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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I told my parents we were expecting, I had to ask my mother to share her birth stories with me. It was only then that I realized what a bad mama-jama she was. I have three sisters, and my mother gave birth pain-medicine free with all of us. My younger sister was nearly a month overdue and they induced my mother with pitocin. Still, no pain meds. Why didn't I know this ahead of time? And why does my mother have no idea how she or her siblings were born?

I know this isn't a new question, but it just baffles me that birthing is like some weird dirty secret that we don't talk about as a society. It's an experience that lots of women will go through at some point in their life, yet we make no effort to teach our girls about it, other than a *maybe* a clinical one or two day discussion in health class.

I shared my frustration with my mother who responded that she just didn't think it was an appropriate thing to talk about. Just weird.
 

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I totally agree with you! It is weird and it leads to a lot of misinformation and fear in our society. I think it's a lot like breastfeeding. We rarely get the chance to watch the women in our lives breastfeed and we certainly don't watch them birth. As girls we grow into young women knowing virtually nothing about our menstrual cycles. It's all taboo. I don't get it. Of course, I'm a bit of a birth activist and lactavist now and I hope to instill in my children the beauty of all these things and to educate them so that the veil is lifted. That is really the best that we can do, well, that and share our stories with other women and proudly breastfeed in public. I have really tried to inspire many of my friends that they can birth naturally, that home birth is safe, that they can breastfeed, and that charting is amazing.

Ablemec, is this your first pregnancy?
 

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Hmmm....my mom would tell anyone who would stand still for 2 minutes ALL about her births. LOL The first was a horrific hospital birth, the next 3 all-natural and in the hospital, the 5th a homebirth. She also told everyone all about her breastfeeding experiences.

My great-aunt and grandma were knocked out for their births I think. At least I KNOW my great aunt was. Maybe that's why that generation doesn't talk about it much.
 

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It is weird that it's not talked about more.

I loved hearing my grandmother talk about how her youngest brother about how he was born breech and it wasn't a big deal, my grandmother was the 3rd girl and then 2 boys, she turned 70 last year. I also loved hearing how when she had my mom who is the oldest of 4 kids that she was like 3 weeks late.

It's neat hearing my mom talk about my birth even though it was traumatic in that i was born 3 months early, she was told at one point i might die. I stayed in the hospital for 6months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

I totally agree with you! It is weird and it leads to a lot of misinformation and fear in our society. I think it's a lot like breastfeeding. We rarely get the chance to watch the women in our lives breastfeed and we certainly don't watch them birth. As girls we grow into young women knowing virtually nothing about our menstrual cycles. It's all taboo. I don't get it. Of course, I'm a bit of a birth activist and lactavist now and I hope to instill in my children the beauty of all these things and to educate them so that the veil is lifted. That is really the best that we can do, well, that and share our stories with other women and proudly breastfeed in public. I have really tried to inspire many of my friends that they can birth naturally, that home birth is safe, that they can breastfeed, and that charting is amazing.

Ablemec, is this your first pregnancy?
Yes, this is my first pregnancy. And honestly the reason I'm proactively asking the mothers in my life about their experiences. I can't believe the thought didn't really occur to me before.

And regarding inspiring friends, a friend of mine really inspired me. I have this little problem where I over-research everything. I have to know everything about something or I just feel unsettled. So when DH and I were thinking about TTC, I started reading. And I largely made up my mind to try to go natural, but I was a bit intimidated by the whole idea. Not by the doctors, or the pain, but by the fact that I thought I was just not "that girl." I had this idea in my head of what a woman who labors naturally looks like: she wears long skirts and long hair, is a vegetarian and eats all organic, loves the outdoors and eats lots and lots of granola ;-). But then I found out that the wife of a close friend who just gave birth last November gave birth intervention-free, and she's quite a bit like me. And I've bothered the crap out of her ever since. She's always more than happy to discuss her birth with me, and it's really made me feel like I belong in this club too, if that makes sense.

So that's all my long-winded way of saying inspiring those around you is important!
 

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My mom did the all-natural thing as well, although I didn't really know it until I was pregnant. What really surprised me though, and also inspired me to check out the birth center near our house, was that she delivered me with a midwife in a hospital, had my sister in a birth center with midwives, and had my brother at a hospital with a family practice doctor (they moved a lot early on). I'm due the week of Thanksgiving (and my due dates are fairly accurate because I know when I ovulated and I have an early u/s because of a previous ectopic pregnancy, which usually confirms my EDD). I'm *really* hoping that my brother and his new wife (getting married next month!) are there and that I can convince her to come to the birth center with me. Actually, I'm hoping I can have both my sister and my new sister-in-law there. For as much as I can talk about birth stuff, which I will to any willing audience, I think it would really inspire both my sister, who I think already would be interested in a more natural birth, and especially my sister-in-law, who I think has many common fears/misconceptions about birth, if they could see a birth first-hand with someone they know.
 

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It is amazing where you find inspiring stories when you start talking about birth. When we told my husband's grandmother we were planning to have the baby at home, she told us she thought it was great because "hospitals are full of germs" and we found out she had my father in law at home. My Nana also had my mom at home in the UK with a midwife after WW2. My mom had three drug free births (all of us well over 8 pounds and she was only 5 feet tall) and took Lamaze.
 

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I was recently asked to speak to a university class on parenting about my birth experiences. It was not surprising, but definitely frustrating to hear their incredulous questions and sense their shock and surprise regarding my natural births (one in water a FSBC and one at home). One of the things I mentioned in my talk was that hospital birth was not the norm until quite recently, which means it is possible that some of their parents were born at home (many of the students were "older" students) and if not, it was quite possible that their grandparents were. It's interesting when you actually take a moment to think about that and realize just how quickly the medicalization of birth has happened. I actually do not know where my grandparents were born and now that they've passed, I probably never will.
 

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Eh, I tell everyone who will stand still long enough about my glorious, natural childbirths. Then, the eyes start to roll as I get to the part where my youngest was born as I was standing up and grinning. Because, you know I must be lying.. no one gives birth with a smile on their face.
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But that's what happened, I couldn't get comfortable so I just stood at the bottom of the bed and held onto the foot rail. The midwife unrolled a sterile sheet and sat almost between my legs to catch him. He plopped out with two pushes. Gravity is the bomb!
 

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Oh Philomom my last one was born while i stood up too! Unfortunately, i was not smiling....lol - it was a fast and furious birth! I was at a family wedding two years ago and a cousin i barely see started asking me about my home birth - turns out, she was due with her 5th - and all 4 were natural in hospital so she was more than ready to try HB ...i had no idea another cousin was listening in as i talked about how wonderful HB was....a few months later a different cousin contacted me through FaceBook and started asking questions about childbirth in general, HB, waterbirth etc..etc.. She is a few years away from having her own baby - but might as well start gleaning info now!

I think speaking to a college class is a GREAT idea - i belong to a group of doulas and im trying to convince them we need to start doing this!! That is the age group to target!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by motherhendoula View Post

I think speaking to a college class is a GREAT idea - i belong to a group of doulas and im trying to convince them we need to start doing this!! That is the age group to target!
Unfortunately we're moving out of this state or else the professor would have me come speak to her class each semester. That would have been great. Sigh... maybe a new opportunity will present itself in our new home at the University of Illinois.
 

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It seems to me that most of our society doesn't care about this, until they are going to have a baby themselves. I happen to know every woman's birth story in my family, but I wasn't interested until after I got pregnant at 21. Most women that I know are happy to talk about it, but they only want to tell an interested audience.. Unfortunately teenagers and young adults would rather not hear about it..

My mother normalized natural birth in our family by being an advocate, it certainly helped bring awareness to me. I always knew that I would have a natural birth, that's just the way it was. Even though I knew that my mother had natural births, I didn't know the details until after I had my own child.. I didn't much care, because it didn't apply to me. This is the fundamental issue that you're fighting against.. It also didn't occur to you to research about birth until you were going to have a baby. It's hard to care about something that may be years away.

Now in my life it seems that ALL we talk about are birth stories, breastfeeding and placentas (if you want the men to clear out of a room, bring up placenta). My friends and I are all natural birth advocates and have young children, it's what interests us now.

I'm sure there are many, many women out there that will share their stories with you. The good, the bad and the ugly. Take it all with a grain of salt and know that your body is strong and that you CAN do it! :)
 

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I knew my mom's birth stories with all of us by the time I was 10. I was always interested in the first day that we were in this world. She didn't give me gorey details until I was expecting. Like when to expect bloody show, etc. All of her labors were medication free, though she had no choice with my sister. 36 hours of hard labor! Phew! Strong woman. lol
 

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But I think the point here is that we as a group of women choosing to converse on MDC are fairly like minded. Hence we are likely surrounding ourselves with many like minded friends and may have come from like minded families. We are still very much the minority. It is the greater population that is still reinforcing the fear, spreading misinformation, and keeping issues of fertility and child bearing/rearing in the dark. While I agree that some of it is b/c many people don't care or haven't thought to think/research about these issues until they are ttc, pregnant, or are parents, I believe the problem is bigger than that. I think these issues should be prevalent in our culture. Mothers should openly talk about fertility with their daughters, children should grow up watching babies breastfeed, and natural birth should be thought of as a normal, common affair. But I'm dreaming... this won't happen in this country any time soon- just in our little "villages" of like minded folk.

My MIL was visiting this weekend and I found out that her sister didn't know she was having sex the first time she had sex. She didn't realize exactly what sex was. How terrible is that? And her other sister was knocked out completely to have her children (vaginally). Astounding. What is wrong with our culture that we cannot talk about basic biology and cannot honor the very act of giving life?
 

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To Jaimee

I honestly don't know how we became a culture of female modesty and it saddens me because of the public breastfeeding issues, etc. Our society is too sensitive and focused on being offended and politically correct that these issues are only addressed when a mother trying to feed her child is being punished for doing exactly that.

lol Maybe we should build a village of families like us. Those that believe in Unassisted or Home birth, organic feeding, breastfeeding and being open to those around us. The things that are shocking to the general public. lol
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