Our Culture's Conditioning
We live in a culture where birth is considered a medical event. However, normal, physiological birth works! Now, that is not to say that you are “wrong” if you choose to birth in a medical setting or with interventions. It also does not mean that interventions are not necessary at times. What it does mean is that we’ve been conditioned to view birth as a dangerous and painful event, rather than a beautiful and life-changing experience. Shows, movies and even people’s stories can scare us into believing labor and birth is not something we want to experience, and, maybe for some, it’s not. But, I believe that many people who think they do not want to experience the pain of labor have been taught that they do not want to experience it. I say this from personal experience.
Prior to pregnancy, and even shortly into pregnancy, I was confident I was NOT going to experience the pain of labor; I was adamant that I would choose to get an epidural as soon as possible once in labor. I admit that I had been conditioned to believe I would not want to experience it all, from hearing my mom’s arduous story of my own birth to my first couple obstetric prenatal appointments. The only images I had of labor and birth were images of women screaming bloody murder and barely making it to the hospital in time to birth or women accidentally birthing babies in vehicles with “heroic first responders” coming to their rescue, as though everything would not have been okay had they not showed up in time. I had jumped to conclusions before I had done my own in-depth research.
The truth is that women inherently know how to birth. They have every right to birth the way they want to and where they want to. This is where I believe support is helpful and can be necessary, especially in a medical setting. If a woman chooses to birth in a medical setting, that is perfectly okay, but she should still be able to labor the way she chooses and not be confined to a “time frame” or position or receive unwanted or unnecessary interventions. This can be difficult for the woman to ensure once she is at a certain point in labor, as she probably is not in a position of rational decision-making. This is where support, such as a doula is great! A doula can remind the woman of her wishes and remind the nurses and doctors, if necessary. The same goes for a homebirth. If a woman chooses to birth at home, she might find it helpful to have a doula present to support her physically and emotionally through labor, including reminding her if she does not want to transfer to a hospital unless necessary.
My plea to you is to do your own research, make informed decisions and find the support that works for you.