Whoa, whoa, pump the brakes! You’re a doula telling me to forget natural childbirth?
Yep. Pretty much. And here’s why:
First, I’m not suggesting you forego your goals of having a medication-free birth! By “forget natural childbirth,” I mean the phrase natural childbirth and the air of superiority that comes with it.
Because, really, what does it even mean? Dictionaries can’t even agree on what exactly it means to have a natural childbirth. Some say “a method of giving birth to a baby in which the mother
chooses not to use drugs to reduce pain or to make the birth happen more quickly.” Another says, “childbirth involving little or no use of drugs or anesthesia and usually involving a program in which the mother is psychologically and physically prepared for the birth process.”
So, which is it? Is it no pain medication? Is it some? Is it a little? What about inductions? You need to take a childbirth education class? Where is the line drawn? Who gets to run a victory lap and shout to the world that they had a natural childbirth? Along those same lines, who has to sit sulking on the sidelines because their birth was unnatural?
Throughout pregnancy, birth, and parenthood we hear so many phrases with some less-than-lovely connotations. Terms like incompetent cervix or failure to progress don’t do much for the confidence of a person who is pregnant or giving birth. Even terms like c-section or section have a detached, “medical” vibe that might make you feel more like a patient and less like a human having a baby. And then we have phrases like natural birth, an accomplishment worth celebrating for many, the highly-praised Holy Grail of birthing (which, as evidenced by the definitions above, is actually quite confusing).
There is room for all of us to run a victory lap.
We are all worthy of celebrating the various ways our glorious babies came into this world. Shout that you pushed that baby out with nothing but a pool of warm water! Shout that you had a little help from a shot of Fentanyl or a lot of help from that blessed epidural! Shout your cesarean! Let me celebrate with you. There is no hierarchy for how natural your birth turns out to be. Let’s grow together, be cautious of our language and recognize the implications of our words.
If you’re interested in the unbiased, nonjudgmental support of Placerville Doula, give us a call at (530) 903-0337 or send us an email at email@example.com