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.