Sharing Birth Stories

A friend and I took our children to a nearby park one morning. While they played we chatted about a myriad of subjects, one was natural birth.

*Sigh* Now, to clear it up right away, when I say “natural” birth I don’t mean the word to be synonymous with vaginal birth as vaginal birth can include all kinds of unnatural interventions. So, natural here means natural- no “additives”- at all. I’ve given birth to all my children vaginally but my first birth wasn’t a natural birth at all.

As the birthing climate changes, more and more people are at least entertaining the idea of natural childbirth. And, a lot of (not all of) the ones who are serious enough to put things into motion are getting just that. These people educate themselves. They hire a care provider that is philosophically aligned with their plans for their birth. They read books, they watch videos like “The Business of Being Born” and “Orgasmic Birth”. They hire a doula to help them achieve their goals. They know what they want and they go after it full steam ahead and a lot of the time they get it. Sometimes, they don’t.

I have a client now who contacted me before she was even pregnant! She told me about her first birth and said it wasn’t at all what she wanted. It ended in a cesarean and she really wants to go for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) the second time around. She researched doctors and midwives who support VBAC’s and really did a lot of leg work before she conceived and she’s now expecting her next bundle in the Spring. Naturally, I can’t wait to see her come into the knowledge of what her body can do. It’s always wonderful to see women give birth in the way that’s most comfortable for them. It makes me feel proud to be a woman.

These women, women much like myself, who’ve had traumatic births and go on to have more enjoyable births love to share their birth stories with anyone who’ll listen. Frankly, I got tired of hearing people talk about how I was crazy for “going natural” and giving birth outside the hospital, so it was one of many motivating factors for me to write a book about my births. (See book here)

But, what about the women who desire a natural birth but don’t get it? What about the ones who didn’t want one to begin with? What about the women who didn’t know any better and simply “got what they got”?

I say, share those stories too. We need to hear them all. We need to come to grips with the fact that a lot of us will indeed do better when we know better. I wanted a natural birth with my first child but I didn’t know that my birth plan would be ignored by the doctor and hospital staff.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I’d done my research and I knew that to ensure the type of birthing experience I wanted, I needed to stay out of the hospital. That’s what I was comfortable with. I knew that there was a possibility with my birthcenter and home birth that something could happen that would require a transfer to the hospital. I was ok with that because I knew that if that happened, I’d have the interventions because I and/or my baby needed them. It wouldn’t be due to someone wanting to take control of my birth.

When I share my birth stories, it’s just that, me sharing my birth stories. I’m not out to make others feel inferior at all. I want to help people. If my stories can help other women have better birthing experiences, I’m thrilled. I don’t want anyone to experience the kind of birth I had with my first daughter.

So please, share your birth stories. Share the good, the bad and even the ugly. We need to hear them all so that we can grow and learn from them.

2 thoughts on “Sharing Birth Stories

  1. Hey Patrice!
    Cool article! My son nursed until 2 years and few months old and then just naturally stopped….I know there are alot of internal ambivalent feelings about extended nursing and also how generally unsupportive our society is. Yes, painful that so many violent things (video games for instance with lots of killing) are accepted as normal but not an act that is truly natural, spreads lovingkindness, and is truly a caring intimate communicative act. And yet again, there are so many child-rearing books that support more aggressive parenting methods, and are accepted.
    Patrice, you rock on!

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