She said, “You come and talk to me AFTER you’ve had the baby and tell me if you had a natural birth or not”.
As I told more and more friends and family I got similar responses:
“Oh, you don’t have to be a hero you know!”
“Just take the drugs”
“Get the epidural as soon as you can”
“Why would you want to have a natural birth, when you can have drugs that take the pain away?”
After a while I stopped telling people because it got depressing and I was shocked that hardly anyone thought I could deliver a baby naturally.
I thought … “Am I Crazy For Wanting A Natural Birth???”
I’m not sure why I was shocked really … but I (perhaps naively) thought everyone would be super-supportive and encouraging.
But after a while I realised:
- Most people didn’t have the knowledge I did about birth (I learned a lot in my hypnobirth classes).
- Many mothers had no idea that epidurals don’t always work and have side effects for the mother and baby (this happened to two of my friends).
- Hardly any of them realised there are some natural pain-relief techniques BETTER than drugs.
- They also didn’t know some commonly used drugs actually slowed labour down and could potentially increase the chance of needing an emergency cesarean – scary!
- For those who thought elective cesarean was no big deal – they had no idea they were putting their baby (and themselves) at unnecessary risk during surgery … and at risk of complications with increased respiratory problems for the baby, increase in complications during bonding and breastfeeding and increased risk for further pregnancies or birth.
- And … they also had no idea that with the right support, training and labour environment you CAN make birth a much more bearable (and sometimes even enjoyable) experience, both physically and emotionally.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not bashing anyone who has used drugs in labour or had a c-section. Birth is a challenging time and all our circumstances are DIFFERENT. Only you truly know your situation and you have to make the best decisions for you and your family.
My worry is women are making
decisions without ALL the proper information.
In fact, before I knew all about natural birth, I always thought I would just have all the drugs on offer.
But now, according to some of my friends I’m that crazy mum who “birthed her baby WITHOUT ANY PAIN RELIEF!” (they often say it in disbelief).
This does NOT make me better than anyone.
But … I do know that I LOVED my births.
And … that’s not the sentiment amongst many of my friends.
Some are traumatised by drugs and surgery … and have struggled for years after
Whereas many women who use natural birthing techniques eg. hypnobirth, gentlebirth, calmbirth, yoga birth etc. have fond memories of their labours.
They also have shorter births on average, recover quicker physically and emotionally and have higher rates of breastfeeding successfully.
So what is my advice, even if you’re still scared shitless of a natural birth?
Firstly … Do everything possible to plan for a natural birth – read “natural” birthing books (anything by Ina May Gaskin or check out mine HERE) and get your ass to some hypnobirthing, gentlebirth or calmbirth classes.
You will learn so much of what you can do to make birthing your baby amazing.
Then … even if things don’t go to plan on the day, you can rely on drugs or procedures to help you.
My belief is … most women should be able to birth naturally with medical assistance as back-up … NOT the other way round.
Modern medicine is amazing … but it is NOT an easy replacement for what our bodies have been doing for thousands of years.
Believe in yourself and take the time to stop and learn how to make this day a memorable one.
You can do it!
Tracey … xxx