I have been inspired by Jennifer Block. As I was reading "Pushed" these last few weeks one of the things that struck me most was that she compares women who plan unassisted births with women who plan c-sections.
Logically it seems that these two camps couldn't be more different. But as we look a little closer, maybe these two seemingly opposite groups of women have some things in common.
She describes unassisted birth as something of a reaction to bad obstetric practices years ago:
"Unassisted birth isn't new. In the 1960's and 1970's it was often the only alternative to a hospital birth- a strapped down, separated from husband, guaranteed episiotomy birth-- and the women who did it also gave birth to organized midwifery." (pg 101)
Today birth is a little different- the partner is expected to be an active participant, women are awake, episiotomies seem to be going out of fashion. Things are better, right?
Except maybe better is the wrong word. Different, yes. But epidurals are rampant, women still often deliver supine, now they are strapped down with monitors, Pitocin is widely used, and a different incision, the cesarean, is at an all time high. All in all, though the partner is usually holding mom's hand, he is often witness to a very medicalized and sometimes traumatic event.
She goes on to ponder this:
"And I wonder if there's something that the freebirthers are telling us; I wonder if they and the "perineal sparing" crowd are really just two sides of the same coin: going unassisted and signing up for an elective cesarean are both coping mechanisms of a sort, the goal being to avoid a traumatic labor and delivery."
What do you think? Are freebirth and the elective Cesarean just signs that the maternity system is broken? Are both kinds of women just trying to avoid a long drawn out, induction, epidural, probably end in a c-section anyway, birth?
What drove you to make your birth choices? What is going on in obstetrics? Why do women choose what they choose? And most importantly, why do we have to fight for birth choices?