It’s one of those polarizing thing that will either win you friends or drive you to enemies, but there is no denying that there is a strong competition when it comes to birth stories.
And it’s not always among friends. For some reason, I firmly believe that some women believe themselves to be better or stronger or more capable because of the way they’ve chosen to give birth.
Personally, I believe that any form that produces a healthy baby and momma is a winning method.
Ashley is a friend of mine who is exploring the natural birthing options. She, herself, is pregnant. She’s also a part of a movement here in Alabama to allow choices for birthing mothers, choices that include midwives, home births, and other traditional but now non-traditional methods.
She and I have talked quite a bit about birthing. I had some misconceptions about natural birth and she has actually arranged for Dr. Ina May Gaskin to come talk on our local university campus about the movement. I plan to attend because I still am just curious.
Now, make no mistake. I really and truly liked my OB .. and in hindsight, I liked him because he was fairly traditional. He let me work up until my due date; he would only induce when I had gone past my due date; and he was incredibly reluctant to move to anything beyond vaginal birth. After 2.5 hours of hard, pushing labor, most doctors would’ve pulled out a scalpal, but he encouraged me to keep at it. As such, I had a much shorter recovery time and avoided unplanned surgery.
But I’m not sure I should’ve induced. Looking back, I would’ve done that differently. I was miserable .. and huge .. and did I mention huge? .. but my body wasn’t ready. And even two weeks of mild contractions meant nothing when the pitocin started.
So I’m interested on learning more about the options. I’m pro-choice in almost all areas, so this should follow.
BUT. I am outraged when women speak of their birthing method .. whatever it may be .. and insinuate that they were better/stronger/harder than I was. CAN.NOT.STAND.IT. It’s similar to saying that your car is better than my car, when I clearly chose my car for a reason far different than how you chose yours.
I was reading this article today and Dr. Amy Tuteur, who is a retired OB and blogger, said this and YES OMG YES:
“First it was, ‘I had my baby in a hospital, but I didn’t have an epidural,’ ” said Tuteur, who doesn’t support home births. “Then it was, ‘I had a baby with a midwife at home, not in the hospital.’ The cutting edge is now unassisted birth — ‘I had my baby at home, and I had no one there except for my husband.’ “
Now, whether or not she supports home births is really a moot point; she hit on the head what irritates me about some of the militant birth fanatics. (Aside: this is why I love talking to Ashley about this; she’s very level-headed and open-minded and clear that some pregnancies NEED to be medically involved.)
We’ve been talking about trying to get pregnant again .. I know everyone’s going to ask “When?” and all I know is WHEN THIS POTTY TRAINING NIGHTMARE IS OVER .. and I’ve been doing my research now about the choices I’d like to make. I have a crazy high pain tolerance, but I was a fan of the drugs (epidural). They allowed me to focus on what I was doing. But pitocin? Probably not.
And? I’m scared of saying any of this out loud for fear of being one of THOSE people. The ones who take a holier-than-thou approach to birth and think that the trophy for their natural water home midwife birth is in the mail. OR the ones who think that a natural birth means you wear loincloths and live off of granola. There’s two sides to every debate.
I just wanna be in the middle. You know, with a healthy child.