So now that we got the baby IN there, we've got 9 months to figure out how to get it OUT. Buckle your seat belt, guys, cause I'm about to blow your minds. I'm planning to have a natural childbirth.
Go ahead, freak out. I'm used to it.
Seriously though, when I tell people that I'm planning a natural childbirth, you would think I am telling them that I'm going to give myself a c-section in my kitchen with my Wustof poultry shears, but don't worry, A will be on hand with plenty of neosporin and bandaids. To be totally honest, I find their horror to be a bit amusing and I've started saying "natural childbirth" in a high spooky voice just for the thrill it gives me to watch people lose their shit right in front of me.
In all fairness, though, this is just a symptom of the world we live in. Our entire lives have been medicalized, we are conditioned that our bodies are generally broken and that medicine has the answer to all our problems, whether they are physical, mental or emotional. Here's the thing, though. I just don't buy it. Especially when it comes to childbirth.
I first became interested in natural childbirth years ago, when as a women's studies student I first learned about the medicalization of childbirth. How was it that we went from dropping babies on the side of a road and going back to work to a world of cesareans and epidurals? That's not even digressing to the days where women were literally tied down and knocked out as their babies were pulled out of their bodies. It's a long, long story with many twists and turns, and too much to go into in this blog post, but perhaps one day when I'm feeling particularly feisty and enraged I'll outline it for you, my avid readers. At any rate, I began studying midwifery back in my college days, going so far as to consider pursuing it as a career path for awhile. I began seeing a midwife for all of my well woman care years ago, so it was most logical that when the time came I would pursue natural childbirth.
Now, I'm not going to say that when I realized that the rubber was gonna hit the road I didn't pause and really think about what I was going to do. I mean, it was one thing for 18 year old NOT PREGNANT self to poo poo the modern conveniences of hospital labor, but here I was 10 years older and wiser, and, most importantly PREGNANT. So I gave myself an out. Really considered what I wanted to do. Pulled out some of my old books. Bought some new books. Talked to my husband. Imagined how I would feel in different scenarios. At my first offical prenatal appointment at the Birth Center, I recognized how relaxed I felt, how I shared my feelings like I was talking to an old friend. I knew I was in the right place.
I'm not going to tell you that I'm not afraid of childbirth or that I'm not nervous about it. I mean come on, even YOU would see that is a load of poopy. But what I can tell you is that I believe 100% that I can do it. More importantly, I believe that my body was MADE to do it, carefully designed with just this purpose in mind. So much of modern birth involves things that "could go wrong," but the truth is that without needless intervention, things rarely do. The female body is equipped for this task, from conceiving a child to growing that child, all the way though birthing that child and nourishing that child. I always loved that the literal definition of midwife is to be "with woman" - that the role of a midwife is to support a woman as she progresses through the natural process of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. I don't expect it to be easy, but then again, what part of parenting is. One of my favorite quotes is from a midwife who told a laboring mother "This is not the hardest thing you will do for this child." Isn't that the truth?
The only post script I'll give to any of this is that the ultimate goal of this whole deal is a live baby and a healthy Mama. So if things happen that change the natural process or endanger the baby in any way, all bets are off. I'm not so tied to the idea of a happy earth mother birth that I would ever risk the health of the baby. But I'm comfortable and confident that the women caring for me wouldn't ever put either of us in danger.