The Business of Being Born

I don't know if many people actually think about birthing the baby when they decide to get pregnant. I know I didn't. I was pretty set on doing what everyone else does, getting an epidural. If I just got a shot that numbed the pain, I'd be fine right? I wouldn't have to think about the birth until the very end.

But with two sisters and a mother (and passionate two brother-in-laws and a father while we're at it) who are all very strongly advocated toward natural childbirth, I decided to give it a bit more thought instead of fighting them. They all swear by the Bradley method of childbirth, which I am finding is really the only type of birth that involves the husband. Tyler wants to be very involved, and I am grateful for that. Thus, we might do the Bradley method, but we're not 100% decided. I still tend to go back and forth between having an un-medicated delivery and give-me-that-freaking-epidural-right-now type of birth.

As I was doing research (for hypnobirthing, actually), I came across a documentary called The Business of Being Born. I really want to see it! (But we don't have netflix and I don't want to buy it. I think we might get netflix in a couple weeks though when we live with my parents so I can do prenatal yoga, so if I do end up seeing it, I will let you all know!) It's about how the U.S. has turned birthing a child into a business - into a "potentially catastrophic medical emergency" rather than letting it be a natural process. Really, if you think about it, women have been giving birth since the beginning of time without drugs and medical intervention. Women in other countries today still give birth without medical intervention, and live to tell the tale! Think about it. Comparatively speaking, we're wimps here in the states!

I'm not saying for sure that Tyler and I will do the Bradley Method or Hypnobirthing or forgo that beautiful heaven-sent epidural, but as I do my research, the facts tell me the drug-free is the way to go. The statistics I read are shocking - somewhere between 22 and 24% of all births in the U.S. are cesarean births (and most of those start out as epidurals). HOLY COW! I understand if it is medically necessary, but where do you draw the line? And who draws the line? I have a hard time believing that 1/4 of all infants need to be surgically removed from a mother's uterus. Where has the natural process of birth gone? I've been reading several books on natural birth, and the more I read, the more I am convinced. I thought it was all kooky and "hippie" at first (I mean honestly, why would I make the conscious decision to forgo pain relief? Am I an idiot?!) but after research, I am convinced it is all about one's attitude. If you think you can do it, you can. The more I read about the anatomy of the female body, I realize that a woman's body was made for giving birth!

I have to admit I am still undecided. Some days an epidural sounds really nice. But most days, I am convinced (and Tyler is even more convinced) that I can do it naturally. I guess we'll see.

Thanks to my sisters (Courtney and Mackenzie) for loaning me these books:
I think so far I like Ina May's book the best. She tends to be very optimistic and soothing. I can't wait to read her other book, Spiritual Midwifery.


Courtney said...

Rich just said,
"I've never had a baby, but it seems to me that the anticipation of the pain and all the rumors you hear about the pain are far worse than it actually is..."

Well, I mostly agree with him. I have never heard of anyone who regretted the decision to go all natural. There is something about it that is empowering, and besides what the epidural lovers will say, it does give you bragging rights.

Mackenzie said...

I'll save telling you my opinion, since you've already heard it. I'm glad you're taking the time to do your research (rather than my initial reason--fear of a needle and paying for an epidural).

Looking back, I wouldn't do it any other way. Plus, I think the best thing about is that when you let your body do what it is designed to do (i.e. give birth naturally, without drugs), your labor and delivery are faster and you recover much quicker, too.
(And, I agree with Courtney on the bragging rights!

Oh, and Brian is more than happy to talk to Tyler.