Friday, November 19, 2010
Your Body Works
I read the most horrific anti-natural childbirth blog recently. There were half-truths, lies, fear mongering, wild accusations and the like. All were neatly packaged, spell-checked, and horror of horrors, written by somebody who is not just a female obstetrician, but went to HARVARD!
It made me wonder how many people read that garbage and believe it. I don't know if the author even believes what she is saying, though she probably does. But I would say that without a doubt she is trying to be particularly offensive on purpose in order to drive traffic to her blog.
I love to blog and I get that. The posts that I write that are the most angry or offensive are by far the ones that get the most attention. And, attention feels pretty good. The truth is though that this blogger (despite her degrees) and I and any other blogger have no need to actually back up our information with facts. Nobody is going to stop us. People might call us on it but bloggers are welcome to write whatever they like, even call their skewed and biased opinions fact.
But it all made me think. Who should we trust when it comes to information? I also recently read a fantastic article about the lies and accidental misinformation so common in totally accepted medical research. You can read it here.
I talk about lots of issues in my childbirth classes. I present them as pros and cons despite my opinions on all of them. I also tell my students that they can find not only studies but opinions on both sides of every issue. There are people who HATE circumcision and there are people who seriously believe it is good for you. When it comes down to it they need to make an educated choice that they feel comfortable with. There will always be people who disagree.
So if you can't trust bloggers, medical research (our societies gold standard for truth ) is often biased and money driven, and virtually everything has adamant supporters on both sides, who can you trust?
I think the answer just might be, no one.
This flies in the face of current medical patriarchal "I'll take care of you honey, just do what I say" convention. This means you actually have to research your choices. It means you have to go one step further (because there are studies talking about the benefits of epidurals and doctors who think c-sections are great) and use some COMMON SENSE.
Yes- I said it- COMMON SENSE. I see a total absence of this in so much of what we do.
Think about these "issues" in birth and motherhood. Do they even make sense, at all?
Formula feeding is just as good as breast milk.
You can find studies touting the benefits of breast milk. You can also find articles talking about there being little difference. You can also find plenty of doctors who think formula is better and encourage it.
But when we step back and use our brains we find this:
Humans did not survive for thousands upon thousands of years on breast milk just because they were waiting for a better option to get invented in this day and age. Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby. It is not made of cow milk, or soy milk, or corn syrup or chemicals. It is not dead, cold and powdered. It is literally FOR BABIES. Case closed.
The epidural is awesome, it does not increase c-sections.
Many, many women LOVE epidurals. I don't blame them. The idea has sounded pretty good to me on more than one occasion. Many, many doctors encourage their use and claim that they do not increase the risk of c-section. Studies even say that they are fine as long as they are not given too early.
But let's use our common sense again.
One of the main things that the epidural does is prevents movement and feeling. You can not walk, dance, sway, bend, or do much of anything when you have one. It absolutely boggles my mind that this would seem like a good idea when you are trying to get a baby OUT OF YOUR VAGINA. Have you ever seen a vagina? They look pretty small, right?! Have you ever heard of the LAW OF GRAVITY?! It pulls things DOWN. Even babies. Unless of course, you are lying on your back. If you are on your back, then down is not out your vagina. Down is towards the bed.
Not to mention that the powerful sensations of birth might just exist for a purpose. They have always been there right? Could it be they are telling you to MOVE. What purpose does something serve that prevents mobility and feeling at a time when it is obvious that mobility and movement are of paramount importance? I will give you a hint. It's purpose is not to make your birth work better. It is to shut you up and keep you still. (Neither of which will help your birth.)
C-sections are better for the mom and baby.
I will be the first to admit that c-sections sometimes are better for mom and baby. But when I hear of men who have more degrees and schooling than me and refer to the c-section as a "vaginal bypass" and perform then on the vast majority of their patients, my mind reels.
Step back, take a breath, and think about this one.
The current c-section rate is over 30%. If this is actually anywhere near the necessary level, how on earth did human kind survive? If this were needed about 1/3 of women would have died giving birth to their first child. Not after from hemorrhage or exhaustion or malnutrition or bad sanitation. No, they would have died because they could not get their babies out of their vagina's.
And- if you believe in evolution or divine design, this makes no sense. Even if human women once had too small pelvises or constant cord or placenta problems, or anything used to justify this outrageous rate, natural selection would have quickly remedied the situation.
NO- this is not the case. Childbirth and the childbearing woman are designed to do this with the least amount of fuss and danger. It makes no sense for the very vehicle (birth) that brings children into the world, that spreads genetic code, that is absolutely necessary to sustain human life, to be inherently and constantly dangerous. It makes no sense.
Let's step back and look at birth and our bodies with just a tiny bit of calm and sense. We will find what nature has been trying to tell us for thousands of years. Birth is normal. It is supremely normal. It is designed perfectly. So is your body. Trust it.