It was brought to my attention that there was spot on the show "The Doctors" recently concerning the two modes of delivery. It was hosted by Jillian Michael's and "Dr" Lisa Masterson.
The segment is actually titled "Which is worse, C-section or Vaginal birth?" And you can watch it by clicking here.
First- I will ignore the fact that the segment is a discussion between Jillian (yes I wish I had her body) and an OB who publicly has mocked women who birth naturally.
Then, let's ignore the fact that the segment is titled "which is worse" as though childbirth must either be horrid or...well, horrid. Either way you will have lots of chopping on your abdomen or lots of tearing in your nether regions. And as Lisa points out, you have to "poop" down there. (Poop, yuck! Bodily functions are so disgusting!)
Also, we should ignore the cringing women in the audience as Lisa rips a foot long piece of fabric to demonstrate what happens when that baby who "has to come out someway" claws its way out of your vagina. The description of a full fourth degree tear, from the vagina all the way through the rectum is enough to convince Jillian that her decision to never bear children was a wise one indeed. Sheesh, I already have children and it scared me.
We might as well also ignore the fact that a fourth degree tear (from vagina through the rectum) is pretty rare. And lets not talk about the fact that frequent obstetric practices like supine delivery, forceps and vacuum extraction, purple pushing, episiotomy and a numb mother most likely contribute to the likelihood of such a terrible tear. Actually, I have talked to home birth midwives who have caught a thousand babies or more and have NEVER seen a fourth degree tear. Makes you wonder why they happen so much in hospitals, doesn't it? But even there, the chance of a third or fourth degree tear is very low, probably about 4%.
While we are at it we might as well ignore the props given to the epidural, which as Lisa points out, even if you manage to get through labor without, you will sure wish you had it for when they stitch up the gigantic anal fissure. She shows a nice syringe full of Lidocane, but points out how horrifying it would be to have that needle injected into your bum. Of course a much larger needle pumping medication into your dura would be FAR more pleasant.
Yes, I could talk about all those things, but what I really want to focus on is how Dr Lisa refers to vaginal birth through the entire segment as the "old fashioned way." I got the distinct impression that Lisa was saying "old fashioned" but what she meant was backwards, stupid, silly, and how animals do it. Surely "modern" women and modern technology have found a better way than the old fashioned vaginal birth. TV is better than radio, cars are better than bikes, antibiotics are better than death and the c-section is better than vaginal birth!
She is right about one thing- vaginal birth is old fashioned. It is how women have birthed babies for centuries. It is how I birthed my babies and if nature, natural selection, or God are any indication, it is how women SHOULD birth their babies.
I am not trying to be offensive. Are c-sections sometimes necessary? Of course they are. And when necessary they are miracle of modern medicine for the mother and baby that needed them. Have they improved in safety and comfort in the last twenty years? For sure, and thank goodness. Can you have a positive c-section with a quick recovery? Most definitely.
But the fact that something "new" exists does not mean it is better than the old fashioned way of doing things. Yes, vaginal birth must sometimes need be replaced with the c-section, but only when there is a NEED.
Is there recovery involved in a vaginal birth? Well, of course there is. I have had four children. Does it slow me down for a few weeks? It does, and I believe that is for a reason. The newborn baby needs constant care, love, attention, and food. I could numb myself with medication post partum or get up and start back to normal life to prove something to the world, but nature seems to be sending a strong message to new mothers. That message is this:
"Take some time to take care of yourself and your very dependent child. Rest. Eat. Relax."When we talk about birth we are not talking about an infection in your leg. A few hundred years ago a bad infection in an extremity would have to be amputated to prevent death. (The old fashioned way: some whisky and a rusty saw.) Now medications and sanitation can often ensure the healing of that infection. (The newfangled technology/science way.) This same logic does not apply to birth. C-section (newer) does not automatically trump vagina (old fashioned) just because it is new.
The cesarean is a wonderful invention with a lifesaving purpose. It is not however an improvement on the female body. It is not better than the vagina. It is correlated with more maternal deaths. It is correlated with more infant deaths. It requires a very invasive procedure. It often requires longer recovery and sometimes resultant complications. (Just an aside- if your doctor has so much distaste for the female body that s/he jokes about surgery being better, you may want to run like hell. Same goes for a doctor who has only seen incredibly traumatic vaginal birth- he might have something to do with his track record.)
Women of the world- you have more than two choices when it comes to childbirth. Dr Lisa would have you believe that your options are these:
1) The modern and relatively safe cesarean section.
2) The old fashioned, private ripping, vaginal birth.
But there is another way.
3) Really old fashioned, drug free, triumphant, natural birth. Pushing when you feel your bodies need to push. Positioning yourself and your baby as your body moves you. Feeling that ring of fire so that you back off at the end. Receiving that cocktail of amazing birthing hormones at the birth of your baby. Joy at the work you have done when it is over.
Add in the modern advances that are awesome: sanitation, anti hemorrhage drugs, and skilled help when you need it and you have got a winning combination.
Ladies- I know what I would choose, your choice is up to you. I also choose a long time ago that for public safety and my own heart I would no longer watch episodes of "The Doctors." This started when I saw their horrid presentation on vaccines, but I digress.
I am not ashamed to admit that I like my old fashioned vaginal births very much. Thanks anyway.
(Yes I realize that there is a fourth option, the joyous epidural. Please don't send me hate mail. I am into natural birth.)