Is there a right way to do childbirth?
My mother was a hippie who was very naturally-minded. I was the first of her three children, all of which were born at home with a home-visiting doctor. At five years old I got to be present in the room when my little sister was born in our home. To this day I remember seeing her little head with very dark hair emerging and saying hello to her before she was even fully out of the womb. This moment became a family inside joke, that I said “Hello Linda” while my mother was still trying to push her out.
My mother’s experience influenced my views of childbirth and how I wanted to birth my babies. Once I was pregnant I did everything that I thought was “right.” I took a 12-week series of natural Childbirth Classes. My husband I both LOVED the classes and were so glad that we took them. We hired an experienced midwife that came highly recommended. I read lots of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding books. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – check! I read it.
When I was very far into labor we found out that my baby was unexpectedly breech (feet first). The midwife called an ambulance and I was whisked away to the hospital for an immediate cesarean. It wasn’t what I had planned or hoped for. I felt great sadness, shame and guilt.
Fast forward ten years through two more pregnancies: one sadly ending in a loss at 17 weeks, one in a glorious vaginal birth with my baby born at home (VBAC), the highs and the lows of those three different personal experiences, and the many births I attended as a doula and…. I can undoubtedly proclaim that there is no right way to do childbirth.
As parents we have to make choices and decisions related to the care of our children on a regular basis. Before they are even born we are making decisions that will affect them. We compare and judge ourselves harshly.
But let’s not forget, we are all doing the best we can in the moment.
We don’t have control over the cards we are dealt. Labor and birth is unpredictable. It is wise to remain flexible and open to the outcome you need versus the outcome you want.
I’m here to tell you that YOU are doing a great job!
What strength it takes to go through major abdominal surgery to bring your baby into this world. If you and your baby are safest with a cesarean for your baby’s birth – you should do it.
Your family depends on you. Your emotional state matters. If you believe your best plan is to have an epidural helping you stay relaxed and calm – you should do it. Go you!
If having your baby in a birth center with midwives feels right to you – you should do it!
If a home birth in a tub of water is where you’re at – you should do it. Get it girl!
As always, consult your care provider on medical matters.
We believe in you.