Hazel and I went to Cathy's home for a little Momma party, lot's of homebirth mommas. Lots of happy babies. It's nice to be with people who get you. We are different. We had babies, and we loved every second of it. EVERY second. We can't wait to do it again. Most women these days don't feel that way. They want a baby, but they would happily skip the whole labor and birth part. Not us.
It seems to me, and this is my own observation, that the women who think that laboring naturally is so difficult, and excruciating are not the ones who actually did it. Generally, they are the ones who had induced, medicated hospital births. They call us crazy for even trying, and tell us good luck in a skeptical tone.
There are exceptions on all sides. Women who loved their hospital births, natural or not. Women who hated their homebirths, whether they were normal or complicated.
The real problem I think is that too many women face childbirth without having a complete understanding of their options. Me and the other homebirth mommas, we did our research. We asked questions. We knew very clearly the risks and benefits of EVERY option. We educated ourselves, and then we made the best decision for our baby first and foremost, as well as for ourselves. I'm sure there are many women who educate themselves just as well, weigh the risks vs. benefits of their options and choose differently. The fact is that whichever option we chose, we all made an EDUCATED decision.
If you did not do your research, If you do not understand the risks of induction, epidurals, and C-sections, episiotomies, and hospital protocols nor have you studied the benefits of natural uninterrupted comfortable labors, and you haven't looked at the actual maternal mortality rate comparisons, DO NOT feel like you have any right to criticise my decision. Question it, sure, but if you question it, do some research, find out why I might have done what I did, or actually be willing to listen to what I have to say.
I haven't had too many negative reactions towards our homebirth. More positive. More people have said that it is the best way to do it, or that women have been giving birth for thousands of years at home or in huts or in fields. When I do have a negative reaction though, it hurts. I don't mean when people openly tell me that I was taking a huge risk or being irresponsible. That has only been said once. I mean the reactions where people say I am so lucky that everything went well. When people tell me that their child, grandchild, friend's, sister's cousin's child would have died had they not been at the hospital. I know what these people are thinking. They think I am foolish. They think what I did was not only crazy, but they believe I risked mine, and my child's life. I feel attacked. I don't know how to respond to that.
I want to tell them all of the things I know about the mismanagement of Childbirth in Hospitals. Why some of these things that happened may actually have been a result of being in the hospital, or being induced. I want to tell them about our bodies innate ability to give birth. I want to tell them the risks and benefits of everything I want to tell them that C-sections are major surgeries that are done far too often, and that Some hospitals are even banning elective C sections and early inductions due to scientific evidence confirming the risks. And I want to say that our babies are not too big for our bodies. An 11 lb baby used to be normal, and in some places still is. I want to tell them that hospitals and doctors save lives, but when they look so hard for a problem, they sometimes find one where there is none. They perform unnecessary procedures, which can lead to more and more complications. We should question the alternatives, the risks, the benefits. We should be involved in these decisions. We shouldn't blindly hand ourselves and our babies over to them, without asking questions. I want to tell them that birth can be wonderful beautiful amazing, wherever it takes place. I worry it is not my place, and I worry that they wouldn't believe me. wouldn't even give it a second thought.
Instead I don't say anything. I sit there while my momma gut curls it's tail under. I feel like I can't talk about my experience at this point, because they have just told me how horrible birth is. I feel like if I did, I would be belittling their experience, like they have just belittled mine. And just MAYBE I think to myself, that this particular person really did need that C section, or that baby really was in trouble and it was good that they were at the hospital. Not likely though.
Another thing has been on my mind. Christians believe that we were given perfect bodies, created by God, in his own image. If God created these perfect bodies, he surely meant for them to give birth without help. He would not have made the enormous error resulting in childbirth being a dangerous medical event. On the contrary, it is a natural bodily function, more important and amazing than any other. It was meant to happen anywhere in any setting without intervention. God is the creator, and he created the process of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. He did not make a mistake. He would not make us unable to give birth, and he would not have allowed our bodies to grow a baby too large to fit through our pelvis. Patience....Labor is a process. It takes time to enlarge your pelvic opening, and stretch your birth canal. Perhaps another reason so many suffer tearing. the birth process is rushed. Mine wasn't. It happened in its own time, and I did not tear.
My grandfather has something like 5 siblings. His mother had two sets of twins. ALL at home. The children were what today's society would view as too big. between 8-12 pounds. Even the twins were that big. she never lost her, or her child's life during childbirth......hmm....the likelihood that 30%-40% of women receiving emergency c-sections in the US these days actually need them is pretty slim when you look at those odds.
So many believe that life is full of difficult experiences and that those experiences teach us. It is how we learn and grow. They have a purpose. Perhaps the hardships we face in labor and birth have a purpose as well. It certainly made me a much more empowered young woman. It prepared me to be a happy, confident momma. Maybe this was meant to be felt in the transition from girlhood to motherhood. We are supposed to work hard to bring these little beings into the world. We cherish them all the more. We have an immediate connection. A bond that cannot be broken.
Childbirth was HARD WORK. Contractions were painful at times, but it was not excruciating. I handled it. I had to work hard to relax. I moved around, changed positions, and I handled it, and HONESTLY when Hazel was crowning, and when she slipped out there was NO PAIN. Only pressure. Then the pressure was gone, and I held my baby and I stared at her. That moment erased the exhaustion. I had a burst of energy. I felt like I could do anything! I am still riding that high.
Some people think that when it comes to big decisions in our lives we should ask god or the universe to help us make a decision. I didn't pray, but I sure did do my research, and i did listen to my gut. I entered this pregnancy afraid. Afraid of losing a baby. Afraid of the pain of childbirth. Confused at how something so large could fit through a small orifice. I completely trusted my health care provider. I read the books she gave me. I listened to what she said. I didn't feel good. So I read other books. I asked for recommendations from other mommas. I was asking the universe for help with MY decision. As I slowly started gravitating towards a more natural birth experience that fear and anxiety began to subside. I pressed on in that direction, following the peaceful promptings that some people might believe to be the spirit guiding them. When I met my midwife, and made my decision it was not only based on my knowledge, but on these peaceful promptings. At that point I knew my decision was the right one. I had faith in that feeling. I followed my Momma gut. Perhaps it is because the universe knew that my particular birth would be normal and natural and uncomplicated. Perhaps the experience I would have would be essential to my success as a mother, or in life. It sure is a good thing I followed it. Maybe next time it will tell me that despite my knowledge and previous experience, that I should go to the hospital for this one. If my gut said to, I would follow it.
So I guess what I am saying is that women should educate themselves. Find out EVERY option. Then when you feel you know all there is to know, follow your gut. If you do that, you will make the right decision no matter which one, and you will know it is right.
I'm going to try not to be so sensitive now. I know I made the right decision for me, and it absolutely doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it. I am a good Momma. That is that.