Giving Birth

After hearing about a couple of friend’s recent arrival (here’s one), it got me thinking more about choices we have made so far in this pregnancy.  We’ve elected to go the route of midwives, simply because I’ve never liked the idea of giving birth in a hospital. And the very first questions my husband had answered by the midwife was about their safety records & and involvement of registered doctors, if anything goes wrong.  I had done some research beforehand and felt comfortable, and after that first visit, so did he.  Our visits are so unlike any other doctor visits (maybe because they’re NOT doctor’s visits).

Hospitals feel too restrictive…or at least, it seems to me  like too much intervention was being done when birth is “processed” through the hospital, in stories from other people, print or the media.

I wanted to do something more natural, or at least, give it a try.   I don’t really like most doctor’s offices – you’re rushed through more often than not and never seem to have time to discuss anything with the doctors.  That’s probably why I only see my doc once a year for a prescription refill (though, my doc is a nice guy and does take the time to chat).

We watched the film The Business of Being Born last week. It’s a documentary about natural birth and midwives, and contrasts this option with the “typical” American business of birth – hospitals, epidural & pitocin, and possible c-sections (or even scheduled c-sections!). I really liked this quote about the movie: “Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?”  This really gets to the heart of the typical American birth.

Most countries around the world do utilize and encourage home births and midwives.  In this country, some people think I’m some sort of crazy hippy for going to a midwife.  When they hear I’d be willing and would prefer to give birth at home (which we may do  for the second baby, someday), they act like I’m endangering my future child.

What bothers me the most about this type of response from other people is the lack of knowledge about midwives (no – they do not cut the babies’ umbilical code with their teeth ! – an actual question!!!), their safety record or even the ability to conceive that not every person wants to give birth in the hospital. Some people just can’t seem to understand that maybe giving birth in the hospital isn’t what’s natural about this very natural process.  It’s just become a given, and if you deviate from that “norm”, you’re looked down upon and even told you’re risking the life of your baby.

When did this natural part of life become something schedule or get done in the quickest amount of time? It all comes down to money and the medical system, I think.  Which could lead to a whole other blog post! It doesn’t help that, it seems to me, that many women look down upon other women for choices that make, be it the birth process, their parenting style, or what have you.  Maybe if we were all a bit more open and tolerant, things might change.  Again, probably a  whole other blog post!

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