Thursday, February 3, 2011
I Had A Natural Birth- And I Liked It
The other day I came across this somewhat angry post by a mama who enjoyed her epidural and c-section birth and seemed pretty ticked at some of us natural birth mamas. It left my brain stirring with thoughts about women and birth, the "good" birth experience and how we view, love and even hate each other as we navigate through the sad place known as the mommy wars.
I fully realize that as a big mouthed natural birth mama and blogger I have probably contributed to said mommy wars and I know for a fact that I have offended plenty of mamas who disagree with me. But despite all that, I had to respond. (Her words are in quotes.)
~And a small disclaimer before I start- I do think natural birth is awesome and I like it and I am BIASED in favor of it. If I wasn't I wouldn't spend hundreds of free hours devoted to promoting it. In my experience, natural birth moms have fantastic birth experiences- that is why they are excited about them, no other reason. ~
"I gave birth to my daughter. I had a c-section. I had an epidural. And I liked it."
For one- I am glad you liked your epidural and c-section birth. Really- I am. I didn't (nor do most women as far as I can tell) have a natural birth to shove it in anybodies face or to ensure some sense of superiority. I don't look down on people who choose differently. I honestly don't think that most of us do.
I choose natural birth because I wanted one. I got one because I got lucky. I thought, and still do, that it would be the best birth for me and my baby. It makes sense to me to feel everything related to this experience that we only get a few times in our life.
But one reason I chose it was because I thought I would like it. Just like you. I thought it was the best way to get a good experience for me and my baby.
"We live in the modern world. We have modern medicine available to us, which was created to help us moms in the first moments of motherhood."
I will admit that I don't totally understand the epidural choice. I have labored three times so I "get" the desire to numb yourself at some point. My views on modern medicine and its benefits are totally fringe, alternative, and pretty much sound crazy. I won't get into them here, except to say that I don't think that the benefits of modern medicine really apply to birth as often as they are used.
Birth to me isn't a medical event- most of the time. The only help I wanted was what nature told my body to do at the time of birth, not something modern or new.
"In his book Epidural Without Guilt: Childbirth Without Pain, Dr. Gilbert Grant, a New York City-based anesthesiologist, illuminates why epidurals are actually good for you (they may speed the childbirth process along and may help with breastfeeding, blah blah blah)."
Well, I do disagree on that. The issues surrounding the safety of epidurals and surgical births have many sides and studies on both sides. We can agree to disagree on the safety and the benefits of the epidural, but there is most definitely evidence that the epidural is NOT good for you. At the very least, this statement is debatable.
But I didn't just choose NOT to get an epidural because of safety. Honestly- it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of epidural moms survive just fine. But logically for me, it didn't make sense to numb the body right where it needs to feel nor to make it impossible to stand and walk and move for my labor. I want to be able to participate in that way. Gravity, seems a natural help in the process. I will believe this, proof or not.
" I didn’t think twice about getting pain relief when I wanted it. To me, it is a non-issue, created by those women who didn’t get one. "
Hmm. I don't know how I or any other natural birth supporter "created" the issue of pain relief. I really don't think this is motivated by a superiority complex. I think instead (speaking for myself) that we are gung-ho about natural birth because we LOVED our experience. Those women who didn't love their natural birth (and I admit they exist) don't talk about it much.
I will admit though that sometimes (more so when I was new to the whole natural birth scene) I would come off sounding a big offensive, high-minded or superior. Well, maybe it still happens.
To me this is more about you and ME having the choice to birth how we would like. Natural birth mamas (understandably so) can get a little defensive about this since we are a tiny little minority and the hospital system is pretty staggeringly stacked against us. We just want choices. Choosing an epidural, frankly, is an easy choice in hospitals today. You will be supported by your staff and by the vast majority of women.
It can be hard NOT to get defensive when you feel alone out there like so many natural birth mamas do.
"Those women who are walking around bragging to everyone about how they had a "natural" labor, how badly it hurt, how they survived."
I don't think I brag about the natural birth experience- nor have I ever heard a woman do this. Proud of it? Yes- Empowered by it? Yes- Eager to share this experience with others? Yes-
I also don't talk about how badly it hurt much either. For one- it didn't hurt that badly (OK- well it did hurt badly there for a while but it was just a few minutes! I am not making this up!)
Survived natural birth?! I would never describe it as surviving. It was awesome. But me thinking my experience was awesome in no way lessens your awesome experience.
"Please. You did not have a better childbirth experience than I did. We each had our own unique experience. Thankfully, we both have our child here in this world, we both love our child ad infinitum. "
Mama- I didn't say I had a better experience than you. End of story. And yes, I love my kids too.