Natural Birth Isn't A Big Deal

Seriously folks, natural birth ISN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

Sounds silly, dumb, even self damaging coming from a gal who actually makes money teaching people HOW to have this natural birth.  But in the end, it is simply TRUE.  Natural birth is something that almost all women are perfectly capable of in almost all situations.

Yes, having a natural birth in a negative or unsupported environment can be very difficult.  (This is why your choice of birth place is SO important.)

Yes, you should take a birth class to "learn" how to give birth.  (Really you are simply RE-LEARNING what you always knew but have forgotten from years of listening to negativity, misinformation and fear.  You are re-creating what once was common women's wisdom about their innate power and ability.)

Yes, birth can be hard, overwhelming and even the big P, "PAINFUL".  (Maybe we need to re-think what exactly the word "pain" means when it comes to life and birth.)

Yes, giving birth naturally can be triumphant, empowering, awesome and a VERY big deal to the woman who accomplishes it.  (It was for me and millions of others, in fact, I believe that birth is divinely designed to be transcendent.)

Yes, all of the above may be true, but still I insist that natural birth is not that big of a deal.  It is something you can do.  

Your body as a woman was designed to give birth.  Your spinal cord was designed to allow you to FEEL your labor, not to be the port for a large needle and numbing drugs. 

Your legs exist so that you can walk, move, and sway, not so that they can be placed in stir-ups.

Your contractions naturally come in brief spurts or waves.  Rarely will they last longer than a minute.  Even if you had days of labor if you added up all the time that was actually spent having just the contractions, it would amount to merely hours.  You can do anything for a mere minute.  Very little of even a hard or long labor is actually spent in "pain" or enduring contractions.

Your uterus contracts and squeezes to move your baby down and out and to prepare you mentally and physically for a monumental arrival.  Your uterus does not do this simply to punish you or overwhelm you.  It serves a unique purpose and accomplishes it well.

We fear the unpredictability of labor.  How long will it be?  When will it start?  What will it be like?  Why should I experience this?  But all of these unknowns serve to prepare us for the task of motherhood and the patience, humility, flexibility, and grace it requires.

"But the pain, how do I handle the pain?" women ask.  Pain, though something we often fear is not in fact deadly.  Sometimes things that kill us can cause pain.  Labor and birth however are not meant to kill us.  Their purpose is actually quite the opposite- birth exists to bring life, not take it.  Maybe you don't want to feel your labor, but you are perfectly capable experiencing it.  The sensations of labor exist to prepare us, not hurt us.  You may be surprised the confidence that can be gained by doing something you didn't think you were capable of.  In fact, sometimes the hardest labors teach us the most about ourselves and what we are capable of. 

"Will it hurt?  Can I handle it?" we ask as we contemplate the the coming birth.  The answer is a resounding, "YES."  Yes you can do it.  Yes you can handle it.  You were made for this.

Your baby's birth will be a big deal to you no matter how you experience it.  It is awe inspiring and larger than life.

Birth though is also everyday, common, possible, normal, natural and no more than you are capable of.  It is the way women have been giving birth for a millennium.   

In this way it is true.  Natural birth isn't a big deal.   You don't need to fear it.  It is not bigger than you or stronger than you.  Birth is simply a very normal part of life.

Despite all the hoopla and studies and classes and worries that surround modern childbirth, let's never forget one thing:  birth is not a big deal.  I fear we have become so caught up in the how and the why and the techniques and the knowledge that we have forgotten the simple truth;  Birth is normal.


The title of this post lured me in, alarmed & ready to be offended. I was pleasantly surprised by it! Very well said. We are made to do it! I recently wrote a post about experiencing birth rather than this common perception that you have to focus on "surviving" it. More and more first time mums are being convinced that birth is something they should fear and its ridiculous!
Ok. Rant over. Thanks for a good read :-)
Anonymous said…
I completely agree that we let fear rule our decisions regarding labor. There is so much negative and misinformation out there about childbirth. I feared my first delivery which ended with a bad epidural and a vacuum extraction. The fear I created from not being able to feel and push my son out drove me to realize God created me perfectly to perform childbirth. My second two deliveries were completely natural water births with virtually no assistance.
I can assure you that my 2 natural childbirths were no better and no more triumphant than my medically necessary c-section or my I need some pain management vbac births. They all ended the same way with a baby in my arms and that really truly is all that matters in the end. Not how baby got here or if a woman decided she couldn't handle the pain.

If natural birth is no big deal, then why are you holding it up as the superior way to give birth and making it seem like any other way means you are just inhuman? Some people handle pain better than others. So don't go shaming people into saying it's just a minute of pain. Nice that you fail to mention that you only get two minutes to rest before you are experiencing another minute of pain. Who cares if it only adds up to a few hours of pain in the end. There should be no shame in child birth at all. When I tell people about my natural child births I always follow up with, but if it lasted longer I would have been asking for pain management because I'm no hero and no better than anyone else.
JuliPickle said…
I love this! I think in childbirth we can either fight the "pain" or embrace it. I'm so glad I gave myself the opportunity with my second and third births to embrace it the way I did. I don't claim to be a hero or to birth a "superior" way at all... But I am pleased that I let my body do what it was designed to do, that I let my body impress me with its awesomeness without fighting it all along the way with interventions.
Sara r said…
I love this post! Just sent it to a friend who is due any day now. I get these incredulous looks when I say that my son was born at home, but really, "it wasn't a big deal!" Yes it was awesome, but I really believe that most women can do the exact same thing.
Anonymous said…
Angela Baarz said…
I agree with Monicas Mom Musings. Don't make natural childbirth sound superior. Natural Birth IS a big deal. ANY birth IS a big deal! It's a hard thing to grow and birth a child no matter how it happens. You can birth your children your way and I will birth children the way that is best for me and I will not let anyone make me feel guilty for choosing the options I choose.
SD said…
I'm quite surprised Monicas Mom that you didn't think your natural births were any better than a c-section. You opinion, your births and I respect that, just surpised to hear.
Some people say all that matters is a baby in your arms at the end, I agree that IS the important thing, but the birth experience does matter and women can be traumatised and suffer PTSD through 'bad' births. That's off topic though!

I don't think for one minute this post is suggesting that natural childbirth is superior at all or shaming women who chose pain relief, it is every womans right to birth how she wants, and if she feels she needs an epidural or pain relief drugs so be it - it is not 'wrong'.

Refusing pain relief is not because we want to be heros or better than anyone else, it is just because we believe it is best for us - if the pain is too much to handle then accept drugs, no shame - as you say there is no shame in birth however you do it.

I think this post is fantastic at reminding us that birth is perfectly normal, we were 'built' to birth, not to be afraid and fear birth and any associated pain - sometimes it's the fear that causes pain - I think this post is reassuring for women and in no means suggesting natural is superior.
jro said…
I think the people who are dismayed by this post and arguing against it are not really getting the point. In society, people tend to look at natural birth as a really big deal...that is simply a fact. "No meds, are you serious?" "Oh, you are gonna want something!" are the typical responses to women who verbalize the decision to go natural...we all know this. This post is not lessening any birth experience, but rather saying that natural birth is possible, doable...our bodies are indeed made to do this. Obviously, all births are amazing...this viewpoint is from someone who is asking people to see natural birth as a realistic option...not a superior one.