Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"The Way of the Peaceful Birther"

 Austin's first diaper changing job on Sammy

With Baby #1, I had a positive, induced epidural hospital birth experience. With Baby #2, I had a negative, natural hospital birth experience. When I first found out I was pregnant with baby # 3, I decided it was embarrassing how little I had researched birth, so I went to the library and just started checking out random books from the birth section. I wanted to be fair, so I checked out the whole spectrum, from books titled something like, "Your Medical Options," to the sort of book I would usually make fun of: "The Way of the Peaceful Birther." (This is actually a real title, complete with pregnant woman in misty wheat field on cover). I have to admit that the natural books were more interesting. Who are these crunchy granola/placenta eating natural birthers? Why do they love plant names for their children, conspiracy theories, and Native Americans so much? And why do I want to join them????

While I haven't jumped on board with encapsulating my placenta yet, (although it's supposed to be quite beneficial) I have officially committed to doing a home birth this time around. As my father-in-law put it after hearing of my intentions, "She's gone to the other side."

It's really hard to explain my decision to people.

Why do I feel like I have to justify the home birth to people? Probably because I think I know what they're thinking. They get the "that's nice" smile and don't really say much.

Why do I care what people think? I don't know, I just do. (Especially when it comes to my mother.)

I want people to know that I know natural birth and home birth are not for everyone, that I respect their birth choices, that I don't secretly look down on them, that my real passion is not for home birth but for every woman to educate herself about birth, the birth process, and the options available to her.

 After chatting with a woman who just got done doing her first home water birth after 6 kids birthed with epidurals and au natural in hospitals and birthing centers, I decided to basically copy and slightly personalize her explanation for why she went for a home birth, because it's easy for people to understand the reasoning behind it:

"The thought of going to the hospital again stresses me out. I have really short labors and I don't want to spend transition, the hardest part of labor, in the car and filling out forms." People get that sort of explanation--it's harder for them to understand my ramblings about my mental and spiritual journey to home water birth and the decisions I tried to make from a place of positivity, not fear. Still, to someone who I felt was really interested, I would probably talk about how I think there's a spiritual element to birth, the possibility of women having a sacred experience as they briefly become portals to another world and archetypes of Christ, something vague but important that I'm having a hard time grasping in the hospital. (All the while trying not to sound too New Age and trying to remember what their birth experience was so I don't offend them.)

So I'm not sure what you think about it, but the journey has begun. My midwife accepted my acceptance of her today, and I will be blogging about that soon!


K La said...

Oddly, the person's whose opinion mattered most to me was also your mom. Not mine (I knew she would be opposed. She was, and spent the whole pregnancy telling me so), but yours. And she was surprisingly supportive. I will always be grateful for that.

I love what you said about "I tried to make from a place of positivity, not fear." That's what I feel home births are all about. The theory is that you aren't sick. You are pregnant, something your body miraculously knows how to handle all by itself. You're not high risk, so there is nothing to be afraid of. The birth is a welcome, joyful experience, not a scary one.

So, are you using Melissa?

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