I just read an article that was forwarded to me by my cousin who knows me too well. She knew when she sent me this article, titled, “The Cult of Natural Childbirth Has Gone Too Far” that I would have something to say about it… and she was right. The article was inspired by the release of a new child-birth tv show named, “Born Into the Wild.” It’s a show that captures women having unassisted births in nature. I will admit, that seems a little extreme to me, but hey, to each his (or her) own.
The article was written by Elissa Strauss, a Brooklyn resident who is feeling way to much pressure from the natural birthing movement. She chose to have an epidural and seems to be ok with that. I have no problem with her opinion on the upcoming tv show or her own birth decisions, I DO have a problem with this…
Elissa makes a huge assumption that I feel very compelled to correct: Women choose to have a natural child-birth to prove something.
Now, I can’t speak for all natural birthing women, but I can speak for myself. I’m going to speak loudly, hope you don’t mind…
I DID NOT HAVE A NATURAL CHILD BIRTH TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE.
Nor do I think less of women who choose to not have a natural child-birth.
In case you’re curious, here’s why I chose to go the way I did: I wanted my birth to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that I could fully control. Oh and …. I didn’t really feel like sharing one of the most vulnerable moments of my ENTIRE LIFE with a random rotating staff of people. And….I knew I was in good health and that I didn’t NEED to be at a hospital.
Yes, I was also influenced by different studies that show there CAN be a correlation between an epidural and difficulties in breast-feeding. I also heard stories of some women who had more difficulty pushing once they had an epidural and then that led to a c-section. I mean, you can find all kinds of research to support the epidural or not. One thing that is strikingly undebatable though, is that your chances of a c-section are higher when giving birth in a hospital and considering that c-sections are, in fact, MAJOR abdominal surgery, I was happy to avoid that possibility as much as possible.
Now let me address this quote:
“As extreme as it may sound, the show is, believe it or not, a natural extension of a culture that has turned labor into a defining moment in women’s lives, their first chance to prove just how devoted a mother they truly are.”
Um, ouch. If you were convicted that something really was the best for your child, would you not want to do that for them? NOT to “prove” anything, but simply for the well-being of your child? This seems like a strikingly unfair statement. I do believe that there are less attachment-related risks involved with having a natural childbirth, I wasn’t trying to prove my devotion to anyone, I was simply trying to start my journey into motherhood with my best foot forward. I know many people who had “unnatural” child births and have a very healthy attachments with their children so in no way am I presuming that a natural child-birth is necessary to achieve that. Studies seem to show it facilitates it and that was just one reason to point me in the direction of an unmedicated birth. (Which I’d like to note, with no shame whatsoever, my birth was NOT completely unmedicated, for details you can read the story here.)
Now, I’m guessing that Elissa wrote this article because she is annoyed by the unnecessary guilt that she assumes others are trying to place on her. I don’t know what to tell you Elissa, I wish women didn’t make you feel that way. I don’t think you did anything wrong. I’m hoping that you can see however, that just because some of us chose to have a natural birth, we know it doesn’t make us better moms than you. You’re right when you said it’s only one day, but I think we can agree that it’s also a very big deal. Please don’t judge my decision to make that day as special as I wanted to in my own way. I won’t judge you either.
** You may notice that I didn’t put any links to my claims about studies saying this or studies saying that. I omitted those purposefully because this article isn’t meant to pump-up natural child-birth, which would only cause further divide. This post is meant to clear the air, so to speak. I just want it to be known that not all natural child-birthers see themselves as “super moms” just because of their birthing choice. Birth is a big deal but, in my opinion, all of the days of motherhood that follow are a much bigger deal.**