I have been thinking more about labor and delivery these days, since they should be upon me in the next four to ten weeks. And I keep thinking about the moms around me, and the control they've either taken themselves of their pregnancies and births or have relinquished to care givers, not knowing their options.
Let me start right off by saying that I know most everybody wants the very best for their children and themselves, so stories like these can make people feel regretful about their own journeys if they were different. And I hate that! Feeling threatened or judged, we avoid talking or thinking about complex issues. But every story has room for redemption - that's what I think - whether a person is done having kids or not. So, hopefully these will inspire you in one way or another, maybe having nothing to do with childbearing!
These two friends, one from college and one from the blogosphere, recently had babies, and their blog stories are beautiful (and eerily similar), although they expressed them quite differently! Melissa's story is longer and more descriptive of the specific choices she made, so that's helpful for those in the same boat who want ideas. Both women had their first children (boys) five or six years ago by C-Section. Both were disappointed in the births and wondered in hindsight if their C-sections could've been avoided. Both adopted their second children. Melissa had a third child by VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) two years ago, and both just had little girls by VBAC in the last few months. The differences in their second and third births were tremendous; they educated themselves on what they could do differently and they chose care givers with similar values. In regard to large babies (which both had with the first), they both carefully watched their diet this time (and other things) and were rewarded with babies who were about 8.5 pounds.
Melissa's story about Amarys
Autumn's story about Mavis
For moms-to-be, or women who hope to one day be mothers, I urge you, I beg you, please immerse yourself in these and similar stories. For some odd reason, it's not a mainstream idea to take control of your pregnancy and delivery, to ask questions, and to go with your maternal instincts. So if you're just going by what you hear, you'll think childbirth is mostly about pain and struggle (and that modern medical interventions are there to save you). But the rewards for birthing the way your body intended are out of this world! And from what these two women say, there's a lot of redemption to be had, ways you can heal from past trauma and disappointment in birth.
While I'm talking about stories, I'll throw out a suggestion for one of my favorite birth books, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Ina May is like the guru of midwives in the United States, and this book of hers is insightful and empowering. The whole first half is birth stories, and the second half is practical things you can do at various points of pregnancy and labor to have a natural, safe, and fearless delivery. She studied indiginous childbirth around the world and learned from midwives who don't have medical options at their fingertips, but she's not opposed to medical care when a true emergency arises.
The secret to natural childbirth is not that birth is pain free, but that women are strong.
- paraphrase of a quote I read in a clinic and can't find the source for