Blog / Mama's Musings

Natural Childbirth and The Mommy Wars

As it becomes more and more obvious that my due date is somewhat imminent, I have been asked several times where I am going to deliver.No Wonderwoman

It always takes me a moment to decide whether or not I am going to tell the truth, because it’s fodder for The Mommy Wars and I hate that.

I usually go with truth. Hudson was born at home and I plan on giving birth at home this time too.  And to further confuse people, I am very much looking forward to the birth. Not the baby being born (although that is also exciting) but the actual birthing of the baby.

The question I get after that is “what are you going to do about the pain?” and the answer to that I guess is “feel it.” because there aren’t many options for pain relief in your home. (And quite frankly, anything in your medicine cabinet isn’t going to cut it.) After that I usually hear “wow, you’re brave.”

And while I appreciate that very much, it’s not exactly true.  I am not really that brave at all.

I think they are the brave ones that trust a relatively new medical intervention and a virtual stranger with a really intense looking needle, where as I’m just going about it the old-fashioned way.

You see, much to the dismay of some, I’m not having a home birth or a natural birth because I’m braver or stronger than a mother who chooses the whole hospital epidural route.  Because I talk to a lot of first time moms who feel the full on pressures of “The Mommy Wars”, I feel like this is incredibly important to say:

My birth choice is unique to me and has absolutely no reflection on anyone else’s choices.
The reverse is also true. Your birth will be your story. You have complete ownership over your choices (so long as you feel you are the one making them), and that in and of itself is empowering.

The truth is, I find an epidural creepy (and I don’t epi well– I’ve had one) and a c-section terrifying.
Now, someone who has had one or both of those might say to me “But there is nothing to be worried about!” or “I had one and it was fine”
And to you I can say the same about birthing in tub of warm water in your bedroom.

You see, many women who give birth naturally will admit to being terrified of a c-section.  Oh yes, there is an amazing sense of empowerment, of bonding and of strength that comes with a natural birth… and that’s fabulous, but really not my point. My point is, we all have fears and we all have concerns and we are all guided by them in one way or another.  I am not afraid of natural birth… but I am afraid of an epidural (and you can put c-sections in the killer clown nightmare category.)  On the flip side, you might be afraid of the pain, but not at all afraid of surgery. Those fears come from your experiences and the narrative you grew up with (another post for another day) and they are for you to either let guide you or to choose to conquer based on whether or not you think the payoff is worth it.

I, being a weenie, am deciding not only not to conquer my fears but to go so far as to avoid even the possibility of conquering my fear by birthing at home.  It has the added benefit of being a rather comfortable place to be with a fridge full of my own food and nobody tells me I can’t eat.

So yes, while I’m in labor I will be telling myself that I have the strength of a thousand women.  That I am brave, and powerful, and a complete badass.  And I’ll need to believe that to make it through.
But we both know, I’m not any stronger than my friends, or my mother, or grandmother, or any other mother for that matter regardless of their birth.  There is nothing special or unique about me or my body. I’m not smarter or better educated. I’m just a wuss who is guided by my own set of fears, my perhaps overly romantic view of birth, and the narrative I’ve grown to believe.

8 thoughts on “Natural Childbirth and The Mommy Wars

  1. First, you look amazing! Second, thanks for this blog entry, you write so well. We’re planning on a homebirth for our third and those are most of the reasons we plan on doing it that way as well. I just can’t explain it quite so elegantly as you 🙂 congrats again, can’t wait to hear the story!

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  2. Honey, you are amazing. You are not a weenie at all. Labor is all about doing what’s best for you! I couldn’t have made it through without being able to eat or the tub. The birthing tubs are MAGIC! Can’t wait to hear how it goes the third time around. 🙂

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    • Yes, there will be a tub (which I still have to pick up) that we’ll have in our bedroom for me to use during labor. I delivered Hudson in the water and I found that the water was incredibly soothing during labor.
      I have a midwife who I see as frequently as I would see a doctor, I’ll call her when I am in labor and she will come to my house and help with the birth.

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  3. It is a phenomenal experience to birth at home AND in a tub. Had I known the experience I would have had with my third was going to be so incredibly awesome, I would have done it with the first two. People who have not had home births, don’t know how wonderfully peaceful the entire experience is!! Way to go!!!

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  4. Snort. There are so many mommy wars. I find myself just not saying anything – cause no matter what, someone will be hurt.

    I remember reading an article (while I was pregnant) that said that women shouldn’t use the words “natural birth” to describe a vaginal birth – because it’s offensive to c-section moms. It argued that c-sections were just as natural as anything else.

    Sigh.

    I’m still processing that article, and I read it months ago.

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