Birth is the climax of a personal journey that you and your baby have taken together. When it’s over, you will see each other for the first time. During labour the baby is fully aware of the intense “hugs” and changes that are occurring in her normally safe and peaceful environment. She has taken comfort in hearing your voice throughout the last nine and a half months, but now, she hears anxiety in her mother’s tone. She needs reassurance, just as you need it from your support people, that everything is OK and it will all be over soon. She needs to feel your love and that you’re in this together and will be there for her when it’s over.
Especially for first time mother’s, childbirth can be daunting to say the least. As I discovered with my first baby, no one can fully prepare you for the intensity of this incredible experience. I remember feeling real panic and desperation for someone to help me. After pleading with my great midwives, I quickly realised that no one could help, it was up to me to get on top of the situation and work with my body and trust it. It knew what it was doing, unlike me! It was incredibly powerful and after 12 hours, I was able to help it push my baby out with every contraction and did so in twenty minutes ! When it was all over, I was still alive and hungry for pizza. I had been fully conscious of my baby’s birth experience and that was a wonderful gift to facilitate bonding. I was able to relate to her fear and distress, and comfort her and myself. We remained connected.
Don’t abandon your baby
I have read about adults undergoing hypnosis and regressing to their birth experience and feeling a real sense of abandonment when their mother received an epidural or other pain-killing medication. Some people may not feel that hypnosis has any validity, but I can’t help but feel that it makes sense.
Preparation through Knowledge
Many women approach labour knowing whether or not they will choose a medicated birth. The important thing is to be as knowledgeable as you can about labour and birth, and find support for your decision. Read the recommended books and consider the impact of your decision on the outcome of your labour. If women receive the right support, labour is not something they need fear instead they can approach it with an air of excitement and anticipation. I agree with other theorists that fear is the foremost factor in creating complications during labour. Women had the strength to endure labour long before doctors gave them drugs to keep them quiet. we need to learn to trust our bodies and our selves once more.
There is an absolute wealth of information and advice on having an enjoyable (or at the very least, uncomplicated) natural birth, and preparing for the event is as important as preparing your home to welcome your new baby.
Putting aside the emotional reasons for delivering naturally, there are plenty of physical reasons also. Regardless of what your doctor or midwife says, the epidural or other medication WILL affect your baby, to varying degrees. It will also limit your ability to move around and get in a more productive position to deliver your baby. Thereby, increasing the need for assistance, such as forceps. It is also harder to feel the “urge to push” which in turn prevents you from feeling the progress your baby makes down the birth canal and in worse cases, stops you from being able to push at all and requiring a caesarean. Despite media hype that some woman are scheduling caesareans for convenience, there are multiple serious reasons why they should be avoided when possible, including, greater risk of infections, bottle-feeding and longer recovery time.
Your home is your castle
For most people their home is their sanctuary. Their personal haven to completely relax in. Why then, is it considered “normal” to experience one of the most personal acts in the unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital? Consider this…..would you and your partner choose to make love in a hospital bed surrounded by half a dozen or so virtual strangers brashly telling you when to speed up, slow down or pressuring you to climax? It might sound extreme, but there are a lot of similar emotions involved. (In reference to “Natural Delivery”, how would you climax if your genitals were numb? In reality, this is can be applied to giving birth.)
Pregnancy is not an illness
Many women feel safer in a hospital environment, “just in case” there are any complications. The truth is, most risks can be determined prior to delivery and thereby the correct precautions can be taken. When animals go into labour, if they are disturbed or feel unsafe, their labour will stop. People are the same. Why then would anyone choose to deliver in an environment associated with illness and with the constant interruption of doctors and midwives? It seems to me that many women labouring in hospital are unprepared for this reality, so progress can often be slow or hard going which can increase the need for assistance and lead to a higher rate of caesareans.
Your Home is Safe
Despite unfounded scare mongering, homebirth in low risk pregnancies is safer than hospital birth. When you consider the facts such as the prevalence of foreign bacteria and harsh stimuli your new-born is vulnerable to in the hospital, it is worth taking a serious look at birthing in the comfort and safety of your own home.
If you insist, they will come…
When I wanted to have my first baby at home back in 1991, I was met with resistance. I was determined but nonetheless frightened that I could be prevented from having my baby where millions of woman had traditionally delivered their babies and where I felt safest. I ended up moving to the US and delivering at home, but have had subsequent babies here in the UK at home without a problem. Be persistent and confident in your request. You are entitled to the joy of a home birth !
This is your moment
It couldn’t be more convenient. You are in control of your birth from the start and most community and lay midwives are only too happy to comply with your requests for labour. You can have candles, music, a waterbirth, your whole family present or even deliver in a cupboard (it happens ! ). You are free of foetal monitoring restraints and stirrups, and the demoralising offers of medication if you’ve chosen to go natural. There is no enema, shaving or episiotomy required, you can choose your birthing position to eliminate or minimise tears and discomfort. It can even be fun ! . When it’s over you can bathe in your own clean bathtub and then climb into your bed with your baby and other family members. It’s peaceful, calm, relaxing and safe. The best way to welcome your baby to the world.
We welcome your birth stories and experiences, poems, essays, in fact anything relating to parenting ! We will publish them on this site every month. It is important that women tell their birth story and very cathartic. The more women that do, the more we can learn and relate to one another. Whether your experience was ecstatic or less than ideal, hospital or home, we look forward to hearing from you.
Want to read more?
Some of my favourite articles on childbirth –
Birth Love – Childbirth customs from around the world
Another link to homebirth here on the Goddess Moon US Pagan parenting site.