Why any woman would choose to have a baby unmedicated is an oddity to some. I think this lack of understanding stems from a general misunderstanding of the birth process; the idea that birth is unbearably painful, and the only way through it comfortably is to medicate the body. Some even have a hard time accepting that the baby will fit through the exit safely. Where there is misunderstanding, there is bound to be division among people.
The particular misunderstanding I am pondering at the moment is the idea that women who decide on a natural birth are trying to prove something. That natural birth is pointless given modern technology’s greatest gift, the epidural.
Now don’t get me wrong. I received an epidural during my son’s birth, and that was the one drug that I felt was necessary given the circumstances. The reason this notion bugs me is because I find it quite unsettling that anyone would ever misread me, or anyone for that matter, as trying to prove something for no good reason.
I can’t speak for every woman, but I know that for me it went beyond trying to prove something. Heck, I signed up for the pain management program, Hypnobabies, because I am not someone who deals with pain well. For me, the decision to go natural was so that I could bring my baby into the world safely. So that I could become more familiar with my body and what it is capable of. I also sought to find out if Grantly Dick-Read was right about childbirth being a normal process that can be comfortable for the majority of women given the right preparation.
It wasn’t until I experienced how empowering natural birth can be, that I understood at a deeper level why my intuition steered me towards it.
There is something that happens to a woman when she feels the rushes, and allows the power to surge through her body without fighting it. When this happens a woman is at one with her body. She is allowing her body to work per it’s design as to facilitate the arrival of the unborn baby. Being connected during this intense process can be transformational, as a woman is forced to confront her deepest fears and scale walls she never thought possible. A woman empowered through birth knows her inner strength and trusts her motherly intuition. A natural birth also means one less barrier to connecting with the newborn baby.
I love these quotes, and think they accurately reflect what I am trying to say…
"There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don't ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it." ~ Sheryl Feldman
"Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength." -Barbara Katz Rothman
Now that is not to say that birth is the only way a mother can connect. It’s a good place to start though, in my opinion, given all the challenging aspects that present them self along the parenting journey.