Natural Childbirth

I admit it. I was a doubter.  I’m not the only one though.  I often get asked why a woman would want a natural birth.

We’ve heard other women talk about it. Why a natural labor is better.

-You feel empowered.

-Your body was built to do this.

-There is lower risk for intervention.

-Recovery is so much easier

-It is so much better for your baby.

Statements that seem like common sense but don’t always coincide with life experience.  Most people don’t understand why any woman would choose to go through that degree of suffering willingly.

My first exposure to childbirth, before the days of anesthesia, was an act right out of a horror movie. Women labored in a ward, separated by only by a curtain.  Alone. Afraid. The terror in their eyes is something that still haunts me.  Then I saw it. A planned natural birth.  I can only describe it as that same feeling you get when you witness a sunset for the first time or gaze at the stars on a dark summer night.

Birth can be a wonder of nature.

I have seen peace in its purest form as a woman clutches her newly born child to her chest. Witnessed joy at its fullest as a new father is brought to tears. Watched a newborn raise it’s head to gaze in his mother’s eyes.  It gives a feeling that somehow all is right with the world.

This is where natural birth advocates, midwives and doulas, differ from the general population. Somehow they have been let in on the secret.  Birth in its pure form is a thing of beauty. Birth can be a spiritual experience.

That’s why some women become so passionate about it. Like a convert in newly found religion.  It is difficult to understand unless you see or experience it for yourself.  Should everyone have a natural birth? I don’t think so.  Natural birth isn’t for everyone.  We all have different perceptions of pain.  Cope in different ways.  Have different belief systems.  It shouldn’t be something we need to prove to others to validate our role as a mother.

If you are thinking about a natural labor here are some questions to ask yourself

Are you afraid of labor?

What is your vision of childbirth?

Do you view it as something dangerous or a natural process?

Why do you want a natural birth?

Are you doing it for you or are you trying to please someone else?

What is your pain tolerance?

Is your family supportive?

To give birth without medication you have to believe in yourself and the process.  You have to trust in your body and those around you.  You have to prepare yourself, mind, body, and spirit.  How you choose to give birth is a very personal decision that only you can make. No one knows your body more than you.  No one can judge your comfort level or coping strategy.  Not your spouse, your mother, your sister, or your best friend.

Birth is something that can’t be orchestrated. We can’t control it. We can’t plan how things unfold.  Nature calls the shots.  Like a beautiful sunset, birth is a gift.

If you are interested in a natural labor and birth stay tuned for my tips to a successful natural birth in next month’s blog.