natural childbirth?

just inspired by a discussion about artificial milk (READ: formula) and how some terms people use are sometimes not as sensitive as they might be… i just posted this to dcurbanmoms, and i will likely get skewered for it in the morning… here we go…

this discussion reminds me a little of another term i so enjoy hearing bandied about: “natural childbirth.”

as opposed to what – unnatural childbirth?

i know historically, there was a time when mothers were completely anesthetized before childbirth. i know, also, because by the time my mom had me, baby #3, her OB didn’t believe her when she told him that she was in labor. by the time anyone dealt with her, she had no drugs — nothing — and had me – something she hadn’t expected as a mom in the 1960s. in a word, as she put it, “ouch.” (and boy, was she mad when the OB, who was too busy on the golf course apparently, billed her for delivery services when she knew full well that he wasn’ t there — only the nuns and the nurses, LOL!) i know we have come a long way (baby), and how wonderful that people have so many options – and also more medical safeguards for the baby’s and mother’s life, should they be necessary. bully for the women (and men) who helped us evolve to this point.

but natural?

ok, i opted for an epidural. for me, i was able to be more focused with this medical intervention. but i still sweated like a longshoreman and huffed and puffed and worked pretty freaking hard to have my children. i would call it unnatural if, perhaps, someone decided to try and extract my babies through, i dunno, my nostrils (which, if that was biologically possible and the only way they could do it to keep them alive and healthy, you know i would have given it my best shot, unnatural or not.)

gosh, i sure wish advocates would call it something like “drug-free” instead of “natural” childbirth. everyone who experiences childbirth experiences a natural experience, no matter how many drugs or interventions, imho. after having my first child, i know i *really* didn’t appreciate it when someone close to me tried to put me down because i had an epidural (gasp!) while she not only had multiple drug-free births, but also remained a size 3. she acted as if she was the winner of the ironman baby birthing competition. all i could think was: 1) how wonderful that you had the choice to have those healthy, drug-free births – but hell, my goal was to have a healthy baby and make it through myself – by any means necessary; and 2) how i hate you for being a size 3 😉 (just joking on the latter point, btw. some of my dearest friends are size 3s, so please, don’t jump on me for this one.)

anyway, just a thought. a rambly one, but a thought nonetheless. here’s to natural childbirth – drug-free; with drugs; C-sections; VBACs; and everything else that i am too tired to list. we all want healthy babies and we all want to live through the experience as well. by any means necessary, i say.


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