Monday, March 7, 2011
Both Sides Of The Fence
I am a self-proclaimed natural childbirth enthusiast and probably more accurately, advocate. With 3 natural childbirths under my belt, I am the go-to person for advice, suggestions and encouragement among my pregnant friends. I am halfway through the certification process as a childbirth educator and look forward to the day that I begin to teach classes full of women about the process of birth and the miraculous way the body is created to sustain and birth a child.
I absolutely believe that all women are capable of delivering a baby without drugs.
I also know that not all women want that.
I won't pretend by saying I understand. But that's ok, because it's not my body, not my experience.
Do I think I can be a well-rounded, natural childbirth advocate and educator and yet be OK with women choosing to use drugs and interventions in labor? I hope so. That is my goal.
Because the bottom line is, regardless of the choices you make in the management of your labor, every woman deserves to be educated so you make those choices based on knowledge, not on second-hand information, ancedotal stories and blind faith in those in charge of your care.
I'm not gonna lie, any time I have the opportunity to help a woman see that she is able to do labor on her own, I feel a little thrill. Only because I know what she is about to experience and the view from the post-NCB mountaintop is indescribable. But the thrill I get when a woman logically weighs the risks and benefits of an intervention and makes an educated decision to proceed based on her assessment of those risks/benefits and her own desires for her child's birth is equally important (wow, sorry that was a loooong sentence!). Because even though that woman may not choose to birth the way I did, she educated herself and made decisions to help her reach her desired outcome. And that means I've done my job well.
Honestly, it's hard to be on both sides of the fence, both professionally and personally. Childbirth is one of those hot topics that really pushes buttons and gets people fired up. There is a lot of evidence on both (all? Because of course there's more than just two ways to birth) sides and everyone comes to the table with their own biases, experiences, prejudices and dreams. I'm not sure anyone can be completely non-partial when it comes to birth, especially women who have experienced it.
My hope is to not perpetuate the argument but rather halt it with education. Because once a person is educated, there's really no room for argument on whether or not they made the best choice.
So, if you were to walk into one of my childbirth classes what would you learn? You would learn first and fore-mostly about the physiology of birth, and about the beautifully intricate way your body is created to support labor. Because the class is geared towards natural birth, you would learn about the mental game that goes along with the management of labor and techniques to use to help you cope. You would learn about all interventions that might be offered to you at some point, and the risks and benefits that go along with each one. But hopefully in addition to all of this, you would learn that you are an amazingly, powerful, inspired human being who was created to sustain life and birth it. All the tools are there. You just need to know how to use them.
My friends, tell me about your experience with childbirth education. Was it well rounded? One sided? Did you walk away feeling confident or more nervous than ever? In retrospect, is there any one thing you wish the class would have covered?
Posted by The Planet Pink at 9:00 AM