So it's no secret that I absolutely love babies, and the birthing process in general. I'm a natural birth enthusiast for sure, but at the same time, I understand that how women choose to birth is a very personal decision. I hope that all women can go into the birthing process understanding all of their options and the possible repercussions that come along with each.
But here's the thing that has me livid right now... I was watching an episode of the Lifetime show called "One Born Every Minute" and not once, but twice now have I witnessed the following:
The pregnant mom comes to the hospital, and tells everyone in the room that she would like to have a natural drug free delivery. Then, the contractions begin to intensify and the mom starts to question her choice (as I'm sure we all do). However, instead of having her birth team support her through the hard parts, they encourage her to go for the epidural. Why!? One laboring Mama told her mother "I'm afraid I won't have the strength to push the baby out," to which the Mother responded "Honey, you probably won't. Getting the epidural is the best decision I ever made."
WHAT!?!? Why would you ever do that!?!?
I wanted to crawl through my TV screen and strangle those women who are telling these scared mothers that they "probably wouldn't" be able to deliver their babies naturally. We are women. Strong, amazing women. We were made to have babies, without the help of epidurals or even an entire hospital staff. Gasp!
I am so incredibly thankful that I had such an amazing and supportive team around me when I delivered my daughter. Trisha, our doula of Serenity Birth Services was the best thing that ever happened to me and my husband. (The poor guy was like a deer in headlights until she came in and saved the day.) She also taught our childbirth classes, which were amazing. She enabled us to go into the hospital setting prepared for anything. Between her and my midwife out of the UNT Nurse Midwives office, I knew that I could do this- even in my darkest moments of self-doubt. And wouldn't you know it, I found the inner strength to deliver my baby naturally, without so much as a Tylenol, which is exactly what I wanted to do. And in doing so, I realized that I can truly do anything. It was the most empowering experience of my entire life and I only wish that other Moms could have the same for themselves (if that's what they have set out to do.)
If you're pregnant or know someone who is, may I please offer you a few helpful hints:
1. Stop watching all the birthing shows on TV. They are so one-sided, it's mind blowing.
2. Start reading Birth Without Fear. It is the most amazing, uplifting and empowering birthing blog out there. She's also on Facebook .
3. Before you decide to have an induction, epidural....etc... please, PLEASE do your research.
While modern medicine has come a long way, it's not fool-proof and you need to know what you're getting yourself into. I always recommend Henci Goer's book called The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. I always thought I wanted the epidural. Always. I thought "why would you go through all of that agony when there's all this great stuff out there to eliminate the pain?" I never thought I'd be a natural birther. Ever. But my friend recommended that book to me and I was hooked within 5 minutes. I read it cover to cover in 3 days and never looked back. If you're not into reading as much, or are reading too much already, watch the documentary "The Business of Being Born." I had my parents watch it with me, and afterward they were fully on board with my decision to go drug free. It sheds an amazing light on the birthing process in our country, something that we should all be aware of.
4. If you want to have an unmedicated birth, talk to your friends and family beforehand to find out their stance on the issue. If they aren't fully, and I do mean FULLY, supportive; they do not need to be a part of your birth experience. There are so many other ways to find the support you're looking for and the last thing you need when the time comes are people who doubt your decision and abilities. I know that most girls want their moms around, just make sure that Mom is going to support YOU and not her own agenda.
5. Ask your OBGYN about their induction rate, C-Section rate....etc. You may be shocked at what you find out. I know I was. I switched healthcare providers at 20 weeks in and am beyond thankful that I did.
Regardless of how you decide to birth, I hope more than anything that you go into it fully educated, with as much love and support as you can handle.
Love to you all.