“Why would you want to give birth naturallywhen you live in a time in medical history when you don’t have tofeel the pain of childbirth?”
This is the most commonly asked question when a couple decides togive birth without medication and especially when a couple chooses to birth at home. It’s hard to believe that all women were giving birth without medication AND at home just 4 to 6 generations ago. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of couples choosing unmedicated birth but especially homebirth. Last year a study showed that home birth had increased by 29% in a 5 year period. Family and friends of couples choosing to birth natural are trying to understand their reasons.
I’m saddened by the fact that mid-way through my childbirth course most of my students have stopped sharing their birth plans with their family and friends. They feel they must isolate themselves from the people they love and respect simply because they plan to make a choice that their circle of influence doesn’t understand. Their decision comes from the self-preservation instinct. Over the course of my class I teach my student couples to first use positive communication to teach their loved ones why they are choosing to birth naturally. There are a number of books, articles and medical studies that support the choice of natural, unmedicated birth. Loved ones who truly want to understand will read everything they can get their hands on and even take a comprehensive childbirth class (like mine) so they can better understand the “why” behind birthing naturally.
If educating their loved ones does not help them provide only positive support then I teach my student couples that if they are going to “succeed” they must avoid contact with those who oppose their plan. This is not my effort to keep family and friends from sharing in the joy with this couple, but to empower the couple to understand that this life event belongs to them and no one else. No one else has the right to demean or diminish what they are trying to accomplish and no one has the right to plant thoughts of fear in the minds of someone preparing to bring a human being into this world.
As couples learn more about the process and why preparing for a natural, unmedicated birth is the best option for them and their little one, some will also choose to change to a care provider who has a known record for supporting the unmedicated, vaginal, natural birth. Yes, there are some Obstetricians who fit into this category but there are not enough of them to support the number of women who’d like the unmedicated, natural, vaginal birth experience in the hospital. Because of this there are Nurse Midwives but, to my knowledge, Wichita has only one and Wellington does not have any. The more couples learn about the birth process and how to create a plan that fits their unique situation the more a couple may choose to birth at home.
When I planned to birth at home, a friend of mine yelled at me for making such a foolish and uneducated decision and then refused to speak to me because, in her mind, I was going to die. Her response is common among those who are truly uneducated about the process of birth and especially with what happens in a home birth. Most homebirth midwives are well educated on the birth process but also on the complications that might arise during the natural process. They know not to interfere because interference often times leads to complications. They also know when things are “out of their league” and will either transfer to a more knowledgeable midwife or to an OB when the situation warrants it. Their education is extensive and they choose to care for their clients in ways that are supported by the scientific evidence. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing for most OBs and Nurse Midwives.
Finally, women are choosing to birth naturally because they are aware that the choices they make during pregnancy and birth will impact the choices they make as a mother. When a woman gives birth with pitocin and/or medication there are things that will not happen that are designed to happen because the pitocin and/or medication is interfering with the natural bodily responses to the process. What couples really need from their family and friends is the space to make this decision on their own and the love and encouragement to see the process through to the end.
I have been blessed to witness a number of births but my most favorite by far was the birth a little girl who’s mother and grandmother healed their relationship during the birth process. My friend had chosen a home birth and requested my support, which I happily gave. Her mother wasn’t sure about birthing at home but knew her daughter needed to do this “her way” so the mother gave her daughter the space to experience the birth she wanted (this is vital). There were times when this soon-to-be-grandmother wasn’t sure about what was going on but rather than say something to her birthing daughter, which would interfere with her birth process, she left the room and I followed. We would sit quietly in the other room and she would ask me questions about what was happening and why it was different than the births she’d seen in the hospital. I would explain the things that would have been done in the hospital that might have placed both mother and child at risk and encouraged her to continue supporting her daughter ~ knowing that her daughter would know if something was “wrong”. The grandmother-to-be would then take a deep breath and go back to support her daughter and son-in-law. Baby was born after many healing hours of the birthing process and welcomed into the world in a dimly lit, calm and peaceful room. No one did anything to separate that baby girl from her mother. The mother happily passed the little one over to dad and grandma when she was ready. Newborn procedures were completed only when the mother asked for them to be done.
If you are trying to figure out how to support someone through a natural, unmedicated birth, feel free to email me with your questions or sign-up for my comprehensive childbirth course and learn how to trust their choice.