stories shared on MDC—it’s becoming clear to me.  Apparently, women are not storming into hospitals and homebirth services as spoiled brats demanding the Perfect Birth; they were misled to believe that such an experience was theirs to begin with!  I’m shamelessly speculating here, but perhaps that’s why I hear so many women (including myself and Partaria) use words like “robbed," “betrayed” and "utter failure" when they describe their feelings toward their birth experiences….

 

 

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#97 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 03:34 PM
 
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This is really all fascinating.  I completely would have been the same as Partaria.  There is such a huge gulf between the rates that the WHO recommends that are 10-15% that seemingly truly are too low to expect and a place like Brazil where the section rate is 90%.  

 

While I have completely let go of judgment regarding how a woman chooses to birth (in most cases), I still think the "system" is broken and it needs to be fixed.  

 

Frankly, I'm not sure there's an answer or a complete resolution to this whole thing.  


I just want to point out that the WHO no longer publishes guidelines for recommended c-section rates. Here are the WHO guidelines on reproductive & maternal health: http://www.who.int/publications/guidelines/reproductive_health/en/index.html

 

No mention of c-section there. If someone can find it on the WHO site, please post! But I believe it has been several years now since any recommendation for c-section rates was mentioned.

 

There may be some way of determining an appropriate c-section rate, but it's no longer coming from WHO.

 

(I'm not trying to jump all over you Youngfrankenstein, I just want to make this point since it's one of those lingering things that pops up on MDC from time to time).

 


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#98 of 178 Old 03-05-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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 In fact, a recurring theme for me during the past 3 years is giving up on the notion that there is one perfect way to do this...and by "this" I mean, birth, parenting, and integrating a tough experience into my life. My labor had it's own time frame and it's own trajectory, and my recovery is the same.



I don't have a lot a lot to contribute to this discussion that hasn't been said already, but THIS is absolutely the truth.  Parenting is hard, birth is hard, life has risk and all those things are part of risk.  My husband reminds me all the time that we keep defining a "new normal" with every new adventure.

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#99 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 04:20 AM
 
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I just want to point out that the WHO no longer publishes guidelines for recommended c-section rates. Here are the WHO guidelines on reproductive & maternal health: http://www.who.int/publications/guidelines/reproductive_health/en/index.html

 

No mention of c-section there. If someone can find it on the WHO site, please post! But I believe it has been several years now since any recommendation for c-section rates was mentioned.

 

There may be some way of determining an appropriate c-section rate, but it's no longer coming from WHO.

 

(I'm not trying to jump all over you Youngfrankenstein, I just want to make this point since it's one of those lingering things that pops up on MDC from time to time).

 


 

This is good to know.  It did seem concerning that this number that was being thrown around kept going.  It seemed a bit dangerous.  I will say that even if the WHO doesn't recommend it anymore, I do still hear it a lot as an ideal.


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#100 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 07:53 AM
 
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You have to imagine telling your child their birth story.  There they are, sitting wide eyed, staring off into the distance.  You don't want to be saying "and then your heart rate DROPPED, and we were so SCARED, and they raced us to the EMERGENCY".  These stories break your heart over and over again, each time you tell them.  And what a thing to give to your child!  "I almost died.  I almost died.  I almost died". 

 

Tell a different story!  "And after we had been at the hospital awhile, the doctor, who your mommy liked and trusted, decided she would help you come out!  We were so happy to see your sweet face!".  You feel better telling the story that way.  Your child feels wonderful hearing that kind of story. 

 

Every baby was born however they were born.  We can't change that.  But a birth story is POWERFUL.  A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily.  You can find those details, whether it was just "and daddy held my hand and I was so glad to know he was there".  Even if you had a true, life-threatening emergency, you can find those details and then tell JUST those details, spin it however you need to.  The more you tell your "version" of the story, the more you feel it inside you.  I promise, not because I am making it up, but because I do it every night when I tell my daughter her story, and the story of her brother's birth.  She doesn't need to hear about fear and blood, just calm and gentle, warm and safe. 

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#101 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post


I'm catching up on posts in this thread, and this one caught my eye.  Take a look at the words that I've emphasized.....all extremely subjective terminology!

 

Your impressions seem to be based not on evidence or actual things that women have said, but on "what I see," "insuations," and a "vibe."  A woman describing a personal birth experience that she considers beautiful and idyllic is "gloating" (even though it's impossible to prove that that was her intention!), and from the phenomenon of orgasmic birth, you've somehow gleaned that it's considered a "requirement."  What I'm trying to say--as delicately as possible--is that these messages are coming from within yourself--your own perceptions and projections--and not other women.

 

As has been reiterated in this thread, we each experience something unique during childbirth.  And we each are the judges of our own experiences and authors of our own life narratives.  We have no right to step in and write other women's narratives for them.  This means that we accept a woman's story at face value for its validity.  This means that we respect and honor every lived experience from the traumatic birth to the orgasmic one! 

 

A woman who has a great birth and feel that her own diligence paid off is sharing her personal experinece, not super-imposing it on everyone else.  I'm pretty damned diligent and had an excrutiating first birth, but I'm not going to take it out on other women or accuse them of demeaning me just because they had better experiences.  

 

We tread into murky territory when we start accusing women of saying things they didn't say and doing things they didn't do.  If anything is going to fan the flames of what you call a Mommy War, it's going to be our personal sensitivities, defensiveness, and projections.

 

I no longer post much about my personal experience because I no longer feel that this is a safe and supportive place to do so.  I really don't want to be judged as "whining," "First World," and "wanting a Perfect Birth" if I write about a bad experience...or "gloating" or making nasty "insinuations" if I write about a good one.  If more people listened with non-judgmental ears and responded with non-judgmental keystrokes, I'd probably be a lot more active in this forum.

 

I have to say in all fairness, however, that I'm impressed with the direction that this thread has taken and the overall civil and insightful dialogue that is ensuing here.....


I'm not going to go back through old threads and post examples, but I have seen women here directly challenged when they've stated they needed a cesarean. I've seen it said here that there is nothing natural about a hospital birth.  I could go on, but there is proof in the archives here that the things DoubleDouble brought up are not all just her perceptions or projections.  Maybe things have changed recently, but there were some very outspoken members when I was here last.  Given how long you've been a member, I'm surprised you never saw any of that. 

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#102 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 09:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by saritap View Post

You have to imagine telling your child their birth story.  There they are, sitting wide eyed, staring off into the distance.  You don't want to be saying "and then your heart rate DROPPED, and we were so SCARED, and they raced us to the EMERGENCY".  These stories break your heart over and over again, each time you tell them.  And what a thing to give to your child!  "I almost died.  I almost died.  I almost died". 

 

Tell a different story!  "And after we had been at the hospital awhile, the doctor, who your mommy liked and trusted, decided she would help you come out!  We were so happy to see your sweet face!".  You feel better telling the story that way.  Your child feels wonderful hearing that kind of story. 

 

Every baby was born however they were born.  We can't change that.  But a birth story is POWERFUL.  A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily.  You can find those details, whether it was just "and daddy held my hand and I was so glad to know he was there".  Even if you had a true, life-threatening emergency, you can find those details and then tell JUST those details, spin it however you need to.  The more you tell your "version" of the story, the more you feel it inside you.  I promise, not because I am making it up, but because I do it every night when I tell my daughter her story, and the story of her brother's birth.  She doesn't need to hear about fear and blood, just calm and gentle, warm and safe. 


Wow... I don't know if I am misreading here... but it sounds like you are suggesting women ignore/hide/reprogram themselves to erase the birth trauma they feel they experienced!! The more they repeat the "good" version the more it becomes true!!! Would you ever say that in any other circumstance - like to a woman who had some other major life trauma - like divorce, abuse, accident, loss, etc. ?? And even not in cases of "trauma" but just disappointment/difficult recovery... women aren't allowed to be anything but "stepford" birthers?

 

This really gives a free pass to any hcp to do what they want and mom needs to deal with it and suppress her upset afterwards! I'm not only talking dr, nurses here, but mws, family too. 

 

Good thing I mostly up/uc'ed, I only have myself to blame. I have a pretty gruesome/profanity laden birth story I wrote a week post partum... I would never tell that version to my kid... well maybe when she was a teen or adult I will! While she's small she can hear the simplified version. I highly doubt the moms around here upset with their birth experiences are unloading that onto their 4 yos!

 

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I'm not going to go back through old threads and post examples, but I have seen women here directly challenged when they've stated they needed a cesarean. I've seen it said here that there is nothing natural about a hospital birth.  I could go on, but there is proof in the archives here that the things DoubleDouble brought up are not all just her perceptions or projections.  Maybe things have changed recently, but there were some very outspoken members when I was here last.  Given how long you've been a member, I'm surprised you never saw any of that. 

I have seen that too abby, and I have also seen a lot of women come here and ask - was my c/sec necessary? I've also seen a lot of women say - back when i didn't know better... this time i will do x,y, z different... and a lot of talk about how to try to avoid c/sec. I have seen a lot of women go into explanation of their first c/sec when asking about chances for vbac, etc.

 

There is kinda a blurry line which easily gets lost around here when talking about c/sec, bfing, etc. On mdc, in general, c/sec is thought by most to be best avoided, and bfing to be encouraged. Some women will always need c/secs and some can never breastfeed. A lot of women didn't need c/secs and could've breastfeed - but got failed by someone along the medical line. Not everything we talk about when trying to avoid c/sec or encourage bfing is meant to be a personal attack/judgement on a mom who needed c/sec or couldn't bf. I know there are sometimes offensive things, but in general, I don't think that is the overall intention. And anyway, it seems like things have so changed around here - to the point of same judgement opposite angle...

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#103 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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Wow... I don't know if I am misreading here... but it sounds like you are suggesting women ignore/hide/reprogram themselves to ignore the birth trauma they feel they experienced!! The more they repeat the "good" version the more it becomes true!!! Would you ever say that in any other circumstance - like to a woman who had some other major life trauma - like divorce, abuse, accident, loss, etc. ?? And even not in cases of "trauma" but just disappointment/difficult recovery... women aren't allowed to be anything but "stepford" birthers?

 

This really gives a free pass to any hcp to do what they want and mom needs to deal with it and suppress her upset afterwards! I'm not only talking dr, nurses here, but mws, family too. 

 

Good thing I mostly up/uc'ed, I only have myself to blame. I have a pretty gruesome/profanity laden birth story I wrote a week post partum... I would never tell that version to my kid... well maybe when she was a teen or adult I will! While she's small she can hear the simplified version. I highly doubt the moms around here upset with their birth experiences are unloading that onto their 4 yos!

 

It's so interesting how things can be interpreted so differently.  I got something completely different from that post. My daughter has started asking more and more about her birth lately, and it has been so helpful for me to share it with her.  It's not a matter of ignoring anything, just focusing on the positive which has been a tremendous comfort to me.  

 

 

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I have seen that too abby, and I have also seen a lot of women come here and ask - was my c/sec necessary? I've also seen a lot of women say - back when i didn't know better... this time i will do x,y, z different... and a lot of talk about how to try to avoid c/sec. I have seen a lot of women go into explanation of their first c/sec when asking about chances for vbac, etc.

 

There is kinda a blurry line which easily gets lost around here when talking about c/sec, bfing, etc. On mdc, in general, c/sec is thought by most to be best avoided, and bfing to be encouraged. Some women will always need c/secs and some can never breastfeed. A lot of women didn't need c/secs and could've breastfeed - but got failed by someone along the medical line. Not everything we talk about when trying to avoid c/sec or encourage bfing is meant to be a personal attack/judgement on a mom who needed c/sec or couldn't bf. I know there are sometimes offensive things, but in general, I don't think that is the overall intention. And anyway, it seems like things have so changed around here - to the point of same judgement opposite angle...

 

I agree that simply talking about avoiding c-sections or encouraging breastfeeding or whatever is not necessarily an attack on anyone.  But there has been explicit judgment.  

 

As far as things swinging the other direction, I think there is just more diversity in opinions now in no small part due to the changes here in moderation and the user agreement.  There does seem to be a backlash to some extent. I think there's some healing to be done, and I think some are still playing with their newfound freedoms.  Maybe things will even out after awhile though.  

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#104 of 178 Old 03-06-2012, 09:46 AM
 
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As far as things swinging the other direction, I think there is just more diversity in opinions now in no small part due to the changes here in moderation and the user agreement.  There does seem to be a backlash to some extent. I think there's some healing to be done, and I think some are still playing with their newfound freedoms.  Maybe things will even out after awhile though.  

 

I suppose/hope it will even out. I am sick of seeing this "anti-crunchy" backlash around here, and trollish things going on in uc/vax/traditional foods/schooling boards. I know the "over" crunchiness upset a lot of people in the past too, and now it's the reverse so it seems. I used to lurk a lot before my daughter was born, stopped reading when she was small, and just started posting now. Some of my favorite, very knowledgable posters (who I don't remember being offensive/judgey) are gone. Maybe it was just their time to move on and not related to other issues around here.? who knows.

 

Slightly ot, but not really... Abby, I saw your thread about book suggestions... and I have to say I HATED "Birthing From Within." I couldn't even finish it. I read Laura Shanley's uc book, and that was the most blatant example I saw of - "what your beliefs are = the outcome." I thought her story was interesting but don't buy that line of thought. Sure I think if you go into something with a bad attitude, it is probably not going to go as well as it could. That line of thinking has recently been popular with things like "The Secret" too, right? Maybe that also influenced women to think they could believe in "perfect births"? And I guess the whole natural/home birth movement already has so much adversity to face, they don't really like to talk about some of the hard realities? 

I also have an issue with the phrase "trust birth." I understand what it was going for... but it is obviously too simple and misleads a lot of women. I think it was mostly in response to medical treatment of pregnancy/birth being a pathology and female body being inherently flawed.
 

I really hope things can get evened out/developed for the better.

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You have to imagine telling your child their birth story.  There they are, sitting wide eyed, staring off into the distance.  You don't want to be saying "and then your heart rate DROPPED, and we were so SCARED, and they raced us to the EMERGENCY".  These stories break your heart over and over again, each time you tell them.  And what a thing to give to your child!  "I almost died.  I almost died.  I almost died". 

 

Tell a different story!  "And after we had been at the hospital awhile, the doctor, who your mommy liked and trusted, decided she would help you come out!  We were so happy to see your sweet face!".  You feel better telling the story that way.  Your child feels wonderful hearing that kind of story. 

 

Every baby was born however they were born.  We can't change that.  But a birth story is POWERFUL.  A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily.  You can find those details, whether it was just "and daddy held my hand and I was so glad to know he was there".  Even if you had a true, life-threatening emergency, you can find those details and then tell JUST those details, spin it however you need to.  The more you tell your "version" of the story, the more you feel it inside you.  I promise, not because I am making it up, but because I do it every night when I tell my daughter her story, and the story of her brother's birth.  She doesn't need to hear about fear and blood, just calm and gentle, warm and safe. 

 

I trust my mother more than anyone else in the world, except dh. The reason? Because, I know that she would never make up such nauseating pap in an attempt to spare me from reality. Her birth stories are her stories, and they're not fiction. She doesn't lie to me to make me believe we live in a world of prancing unicorns and sparkly rainbows, and I wouldn't trust her if she did.

 

And, I won't tell any such story to my children, either, because that's not even remotely what happened - not even once. I don't go into details about exactly what went down, because I don't see any reason to do so. But, I'm not going to make up some bs story about "the doctor, who mommy liked and trusted, decided blah blah blah", because it's not true. The doctors who made the call for my c-sections were not people I liked, and they definitely weren't people I trusted.

 

And, I do tell my version....not your version...mine.
 

ETA: I also don't feel better telling the story that way. I tried ti (internally) for a long time. It made me feel like crap, because it's just not true. Sure - it was great to see my baby's faces, but I wasn't happy. I wasn't even close to happy. And, when I first saw ds1, I was so drugged up (with medications I'd never consented to, but that's standard hospital practice, and the only ones who ever see an issue with it are people who are given stuff they don't want) that I didn't even know I'd had a baby. I had no idea where I was, or what I was doing there, or why I was in so much pain...and can't even imagine how bad the pain must have been, honestly, because that was through a  hardcore morphine haze. He was perfect, and I fell in love as soon as they put him down beside me...but I wasn't happy.

 


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@saritap:

 

A birth story is powerful, you are right. But I think it only retains its power if it is honest. And I wonder if you are conflating honesty with stark, gritty realism. I doubt most moms on here are telling their toddlers about things like pools of blood and near-death. That's the down and dirty realism part that you don't have to share with your kiddo. At least, not when they're wee. But you can still be totally honest, even if you don't go into those exact details.

 

When I had my son, I wrote a version that was as gritty and detailed as I needed it to be. It was for me. In his baby journal, I wrote a version for him. But I will say that both were very truthful. I didn't include things in his such as "I felt like a failure," or "I was afraid that I wouldn't survive this" or "and your heart rate dropped and everyone freaked the **** out."

 

But I did write the truth. That we tried to birth at home for days, and he was stuck, and we didn't know. And finally, we went to the hospital, because mommy was tired and because the midwife had no more tricks up her sleeve, so to speak. We found out that he couldn't come to us. Instead, he needed us to go pick him up. And he told us this by his heartbeats getting quiet, which worried us. And we knew it meant that he needed us to come get him as soon as possible so he could be safe. So we listened to him and did exactly what he needed. We went and got him. Mommy went into an OR and let the doctor make hole in her, and the doctor pulled him out. Everyone was very worried about him and about mommy in the waiting room, and when he was born, a mighty shout went up and our midwives and doula were crying tears of joy because there was so much love for him and because we were so relieved to finally be meeting him.

 

I hope that from this story, my son learns that life does not always go to plan, and that sometimes, you have to make room for what is, especially if it contradicts what you wanted (something i'm still working on). I also hope he learns that his parents hear him, and respond quickly and to the best of their ability when his safety is in question.

 

That, to me, is the power of telling the birth story to my son honestly and calmly.


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I guess it was the way saritap worded things. as a directive rather than a personal anecdote, that rubbed people the wrong way.  I think she was just trying to offer up something that helped her and apparently felt pretty strongly about it since it's the first and only thing she's posted in six and half years. I'm pretty sure she didn't mean to tell your children her story or to imply anyone was telling their children horror stories or to flat out lie to your children or to tell anyone to stuff feelings of complete and total betrayal of medical staff or to give health care providers a free pass. I think she was just suggesting that one can change the way they feel about an event by reshaping how they look at it and by letting go of certain feelings. It can be very empowering and liberating for some people. And this can be done for all kinds of disappointment and trauma.  Maybe I'm projecting though. wink1.gif I just think it would be nice if intentions were taken into consideration.  I think it's kind of sad when people share honest feelings with the intention of helping only to be met with hostility and ridicule.  I'm not saying people can't be questioned or corrected, but I don't see the need to belittle.  

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Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

I guess it was the way saritap worded things. as a directive rather than a personal anecdote, that rubbed people the wrong way.  I think she was just trying to offer up something that helped her and apparently felt pretty strongly about it since it's the first and only thing she's posted in six and half years. I'm pretty sure she didn't mean to tell your children her story or to imply anyone was telling their children horror stories or to flat out lie to your children or to tell anyone to stuff feelings of complete and total betrayal of medical staff or to give health care providers a free pass. I think she was just suggesting that one can change the way they feel about an event by reshaping how they look at it and by letting go of certain feelings. It can be very empowering and liberating for some people. And this can be done for all kinds of disappointment and trauma.  Maybe I'm projecting though. wink1.gif I just think it would be nice if intentions were taken into consideration.  I think it's kind of sad when people share honest feelings with the intention of helping only to be met with hostility and ridicule.  I'm not saying people can't be questioned or corrected, but I don't see the need to belittle.  


Probably this is what happens a lot too, when posters are perceived as being judgey about c/sec or lack of bfing, etc. Sometimes?

 

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I guess it was the way saritap worded things. as a directive rather than a personal anecdote, that rubbed people the wrong way.  I think she was just trying to offer up something that helped her and apparently felt pretty strongly about it since it's the first and only thing she's posted in six and half years. I'm pretty sure she didn't mean to tell your children her story or to imply anyone was telling their children horror stories or to flat out lie to your children or to tell anyone to stuff feelings of complete and total betrayal of medical staff or to give health care providers a free pass. I think she was just suggesting that one can change the way they feel about an event by reshaping how they look at it and by letting go of certain feelings. It can be very empowering and liberating for some people. And this can be done for all kinds of disappointment and trauma.  Maybe I'm projecting though. wink1.gif I just think it would be nice if intentions were taken into consideration.  I think it's kind of sad when people share honest feelings with the intention of helping only to be met with hostility and ridicule.  I'm not saying people can't be questioned or corrected, but I don't see the need to belittle.  


Yes. I think it was partially that. It was also the sentiment underlying it:
 

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You have to imagine telling your child their birth story.  There they are, sitting wide eyed, staring off into the distance.  You don't want to be saying "and then your heart rate DROPPED, and we were so SCARED, and they raced us to the EMERGENCY".  These stories break your heart over and over again, each time you tell them.  And what a thing to give to your child!  "I almost died.  I almost died.  I almost died". 

 

Tell a different story!  "And after we had been at the hospital awhile, the doctor, who your mommy liked and trusted, decided she would help you come out!  We were so happy to see your sweet face!".  You feel better telling the story that way.  Your child feels wonderful hearing that kind of story. 

 

Every baby was born however they were born.  We can't change that.  But a birth story is POWERFUL.  , A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily.  You can find those details, whether it was just "and daddy held my hand and I was so glad to know he was there".  Even if you had a true, life-threatening emergency, you can find those details and then tell JUST those details, spin it however you need to.  The more you tell your "version" of the story, the more you feel it inside you.  I promise, not because I am making it up, but because I do it every night when I tell my daughter her story, and the story of her brother's birth.  She doesn't need to hear about fear and blood, just calm and gentlearm and safe. 


There are underlying assumptions all over the place in this post. Firstly, I don't tell my children their birth stories every night, and I can't imagine why I would. But, if I did, it would be my birth story, not what saritap bizarrely refers to as "my version" (ie. what a woman on the internet has decided is the way it should be told). My child doesn't need to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly and happily, when that means I'm stuffing trauma and trying to put on a happy face that doesn't exist. They weren't brought into the world that way, not even close.

 

I never felt wonderful about the way I was born, and my mom never once talked about fear, blood (there wasn't any, in a scary sense, anyway - I was a planned repeat c-section) or her issues around her birth. But, I knew what scars meant, as I'd seen injuries in other people, and had a few minor ones of my own. And, if my mother had tried to spin my birth into some "calm, sweet, happy" event, I'd have known she was lying, because scars all the way down a woman's abdomen don't say "calm, sweet and happy" to a child. They just don't. And, you know...my older kids have watched me go through the painful recoveries from my later c-sections, so any "calm, sweet, happy" story would be an obvious lie. I don't think I'd have ever forgiven my mother for lying to me about something so profound, and I'm pretty sure dd1 would never forgive me if I did that (The others? maybe - but dd1 has a similar temperament to me in some ways).

 

And, Abby - I honestly have no idea how anybody could read her post and not think she was implying that other women tell their children horror stories. Her entire post pretty much boils down to "you can't tell them the fear and blood horror story, so spin a fairy tale". And, if birth stories are so important, and we're to tell JUST "those details", then ds1's birth story, as he'd have heard it would have been "I laboured at home for about a day, then went to the hospital to get checked out, and then they put you on the stretcher beside me and I fell in love". I'm pretty sure that even a child would figure out, pretty quckly, that I was skipping an awful lot. But, there are no details in between that I'm okay with, and there's nothing in there to tell ds1 if I want to create a fairytale of "you came into the world calmly, sweetly and happily".

 

Her post was all about lying to kids, because she says, in so many words, "A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily." Therefore, she's saying that, if a mother didn't have a calm, sweet, happy birth, she needs to lie to her children.

 

I get that we all have different perspectives, but I honestly don't see how anybody can see this post as anything but an advisory to lie to our children if we didn't have good births. That's exactly what it is. And, the way she presented the options as either "tell them the horror story, complete with blood and fear" or "we were so happy - you had a calm, sweet, happy birth" makes my head hurt. With one exception, when my son didn't live, I didn't have a single "birth" that fell into either of these categories (lots of fear with all of them, but no life threatening emergencies - not even close).


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You have to imagine telling your child their birth story.  There they are, sitting wide eyed, staring off into the distance.  You don't want to be saying "and then your heart rate DROPPED, and we were so SCARED, and they raced us to the EMERGENCY".  These stories break your heart over and over again, each time you tell them.  And what a thing to give to your child!  "I almost died.  I almost died.  I almost died". 

 

Tell a different story!  "And after we had been at the hospital awhile, the doctor, who your mommy liked and trusted, decided she would help you come out!  We were so happy to see your sweet face!".  You feel better telling the story that way.  Your child feels wonderful hearing that kind of story. 

 

Every baby was born however they were born.  We can't change that.  But a birth story is POWERFUL.  A child needs to hear that they were brought into this world calmly, sweetly, happily.  You can find those details, whether it was just "and daddy held my hand and I was so glad to know he was there".  Even if you had a true, life-threatening emergency, you can find those details and then tell JUST those details, spin it however you need to.  The more you tell your "version" of the story, the more you feel it inside you.  I promise, not because I am making it up, but because I do it every night when I tell my daughter her story, and the story of her brother's birth.  She doesn't need to hear about fear and blood, just calm and gentle, warm and safe. 

 

To me this is about reframing the way one looks at her birth experience by looking at it through the eyes of her child to help herself as much as for the benefit of her child. I think people here have admitted they don't tell the ugly details which is sort of the point. It wasn't until my daughter starting asking about her birth recently that I realized how powerful this could be. It obviously won't work for everyone, but that's okay. Different things work for different people. It's helped me tremendously to come to terms with some things. That doesn't mean I'm lying to my child or living in a fantasy world.  And honestly, even if it does, I don't give a shit.  It's much better on this side of things. 

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To me this is about reframing the way one looks at her birth experience by looking at it through the eyes of her child to help herself as much as for the benefit of her child. I think people here have admitted they don't tell the ugly details which is sort of the point.

 


It wasn't until my daughter starting asking about her birth recently that I realized how powerful this could be. It obviously won't work for everyone, but that's okay. Different things work for different people. It's helped me tremendously to come to terms with some things. That doesn't mean I'm lying to my child or living in a fantasy world.  And honestly, even if it does, I don't give a shit.  It's much better on this side of things. 

 

I just posted a long reply. I'm deleting it, because this thread is getting too heated. Suffice it to say, I disagree with saritap about pretty much everything she said, as well as finding her tone extremely off putting. And, I've spent a great deal of time working on reframing my "births" in various ways. But, all the reframing in the world isn't going to make them "calm", "sweet", or "happy".


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StormBride, if it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you. I don't think saritap had you specifically in mind when she posted.  She posted something that worked for her most likely with the intent to help others.  Maybe she was too excited about it the same way some people are when they post all giddy about breastfeeding or babywearing or whatever...hey everyone should try this, it's awesome!  I get being put off by that but not to the point of inciting such contempt.  I'm off to go play with my prancing unicorns now.    

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StormBride, if it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you. I don't think saritap had you specifically in mind when she posted.  She posted something that worked for her most likely with the intent to help others.  Maybe she was too excited about it the same way some people are when they post all giddy about breastfeeding or babywearing or whatever...hey everyone should try this, it's awesome!  I get being put off by that but not to the point of inciting such contempt.  I'm off to go play with my prancing unicorns now.    

 

 

Gah...never mind. I deleted another one. Saritap's post was awfully full of "you" and "have to" and "need" for it to be about what works for her, but to each their own. For some reason, you really see her post as something kindly meant and I simply don't.

 

FWIW...I never thought or felt it was aimed at me, specifically. It wasn't aimed at anyone specifically. It was a blanket law about what children need, and what moms "have to" do. If I'd thought it was aimed at me specifically, it wouldn't have bothered me at all.


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I felt myself getting drawn into the warm fuzzy of it... but then it just felt so.... dismissive.  Didn't sit right. 


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I'm one of the mamas who posted about getting the "perfect" birth and it not being just "luck." My first birth was anything but easy. I did end up transferring to a hospital from a home birth for a legal rather than a medical reason. The transfer led to interventions that led eventually to a c/s, after 37 hours of labor with contractions no further apart than 5 min from the start.

 

So I did some things differently for my HBAC 15 months later. Some of those things helped to make a difference. Things like taking high doses of vit c from 20 weeks to strengthen was amniotic sac because my previous labor started with rupture of membranes. Being more focused on proteins in later pregnancy so I didn't have the same issues of protein in my urine at the end. The biggest one though was learning how to deliberately relax internal pelvic muscles so the baby didn't get stuck. Those things are NOT just down to luck. For ME they made a difference. I was able to birth a bigger baby with a nucal arm with only 20 min of pushing. Some of it was out of my control, but not all of it. I call it a perfect birth because it was perfect for ME. It was intense. It was painful. DH says our bedroom looked like an animal had been slaughtered in there. But it was intimate. It was as relaxed as a painful experience can be. It was timeless (I couldn't have told you how long anything took and only know because of being told how long things took.) It was the birth that I needed after the experiences of the past. It restored my confidence in my ability to birth my own children.

 

I still have some issues I'm processing from the birth of my oldest son, and from the way our miscarriage before him was handled, but the birth of my second son was a perfect as I could ever imagine birth to be.

 

When I first started reading this thread I thought it was about the perfect birth being a myth. To me it isn't as I had one that was perfect to me. The myth aspect I guess depends on how you define a perfect birth. It seems most don't get what they would have defined perfect to be, so to them it appears to be a myth.

 

If my sons ever ask about how they were born I will tell them. They won't get the blood and gore parts (unless they're adults by then) but I will share how DS1 took a long time and eventually the doctors cut him out and did lots of tests to check that he was healthy. I will share that DS2 had his hand up at his face and still came out quickly. Mostly I will share with both of them how excited we were to finally meet them and to find out they were a boy, as that doesn't change no matter how they came out.

 

There does seem to be a lot of women still hurting from how they birthed. For those who are still processing, no matter how long it takes, my heart feels for you. I still hurt from DS1's birth maybe even more so after DS2's birth. I do hope that complete healing will come in the right time. I also hope that we can all somehow accept our differences with open hearts instead of feeling judged and needing to defend ourselves. We are all trying to be the best mothers we can, and make the birth choices we do because we love our children and want what is best for them. That is what I thought MDC is all about.


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#116 of 178 Old 03-08-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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When I first started reading this thread I thought it was about the perfect birth being a myth. To me it isn't as I had one that was perfect to me. The myth aspect I guess depends on how you define a perfect birth. It seems most don't get what they would have defined perfect to be, so to them it appears to be a myth.



Just as we all may have differing ideas of what the "perfect birth" looks like, our sense of what makes up the "myth" probably varies as well.

 

I would say that there are perfect births, perhaps lots of perfect births. Your example is just one of many. To me, the myth is that a perfect birth is the guaranteed result of a perfect preparation. It's the sense of "guarantee" that to me just feels fundamentally wrong. Nothing is guaranteed. But I would never say that because preparation isn't a guarantee, we shouldn't do it, nor do I believe that luck is always the greatest determiner of our birth outcome. I would just say that there are things in birth we can control, and other things we can't control. We should do our best with the things that we can control. I also believe that our circumstances vary...not every woman has control over the same variables. And the things that we can't control aren't necessarily bad...sometimes they work in our favor. It just depends.

 

It takes a lot of compassion & wisdom to have this conversation because all of us can be mistaken about where we have control and where we don't. And so we can mis-judge our own situation, let alone someone else's.

 

 


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To me, the myth is that a perfect birth is the guaranteed result of a perfect preparation.

YES. This is what I also think of when I read the phrase "myth of the perfect birth." I believed in this "myth" and did not have a perfect birth, despite my deep desire for it and incredibly detailed, dedicated preparation. I think that believing that if I just did X, I would get Y made it incredibly hard for me to process my birth. Because I thought making it perfect was entirely within my control, when it didn't go perfectly, I felt like I was the one to blame. 

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 To me, the myth is that a perfect birth is the guaranteed result of a perfect preparation.


What is making women believe this? certain childbirth education classes/techniques, certain books, mws, doula, peers, mdc, other websites, "trust birth" rhetoric? Other cultural issues?

 

I'm a bit ignorant here - I've been living outside US since before pregnancy, in one of the 80%+ c/s countries, I don't know anyone here who has had a hb, and only a few who have vaginal birth, most of my friends in the US are childless. I did not do any prep classes and met with some mw/doulas/childbirth educators but did not end up using them as resources. I read and saw a lot of info about preparation increasing chances of success, but I was always aware of complications/problems, I guess because I uc'ed and knew that responsibility was all mine (to know when there was a problem I would need to get help for).

 

The only book I read that was firmly "your beliefs = outcome" was Laura Shanley's UC book. 

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#119 of 178 Old 03-09-2012, 08:41 AM
 
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*****

I want to respond here but before I do, I want to make a caveat. What I'm about to write is totally my own experience. It includes not only messages I got from the childbirth method I myself selected but my subjective interpretations of those messages. I don't think all women react this way, nor do I think all women choose childbirth methods like the one I chose. So this isn't meant to speak for anyone else's experience. This is just me saying what I personally lived through.

*****

 

For me, it was just some of the language floating around. I heard over and over "trust your body to birth, it is made to birth, it knows how." I realize that's way short of saying "you can will a perfect birth." And part of the issue was the way I chose to interpret statements like that. But when I had to have a c-section, I thought, 'My body is somehow imperfect and yucky and less than fully feminine. It didn't work the way it was supposed to. What's wrong with me?!'

 

The childbirth educaiton method I chose was also very laced with this language. It was hypnosis-based, and promised a pain-free birth for most mamas who use it. I was on an email list for people using this method, and when a mother would post a less than ideal birth story that included pain in childbirth, she had to post a warning in the subject line. Why? Because moms who were "in training" weren't supposed to read any birth stories that featured negative things like pain or interventions because it could cause their hypnosis training to not work, and could cause them to have something less than a perfect birth. In the literature with this method, it even discussed how you as a pregnant mom should put up your hand and say "STOP" when someone was telling a birth story that involved pain or a c-section or other interventions. You were to block out all this information because the idea was that believing childbirth could be painful or difficult would cause it to be so. It was called the fear-pain cycle. The method claimed that most women experience pain in childbirth because they expect it to hurt, because our society says it will be painful and difficult. If a woman can free herself from this idea, childbirth is easy and painless.

 

When women would post stories of how their hypnosis "failed" them, the manager of the email list would frequently say it was because they didn't listen to their cds often enough, or they had unresolved subconscious issues, or they didn't do X or Y. It sort of felt like her responses were there to preserve the power of the all-mighty method by sort of playing blame-game with these women. I emailed this woman and said that I had done everything I was supposed to do and STILL had a c-section, and I was asked if I had considered that there is a mind-body connection, and that perhaps I had subconscious fears about childbirth that led to my baby being unable to make the final turn to a transverse instead of posterior position.

 

Which I translated, in my head, to be, 'Your baby being OP was your fault.' Kind of like in Peter Pan when Peter asks the audience to clap hard and believe hard enough and Tinkerbell will come back to life. If Tink doesn't revive, well, it really seems like it's your fault for not sprinkling enough pixie dust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"The Mothers are the brave ones." - Call the Midwife

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#120 of 178 Old 03-09-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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****Imagine that I put the same disclaimer as Partaria...this is just MY experience, etc.*****

 

I got my birth information from a variety of sources, some of them crunchier than others, but there were some definite themes that stuck in my mind:

 

Yes, complications in birth happen, but these are caused by underlying medical conditions and/or unnecessary medical interventions that interfere with natural birth. If you are healthy and you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, there is no reason that you can't have a natural birth, as long as you are careful to choose the right care provider (or no care provider), the right setting, and the right birth attitude that will let your body do what it's designed to do.

 

It wasn't that I didn't hear about complications that could arise in labor. It's that the sources I read had an answer for everything. Failure to progress? That should be called "failure to wait." It's caused by OBs who don't want to be late to their golf game. Stalled labor? Wouldn't happen if women were just given the freedom to move as they wished, unhampered by fetal monitors, IVs, etc. Fetal heart decelerations? Avoid pitocin.  Malpositioned baby? Prenatal yoga takes care of that. Maternal exhaustion? Eat and drink during labor, and sleep when you need it. Problem solved. For everything else, the presence of a good doula and/or midwife is key.

 

As for the whole thing about pain, I was always skeptical that natural birth meant painless birth. But I did buy into the idea that there is a spiritual/mental component to pain and that we can choose the amount of pain and suffering that we feel. By being prepared for pain, and having a variety of tools for coping with it, I would be able to accept it and it wouldn't interfere with my ability to make good choices for the best possible birth.

 

I take full responsibility for embracing these ideas and thinking that they would protect me from birth trauma. And I was just wrong, wrong, wrong. Maybe the ideas aren't bad; maybe they just didn't work for me. But I wish I'd had a different mental framework that would have helped me better understand what was going on during my labor as it was happening, and would have helped me find an easier path to healing when it was over. In short, I think prior to birth I had something of a "you get what you deserve" attitude about birth, and so when I experienced things like stalled labor, exhaustion, pain, and total confusion about how to make the best decisions to move forward, I felt like I had earned my difficult experience through shortcomings that were not just physical, but spiritual. It has been a long, slow road to greater compassion for myself.

 

I just want to say, that I know some of you will read my perspective and think that I am a horrible naysayer and natural birth enemy. So I just want to add that I don't wish to undermine the natural birth approach, I just wish for more humility and compassion in the world, which I believe would be healing for everyone.

 


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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