Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What is natural?

#3, #4 and #2 came over last week to watch a movie that #3 found inspiring. Having birthed two children I feel like I know a few things about the process and while both of my births required intervention I have a huge amount of respect for women who are presented with the opportunity to bring their children into this world unassisted and step up to the plate and do it. The little girls were not interested at all but Super Son found the movie really interesting and has always been curious about the way he was born. After watching a few vaginal births he asked me "Is that how I was born?" I told him as I have a hundred times before that...No, he had been born through a cut in my tummy. He understandably asked why and seemed perfectly content to think he was "so crazy" when I told him that he was upside down, backwards and folded in half (Frank Breech thank you very much from 25 weeks to term). After a while the movie transitioned from the "conscious" births into everything else. Again, I have a HUGE amount of respect for the Mom's who are successful with this, but no less respect than I have for any other mother who brings a child into this world and begins to find harmony in the lifelong balancing game of what is best for her and for her baby. The underlying theme of the movie then shifted to how much "birth trauma" we give our children by not having "conscious births" and allowing medical intervention. The narrator (while very knowledgeable) even used the analogy of cutting a butterfly from its chrysalis and preventing it from every being able to fly with a c-section.
What bothered me most about this whole thing is that 3 of the women who have known me the longest and closest in my life proceeded to agree.

Insert defensive reaction here.

I get that a narrator of a film has an opinion and obviously wants to share her opinion with the world, but her opinion is not fact. Babies who are born "consciously" are not always bright eyed, intelligent, peaceful, focused and the litany of other good descriptives that she used. And in the opposite babies that are born with some degree of intervention are not inherently born with less "consciousness" on the part of their mothers and fathers. Now I hear nothing but judgement from the narrator and from them.

And to you I pose the question. Babies can be born vaginally, surgically etc. But what is natural to you? I come from the position that a natural birth is one that comes instinctively (one of the many definitions of the word natural) ...If the baby is born out of my ear then we can talk about whether or not it was or was not natural.

But at the end of the day - what does it matter? Why do we judge these things in others? Does my birth diminish the value of yours? Shouldn't we rejoice that a baby is born healthy, safely and into a family that is wanting and waiting. Why do we place the additional burden on Mom's who end up reaching the finish line with some help that they have "done harm". And by the way.... QUIT JUDGING and don't even get me started on breast feeding

You see that big thing at my feet...that's my soap box and I am stepping off of it.



1 comment:

  1. I agree one thousand percent. I hate this judgemental language. I still fume when I think about a midwife that said something irritating about births with medical assistance not being 'real.' For me, natural is what works for the mom and the baby. I think we should focus on happy birth experiences (assuming everyone is healthy) and that means making sure mom is informed and that her team is listening to her, no matter what interventions or complications do or don't arise. Oh, wait, did I somehow get up on your box?? Let me hand that back to you now ;-)