Sunday, March 10, 2013

"How Dare You Tell Me I Can Have a Natural Birth!"

Since when did the phrase "You can do it!" become offensive?  When someone cheers you on, you say thank you, right?  Except when it comes to natural childbirth.  Repeatedly over the years, I have told women things like "You could totally have a natural birth!" or "You are strong!  You can do it!" Rarely do I get a response of confidence and excitement.  In fact, often it seems that I've offended her by telling her that she could do it.  She usually begins listing all the reasons why she can't do it -- or why her doctor has told her she shouldn't even try.

Why do so many women want to believe they can't do it?  And why are they offended when someone else tells them they can?  When I say that to someone, it's not because I want them to do what I think they should do, but it's because I honestly believe they really can do it!  It's a compliment!

I think every blog post comes back to fear, doesn't it?  Fear of the unknown. Fear of the pain.  Fear of disappointing someone.  Fear of standing up to the OB and expressing your wishes.  Fear of not being heard.  Fear of becoming a mother.  Fear of being a weirdo.  Fear of not doing what everyone else is doing.  Fear of being called a hippie.

Even the strongest of women will turn over all control when it comes to childbirth.  Perhaps they are an expert in their own field, so they are willing to let the "expert" do their thing when it comes to their birth.  It's been said many times since The Business of Being Born came out that women spend more time researching their wedding, new car, new phone, etc. than they do their birth.  To the "birth junkies" this is mind boggling, right?  It's not because these women don't love their babies - they just don't think that birth is important.  Their ideas about birth have come from the media and baby showers.  Birth is scary and dangerous.  If you want a live baby, you do what your doctor tells you to do.

Telling someone they can have a natural birth puts responsibility on them. They would have to take back the control.  They would probably want to do a class besides the hospital class, which is likely more time consuming and costs more money.  It's true.  I assure you, the memory of how your child enters the world will be etched in your memory.  It will likely become more important to you than your wedding day or a silly cell phone.  And, honestly, it's a pretty awesome experience for dad too, as long as he's prepared!

I met someone at church a few weeks ago with several children.  He asked what David and I do for a living. He was much more interested in my career than David's - of course, he's a CPA so that's understandable!  He said he always wished his wife had given birth without the drugs.  Fortunately, she wasn't still standing there!  I have thought about that several times since he made that comment, however.  How many men want to tell their wives "You can do it!  I believe in you!  You are strong!" but are afraid?

I've been on the other side of fear, ladies.  It sucks.  I was scared to death to have my first baby.  I did the epidural.  I nearly had a c-section as a result of all the intervention.  I was one of the lucky ones who happen to be fully dilated when my baby started having signs of distress.  I was able to push my baby out in the nick of time.  I was lucky.

It's an awesome experience to push through that fear - literally - and come out on the other side and say "I did it!"  There is no feeling like it in the world. Next time someone tells you you can/should have a natural birth, thank them for their confidence.

I didn't want to hear the words "You can do it!"   I get it.  It was easier to believe I couldn't do it than to believe I could.  If you have someone in your life who tells you "You can do it!" ask them for details on how to make that happen.

"You CAN Have an Amazing Birth!"


9 comments:

Pioneer Girl said...

i would kill for someone to tell me i could do it... most of the time, i get "what are you trying to prove?" or "you do realize the doctor isn't going to murder you in your sleep, right?" because i really want to try a home birth. worst one yet has been "don't you LOVE your baby?" like attempting a natural birth means i hate him or her.... your blog is a safe haven for people like me.

Unknown said...

Great post! Thank you for the confidence and honesty. My husband and I are working with a midwife at a local hospital who is a huge advocate for natural birth and does many things, such as intermitten heart rate monitoring, allowing us to move around, eat, drink etc. during the labor to make it as comfortable as posible for baby, mama and dad. I trust my body to do what it's designed to do and remind myself of millions of strong, wonderful ladies who have done this before me.
** Sending best wishes and lots of encouragement to all the mamas out there who are considering a natural birth! You CAN do it :)

Shepardsgate said...

Please keep telling women the truth, we're not the ones lying to them! I'm so thankful for the few positive voices in my life encouraging me to be a good wife and mother. The fallout from medicalized birth is women with no desire to love their own child, only guilt and remorse and messed up hormones -- pitocin induction interferes with oxytocin, all those meds ruin baby's digestion... Natural unmedicate, uninterfered with birth is what we were designed for: health and wellness follow.

Shazia Lackey said...

Excellent post! The same applies to breastfeeding. I LOVED my birth and breastfeeding experience, and I want other women to feel the same. Yes, it is hard, but if I could do it, so can they! I have faith in them. Why can't they?

Samantha said...

Keep up the great work and thank you for being a voice. So many women are silent about this and many other important topics, and it KILLS me! Of course I have fear about standing up for what I believe to be right, of course I have fear about having an opinion that may be different from others...I'm only human, but i will say that that fear is for but a brief, fleeting moment and then I realize that if it's OK for TV to talk about sex, drugs, lies, infidelity....it sure as heck is OK for me to talk about MY principles too. I'm certainly not a loudmouth, but if you ask me my opinion, I'll tell it to you and I'll encourage you to see the other side of the matter. So thank you for being a voice, someone needs to be a voice, however big or small, as long as you open your mouth. I'm not going to be blinded by society's warped popular culture these days...I'm going to birth my babies naturally and you can bet I'm going to open my mouth about it. Someone has to.

Margarett Scott said...

I MUST share my experience of speaking at SNU to a group of women honor students who were precipitating in a special lecture class..... <3 U BFBS!!!

Carrie said...

This is one of my favorite blog posts you have written!! All of it. Go you!

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