Friday, September 12, 2008

"I did it!"

Alisa, my crazy friend who wanted to give birth to her baby without medication, did it! I must admit, deep down, I really wanted her to fail. I kept telling my husband throughout Alisa's pregnancy that she had no idea how hard it was and there would be no way she could handle it. Although it wasn't a conscious thought, somehow, if she failed, that would validate my birth.

Now this is something interesting that I have run into over the years of teaching: Students tell their friends and family that they are planning a natural birth. They are always shocked by their negative reactions, especially by those who have given birth with medication. They will often ridicule the pregnant woman's decision. The phrase I have to laugh at is, "It's not like you get a medal." No, just a baby! You appreciate more what you work hard for. Labor and birth are a bridge between pregnancy and being this child's mother, and it needs to be experienced. I know how it feels to be on both sides of this issue. This is how I was with Alisa, wanting her to fail.

A former student of mine addressed this in her birth story: "I feel very empowered through this whole experience. I did what almost everyone I know told me I couldn't do. It was the most challenging, but rewarding thing I have ever done. I feel so good about giving (my baby) the very best start in life!... Knowledge is power in the Labor and Delivery room!"

When Alisa called me after the birth, exclaiming, "I did it!" she must have felt like the woman I just quoted. I was one of those people who told her she was crazy and wasn't strong enough. The sound of her voice is one that echoed in my head for months, maybe years. It was exhilaration at her accomplishment, pure joy and self confidence, even awe at the strength of her own body. The experience brought them closer together as they truly worked together to bring their child into the world.

I wanted this experience to be mine. I knew next time would be different for us. I never heard anyone talk about their birth the way she did, but then again, they all had the drugs! If Alisa could do it, so could I!


Jenni and fam said...

Hey Donna, I hope you don't mind but I want to share your blog with some of my friends and family! This is great and I add my AMEN and Hallelujah to your comments. After all I am a product of your sharing your knowledge and insights! i would have been content to just be a patient, but I have 3 birth stories to prove that could have and WOULD have been awful for me had I not told them what I wanted!! ( I wouldn't have known that's what i could have done had I not known you!)THANKS DONNA!

Carmen said...

The Bradley Method’s husband coached child birth focus is what won us over. My poor husband worked so hard the day our daughter was born!

Donna Ryan said...

You both made the baby -- just makes sense, don't it?

Ruth said...

I still have so many people asking me why I chose to have Oscar without medication. They simply do not understand. I don't really try to convince them. Just as I cannot be swayed by them. It just seems that the more you know the less you want done to you while you are in labor.

I felt that same way, "I did it!" My husband admits he wasn't sure my body would cooperate and was amazed by the process.