Oh yes- I'm going there!
So- every time I start a class, the first day we talk about some of our biggest fears about birth. Almost always somebody says that they have heard that women poop during the birth (pushing phase) and they don't want to do that.
Well, who would want to poop in public? Especially in front of your lover, your doctor, a nurse, and who knows who else? This seems to be a legitimate concern. I have even had people say they were glad their doctor ordered an enema(!) because then they did not have to worry about it!!! We are all potty trained by this point and we know that our feces is considered pretty raunchy- so how do we deal with this basic and reasonable birth fear?
What Are You Really Afraid Of?
I had a woman tell me before the birth of her first child that she wanted the epidural because she didn't want to "lose it" in front of all those people. She was not talking about pooping - she was talking about screaming, crying and basically falling apart during the birth.
Personally- I think that when women express fear of having a BM during the birth, they are actually talking about being afraid that they will LOSE CONTROL during the birth. We wouldn't want that now would we? Losing control of our bowel function is a very obvious example (not to mention demeaning) of losing control of ourselves.
Let It Go!
We hear a lot of talk relating to natural childbirth about being in control. Many women choose a home birth or a natural birth because they want to be in control of the situation. This makes sense in many ways and it is a good reason to be an active participant and make educated birth choices. It is also imperative though, that we learn to lose control in order to have a good birth.
I believe a woman who never lets go will have a longer birth. She can control her own cervix and not let it open. She can do this with her own anxiety and fear and desire to control the situation.
When we talk about transition labor being hard we are talking about a time when you lose control over your body. You open up so fast that it is overwhelming and you give up your control of the situation. This is kind of scary but it is a necessary part of birth.
It is imperative that you birth in a safe place with- oh yes- people you can poop in front of. So, when you are out there choosing your care provider and your birth place, don't forget to ask yourself, "Could I poop in front of this person? Would they still love me after?"
Birth is an amazing moment where we give our bodies over for the life of another. Choose to do it in a place you feel safe and loved and supported. And yes- it is still empowering even if you poop.