Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Built to Birth

34 weeks now.... Only a few more to go!

I know I say this a lot, but seriously- It is kind of scary how quickly time goes. Luckily I left myself with plenty to do in these last few weeks so I can keep it that way.

Nick and I have been talking a lot about what I am going to do for income when Oliver is born. First; I'm going to stay at home for a couple of months so that I can give him all the attention he needs. Then, I am going to take the first steps towards doing what I have deemed a dear passion of mine: midwifery.

As some of you may know, I was about to start this journey before I became pregnant myself. It was kind of ironic, but then speaking with my midwives, whom I was talking with about apprenticeship beforehand, apparently it happens all the time. Your body goes into baby making mode if you surround yourself with new babies and information on babies, moms, and birth. So... whoops.

Truthfully, it was great timing in my eyes. We had been talking about how much we wanted kids of our own, but we were just too afraid of not being ready (when are you ever really "ready", anyways?), and then BOOM! I was pregnant. I feel very fortunate for it being so easy for us. I know the kinds of struggles that so many women go through to have children of their own, and it is not something that we look at lightly in this family. It is such a profound feeling, that we are so eternally grateful for, to be able to have children of our own.

ANYWAYS: So before I got pregnant, I drowned myself in information on birth; from the emotional standpoint, the physical, the mental, and everything in between. How it affects the mother as well as the child. How it can be the most empowering, beautiful, sensual, and important event of a woman's life, or one of the most traumatic and unfortunate. I think the strongest sense I got out of all of this information besides my passion for sharing all of it, was that I suddenly understood just how misinformed most women (especially American women) are about childbirth.

In this country, women are taught from a very young age that childbirth is painful. That it is scary or shameful. Most women honestly believe that their bodies are not even capable of birth; that somehow, their pelvis is too small to birth their babies, or their body doesn't know how to push a baby out, or the worst: they aren't strong enough to have babies.

Let's make one thing unavoidably clear here before I go any further. If you are a woman; if you were born with all the lady parts and pieces, YOU CAN GIVE BIRTH. You can have a baby just fine on your own. You don't need help. Now, of course, this is excluding any women who have legitimate health reasons for not giving birth naturally. And I do mean legitimate. More often than not, the reasons given to women by their doctors for them to not give birth naturally are for the doctor's benefit, not for the woman's safety. As backwards as that sounds, it truly is what birth has boiled down to in this country: a business, and nothing more.

How many times have you heard that a woman's baby was "just too big to be delivered vaginally"? Did you know that women all around the world give birth to 9, 10, 11... even 12 pound babies every day? And no, it doesn't mean that their bodies are permanently scarred for the rest of their lives, or that they will be somehow injured in the process. Your body will not make a baby that is too big for you, unless you have issues with gestational diabetes, or another related disorder. Very few women actually have pelvic bones that are too small to birth their babies; when they do it is typically related to a birth defect (which would have caused other issues, meaning you would be well aware before giving birth) or to a broken pelvis that did not heal properly. We are not all born incapable of birthing babies. How do you think our species survived for hundreds of thousands of years without medical interventions and cesarean sections? And yes, you can try to argue that more women and babies died in those times, but in most cases that was due to unsanitary conditions, infections, and disease; NOT the act of giving birth or some physical barrier innate in our women.

Unfortunately, although medical intervention for birthing may have started out with a purpose (to give birth a more sanitary and safe environment) it has evolved into something drastically different. Hospitals are one of the dirtiest places to give birth. Hospitals are where people go when they are sick. They can try to sterilize completely, but wouldn't you feel better knowing for sure you are in an environment that hasn't been exposed to TB and staph? I know I do. On top of that, the interventions used so routinely by doctors these days CAUSE more c-sections than they prevent. If you receive pitocin to induce labor, you are twice as likely to need an emergency cesarean section as you would have been if you had gone into labor naturally. Not only that, but hospitals are a business. You can't have a 24 hour birthing time at a busy hospital. They want you in and out so they can get someone else in that bed. Unfortunately, this means that pitocin is becoming EXTREMELY overused, practically to the point of it being a normality. It is sad, really. There are countless numbers of women receiving drugs and unnecessary surgeries (that are MAJOR surgeries, this isn't getting your teeth pulled.) that could have been avoided in the first place. You know laying on your back is physiologically the WORST position to birth in?? It closes the pelvis and causes you to have to push your baby against gravity, as your pelvis is then tilted upwards. No wonder so many women have such a hard time having babies in that position. You know who benefits from that position? Not the baby. Certainly not the mother... but the doctors. Because then they can see what is happening. Then they (god forbid) don't have to be in an uncomfortable position to observe (which is really all they are doing) your birth. Come on ladies!!! Where is the logic??

Birth should not be a scary event. It shouldn't be traumatic. Yet when all women are exposed to when it comes to birth are shows like "A Baby's Story" and "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant", it becomes understandably hard to be confident in our bodies. If you take nothing else from this bog post; remember this. Trauma and drama sell. Beautiful, easy, comfortable, confident births would get horrible ratings, because there would be no "edge of your seat" kind of action, no emergencies to speak of. So please, when you see women writhing in pain, being told their babies are going to die if they don't give in to emergency intervention, know that there were probably plenty of other births that were filmed for the show that went smoothly and quietly, but you will never see them because of the lack of drama they depict. Not every birth is scary and traumatic. Watch this one and see:
Many of you may have seen this video already. This woman is a chiropractor in Canada. She filmed and aired her birth through a live internet feed for anyone to watch. THAT, my friends, is confidence. The sounds  she makes are not that of pain, they are from the intensity that comes with birth. Yes, it is very intense. It is a huge thing your body goes through, and I never want to imply that it is easy. But if you listen to her when she speaks, it is almost comical. At 6:41, she has just about birthed her baby's head, and she calmly says, "The head is almost out." She calls her daughter to come and see. She even giggles! She isn't reaching out for someone to help her, or looking for guidance. She follows her body and knows that she is safe. In that place, she can relax. When she actually births her baby around 8:42, she doesn't even make a peep! She ended up having a beautiful, fast, accidentally unassisted birth in the quiet and comfort of her own home.

This may seem like such an anomaly to so many people, but it really happens all the time! Sure, many women are still not as confident and relaxed as she is, and yes, many times in the heat of birthing time women get very scared. Especially with first babies, that is to be expected. It is a brand new experience, and it IS so intense and powerful, it can take over our emotions. But that is just it; it is OKAY. It is okay to be nervous. We just need to keep in mind that we CAN do it. That we just need to listen to our bodies. That even if it is your first time, you are not clueless. Your body and mind were quite literally BUILT for birthing.

I know at this point I am just ranting. I tend to do that when I start talking about something I feel very passionate about. I just feel like it is high time for women to wake up. Open your eyes and look at the situation logically. Trust your body, don't fear it or it's power. You and your baby made it this far on your own; you don't need help now!

If you are expecting, I just ask that you do your research. Know what you are getting into with how you will give birth. And by all means; go to a hospital! Have a hospital birth if you just aren't comfortable with home birth. But be prepared to be pressured, and know how to deal with that.

Until my next obligatory rant on babies and birthing... sheesh. Take care of yourselves.

(Oliver now has the hiccups, so I will take that as his way of saying, "So long, folks!")

1 comment:

  1. You are an inspirational young woman. So very proud of you, love your blog keep it coming. Haha, and now if I got prego, I would have to say it would take place at home. But you have changed my mind in so many ways....your awesome....XOXO