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Discussion Starter #1
I had my first child 10 years ago and thought I knew a lot about pregnancy and birth. Having just had my 4th baby and first homebirth, obviously, I'd learned so much more.<br><br>
When can we start educating our kids about how birth looks in normal circumstances? Now I will say educating girls seems to be my focus because, while dad's are just as important, I think a girl probably puts a lot of thought into this because it will be her body, she's already thinking about menstruation, and she will be deciding whether she's like to become a mother some day.<br><br>
In my high school health class, we saw two birth videos. One: traditional hospital, one: a birth center. When asked why they were different, the teacher said they wanted to scare you with the hospital video. The birth center woman pushed and delivered on her side. Someone asked her why and she said the "doctor" was just trying to be fancy.<br><br>
The teacher had no children and I don't think she made any of those remarks against the birth center. I doubt she knew why or though much of it.<br><br>
I know we don't need full-on childbirth classes at school, but when and how do we educate our daughters. Obviously, much of that is done at home, but I think it would be great to get a positive childbirth and breastfeeding message out there earlier.<br><br>
I've met so many pregnant moms who seemed shocked by new info that no one ever told them but by then it's "too late" to do anything else.<br><br>
What can we do and when should it be done?
 

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Well, my kids (5 girls) have already been exposed to normal birth and I plan to keep channels of communication open as they mature. By the time a girl starts menstruating she should definitely know the basic mechanics and physiology of pregnancy and childbirth and that's probably also a good time to start mentioning all the various options she'll have when/if she decides to have a baby.<br><br>
I think some people are inclined to make teens terrified to give birth as a way to try to prevent teen pregnancy, but I...disagree with this approach. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I don't think that it's ever too young to start. My 2.5 year old is already learning about pregnancy and childbirth.<br><br>
She really enjoyed watching and talking about the Orgasmic Birth dvd. I'll probably let her watch it again before sending it back to net flix.<br><br>
William and Martha Sears also have two children's books about pregnancy/childbirth and caring for a newborn that present pregnancy and birth in a very natural, non-scary manner and that are heavily slanted toward breastfeeding (the word "formula" never appears). Both of these books are very factual and educational but contain a really basic level of information appropriate for toddlers. (An older child with a longer attention span would probably benefit from a more detailed source.)
 

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I am starting mine out as soon as they can understand and talk. They attend siblings' births, and we make it a point to discuss it routinely while explaining things as they can understand them. I think most of my Olders could deliver babies themselves if they had to, by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree so much with all of you. I would say, however, that I'm wondering about a mainstream approach. Is there a way to teach many young women about this, even in school? Not every kid has a great mom to model this stuff. Maybe she didn't know either.
 

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IDK. But, I really wish there had been someone there to teach me when I was growing up. All I knew about babies was that Mom's went to the hospital and came home with them. I did not even learn about how to get pg until a couple of years before I was married. My parents were not "ultra conservative" or anything, just unconcerned with my education in that area.
 

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Mine are almost 6 and 3.5 and they've been watching normal birth videos their whole lives. They know where babies come out and my older one has the general idea of how they get in there too. She just figured it out by herself last year sometime. We'll be reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility together before they turn 12, so that they have all the info before their periods start (I was 12 - so I'm betting on them being about 12 too).
 

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I think children should learn honest information about birth as soon as they show an interest; however, I don't think I want a ton of childbirth education happening in public schools, because I think the focus will be on "Get a doctor, do everything the doctor says, go to the hospital when your water breaks, and then most importantly remember to do everything the doctor says if you want a healthy baby." I think that the sort of embarassed, minimalist birth education kids get now is better than a longer course of that kind of instruction. I have zero confidence that more birth education = decent birth education.<br><br>
Where I would like to see a LOT more birth information is in any women's/gender studies program. I took a few women's studies classes and this issue was completely overlooked. I presume the reason for that is some lingering feminist anti-mother nonsense or something like that, but it needs to change. Feminism has evolved and any gender studies program needs to incorprate a good unit on the history of childbirth and current issues in birthing. The way women are often (disrespectfully) treated during labor is so directly and profoundly tied to existing misogyny and the long-enduring history of the treatment of female patients in the medical system that it is absolutely a key issue that should be covered. Yet it is usually totally overlooked.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Romana</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15402201"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The way women are often (disrespectfully) treated during labor is so directly and profoundly tied to existing misogyny and the long-enduring history of the treatment of female patients in the medical system that it is absolutely a key issue that should be covered. Yet it is usually totally overlooked.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">
 

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Can I offer a dissenting voice? I don't think kids really need to learn about birth formally until they become people who are looking to become pregnant. I think children should ALWAYS receive honest answers to questions about their bodies and about the birthing process, if they show an interest and ask those questions. But I don't think we need to start telling kids either way about how to birth.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SeattleRain</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15402557"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can I offer a dissenting voice? I don't think kids really need to learn about birth formally until they become people who are looking to become pregnant.</div>
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Two of ds1's classmates are having a baby in a month or so. They weren't "looking to become pregnant", and I have no idea what they do or don't know about childbirth. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they've learned more from ds1 than from the other sources of information in their lives.
 

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It seems useful to distinguish between formal & informal education. Obviously there's a lot of informal education happening in every kid's life. Those lucky enough to grow up in families where NCB is deeply integrated into the whole family lifestyle, who see siblings being born at home at that sort of thing, I believe have a distinct advantage when it comes time to make their own birthing choices.<br><br>
But I think what OP is asking about is those who aren't so lucky. Is there a formal education process that could reach those kids? I tend to agree with PPs that trusting the formal education process to mainstream schools, etc is not the route to go.<br><br>
So then, what are the options? I don't think it's realistic to think that there's some widespread, mainstream way to get most kids to be present for a homebirth. I don't know if watching videos or reading about it is really the same thing at all, but maybe it's a start.<br><br>
This is something I think about a lot, actually, given my own birthing experience (not ideal) and my hope that DD will have more options than I did.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Romana</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15402201"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think children should learn honest information about birth as soon as they show an interest; however, I don't think I want a ton of childbirth education happening in public schools, because I think the focus will be on "Get a doctor, do everything the doctor says, go to the hospital when your water breaks, and then most importantly remember to do everything the doctor says if you want a healthy baby." I think that the sort of embarassed, minimalist birth education kids get now is better than a longer course of that kind of instruction. I have zero confidence that more birth education = decent birth education.<br><br>
Where I would like to see a LOT more birth information is in any women's/gender studies program. I took a few women's studies classes and this issue was completely overlooked. I presume the reason for that is some lingering feminist anti-mother nonsense or something like that, but it needs to change. Feminism has evolved and any gender studies program needs to incorprate a good unit on the history of childbirth and current issues in birthing. The way women are often (disrespectfully) treated during labor is so directly and profoundly tied to existing misogyny and the long-enduring history of the treatment of female patients in the medical system that it is absolutely a key issue that should be covered. Yet it is usually totally overlooked.</div>
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ITA with this entire post.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Youngfrankenstein</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15397730"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it would be great to get a positive childbirth and breastfeeding message out there earlier.</div>
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I agree whole-heartedly! When PG, I actually didn't know a single person in real life who'd had (or wanted to have) a natural birth! I actually said, "OF COURSE I'll get the epidural! Why go through all that pain if you don't have to?!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hide"><br><br>
Thankfully I educated myself during the beginning of my 2nd trimester, switched to midwifery care, took Bradley training, etc. & did have a great birth. But if I hadn't picked up the book, "The Thinking Woman's Guide," Well, I just shudder to think. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold"><br><br>
I thought "Birth Story Day" would be a great event for young teens & maybe even highschoolers- have Moms come in & tell positive birth stories. I'd never heard of the concept that birth, yeah, while generally painful, can still a fabulous experience.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Veritaserum</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15399867"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think some people are inclined to make teens terrified to give birth as a way to try to prevent teen pregnancy, but I...disagree with this approach. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"></div>
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I agree, I do think some people intend it to be that way. I remember having the impression that the hospital birth video they showed in high school health class was for that purpose & I purposefully averted my eyes. That's a sick, twisted, & awful thing to do. Really sad, actually to think people would want to deliberately instill fear of childbirth in teen girls. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> That's just.so.wrong.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Romana</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15402201"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Where I would like to see a LOT more birth information is in any women's/gender studies program.</div>
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Ya know, I went to a women's college for 2-years & did take a women's studies course there. I remember a book about "Women & Sickness" or something - i remember learning that "hysterectomy" was performed to cure "hysteria" -> mental problems - probably signs of psychosis such as wanting an education & to vote, ya know? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"> But I don't remember anything about birth! I'll have to look at the book.<br><br>
But I agree - great idea AND I agree that more mainstream education probably would indoctrinate people further into the medical mindset. Which is why I like the idea of mamas like us who sought out a natural birth & had one sharing our <span style="text-decoration:underline;">positive</span> stories! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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