When we decided to deliver our little Rosebud at a Birth Center instead of a hospital, we got lots of questions and comments.
“Why would you go through all that pain if you don’t have to?” “How can that be safe?” “It doesn’t seem sanitary.” “Are you crazy?” “That’s such a hippy thing to do.” “My cousin tried to have a natural birth and had to be transferred to a hospital and almost DIED on the way.” “What if you need a C-Section?” “Are you scared?” “You know, there’s no medal for having a natural birth.”
It seems that for every choice you make as a parent, someone has roughly 7.65 horror stories of others who made the same decision. Choosing natural birth is no different. Knowing that most people do not have ill intentions behind their questions or stories, I tried to respond as graciously as I could while still sticking to our choice. However, I wanted to take some time to answer some of those questions here so hopefully I can provide some information on any who might be hesitant about natural birth or any who might genuinely think we’re crazy.
1. “Why would you go through all that pain if you could choose to have drugs instead?”
First of all, we didn’t come to this decision very quickly. I won’t pretend that I am very brave, or that I have a very high pain tolerance. On the contrary, I am quite the wimp. I read birth stories, watched documentaries, and talked to many Mamas. I finally came to realize that I was not sick, I was pregnant. The pain of labor is purposeful. Unlike breaking a bone or being wildly ill where you may need medication, labor was just that- labor. It was work, but it was a natural process and as long as I had a healthy, normal pregnancy I didn’t need any unnecessary intervention.
Secondly, my reading and research showed me that unnecessary medications for delivery did not have a good track record. Since birth moved into the hospital, several different drugs and methods have been used to “take away the pain” and have had devastating side effects. I highly recommend seeing “The Business of Being Born” (free on YouTube and Netflix). I watched this documentary several times throughout my pregnancy for inspiration and to remind myself why we made the choice we did!
2. “Is it safe?”
Yes. Certified Nurse Midwives are highly trained and experienced in what they do. They handle healthy, normal pregnancies and deliveries. If any intervention (C-Section, Pitocin, etc..) is necessary, they will detect that quickly and a transfer to a hospital will be made. Otherwise, choosing a good birth center or even delivering at home with a midwife is safe, sanitary, and normal.
3. “Would you do it again?”
Yes. But I’ll be honest. Immediately afterwards, I wasn’t sure I would ever have a baby again. Ha. (I know I’m not the only one who has felt that way!) And honestly, I’m still scared of the next time around! But I know what to expect now, and in hindsight I know what I could have done differently to help my labor move faster: walking more, drinking water early on, and (hopefully) having a water birth. All of which I am free to do in a natural birth setting, as I am not hooked up to any machines or IV’s. I enjoyed feeling in control of my actions as I gave birth to my baby. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
And as for the comments about it being a “hippy” thing to do, I just say “please meet my husband.” “Hippy” is #1 on the list of words that DON’T describe him (though it might be in the top 5 that do describe me :)), but he IS a man who researches and makes decisions based on facts. Many people spend more time researching a new computer or car than they spend researching their options for birth! And while there is no medal for having a baby naturally, I will say there is a wonderful sense of strength and awe at what God does within the heart and body of a woman in labor.
These are the most common questions and comments I’ve received, but I am always open to more. Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me! I’m not shy. 🙂