Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peer Pressure

Two posts? On two consecutive days? You guys must be pretty special or somethin'.

Today, I come with a more controversial topic. Today I come with society's view on natural birth. I will be the first to admit that I imagined myself "giving birth the way God intended- strapped to the table, numbed from the neck down" as Blanche Devereaux states from the Golden Girls (Secretly my husband's favorite show).

However, as I did my research and scoped out my options, I realized that maybe that wasn't what I wanted. I realized I wanted something far less scary than a hospital. I made up my mind that we were going to have a natural birth in an out-of-hospital setting. Enter the critics and nay-sayers (AKA the hospital staff and everyone else) who looked at me wide-eyed and confused when I told them I needed my medical records because I was going to see a Midwife. I didn't think it was too strange at the time, because that's the profession they were in and anything else just didn't seem to make sense to them. 

Fast forward to this morning. This morning I was able to make it to Nick's school's regional competition for MESA. At this competition, I was able to meet a few parents and his co-worker. Nick mentioned in conversation to one of the parents that we were expecting and planned to have a natural birth. The woman, I SHIT you not, covered her mouth in horror. No lie. You can't make this stuff up. She started making remarks like, "Oh my gosh, more power to you! That's great but, you're doing it in the hospital, right?" Now, I could have said yes, and ended it there; but I decided I wanted to see how far her foot could go down her throat. I explained there was a beautiful birth center in our area and we planned to go there for the birth. For some reason she could not understand why someone would want to do this. "But, to me... that's what hospitals are for..." I wanted to scream to her "NO hospitals are for people who have been impaled or shot or NEED medical intervention! Nothing about a normal pregnancy needs medical intervention!" But I bit my tongue and told her to rest easy and that it was choice we made for several different PERSONAL reasons. This woman was really sweet and wonderful to talk to, just this...I could not believe. I chuckled to myself about the conversation for the rest of the day but then it hit me like an eighteen-wheeler at about 8 pm how much it really bothered me. 

Why had society took something so wonderful and precious and beautiful and turned it into something that women dread and are terrified of? Why did America feel the need to bring in doctors and hospitals to the equation when the way it had been done for centuries was perfectly fine? And then it clicked: the almighty dollar. If hospitals and doctors could find a way to get everyone into the hospital, that's more money for the insurance companies and more money for the doctors. So how did they convince 98% of the population that birthing was the only way to go? They scared women shit-less of childbirth. With a 40% C-section rate and a 50% epidural rate, the numbers speak for themselves. What do people think of when they think of giving birth? Blood, screaming, pain, tearing. Why? Because that's what TV and the industry has fed to us over the years. I'm not here to try to persuade anyone into or out of the hospital, I'm just trying to get to the bottom of society's outlook on natural birth. 

It makes me sad that so many women have not been able to experience this and I really hope that books like Your Best Birth  and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth  can get the word out; because America's view on Childbirth is unlike that of ANY other country in the world. And it's really sad. 

Although I know this is common sense and should be inferred, I'll put a disclaimer:
I am aware that not everyone has the chance to experience natural birth due to several medical conditions and unforeseen complications that may arise. For these high-risk pregnancies and unforeseen circumstances, thank God we have OB's and the technology to measure fetal distress and C-sections. 

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