Before I got pregnant with my son, I had never really thought much about childbirth. Other than being totally freaked out watching women scream while their doctors yell “PUSH!” while she’s lying on her back in a hospital bed. You know that movie/tv scene I’m talking about. Totally FRIGHTENING! It wasn’t until I found out that I was pregnant that I had given much thought to how and where I would give birth, but as soon as I became pregnant, it was all I could think about.
One of the first things I thought about after the test turned positive was “wait…I’m gonna have to give birth! How the heck do I do that?!” My mind immediately went to the birth of a friends baby. She had had her baby naturally in a birth center with midwives. Immediately after thinking of her and how beautiful and powerful her birth was, I knew that’s what I wanted, too. She had always talked about this book that helped her through the process and I decided I needed it. I ran to the bookstore (no, seriously. I was at Barnes & Noble within an hour of my positive test result!) and bought Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth. That night I also watched Business of Being Born. That documentary completely sealed the deal for me, and throughout my pregnancy Ina May’s book gave me so much knowledge and confidence that solidified my birth choices.
Just a few days after my positive test result, I told my husband that not only was I going to birth naturally, but I was going to birth with midwives in a birthing center, and not in a hospital. To my surprise, he was totally on board. To be totally honest, I thought he was going to think that I was a complete nut job and say “Nope! Not happening!” so you can only imagine how happy I was when he told me I had his support. I was absolutely terrified to tell our family and friends about my birthing plan, but fortunately I was met with nothing but excitement, support, and respect.
Unfortunately, many women who plan this same route are not shown the same. From doctors, nurses, parents and even spouses, women who want more control over their pregnancies and births are often laughed at, mocked, or totally ignored. I know you’ve heard something along the lines of “Oh, you don’t want the drugs? Do you want a trophy?” Because there couldn’t possibly be a reason to give birth naturally, other than for bragging rights. Right? Wrong! (but ya know, being able to say you birthed a baby without help from pain medication IS pretty empowering!) There are SO many health benefits to both mother and baby when it comes to birthing naturally. There are also many practices done during a woman’s prenatal care and the delivery room that are NOT helpful to mom or baby, many of which are outdated and even totally unnecessary.
I’ve decided to do a series of posts on all things pregnancy and birth, because if there is one topic I’m over the moon passionate about, it’s this one. My goal for this series is to help women to not be afraid of giving birth. I want to share my journey in receiving midwifery care for my pregnancies and what that looks like. I want to share my birth plans and what did and didn’t go as planned. My focus with these posts will be centered around natural birth, but as a woman who has had one very long, complicated, highly medicated emergency induction I’ll be sharing about that experience, too so that you’re not left completely blindsided like I was, just in case your plan goes south. Or maybe you’re like many of my friends and a natural birth is totally not up your alley. That is totally fine! There is no judgement here, sis! I want you go in to your birth armed with the knowledge and tools that you need to have success, whatever your plan may be. My hope is that I can help you feel confident in your God given abilities to give birth without fear. I can’t wait dive in to this series with you!