Let me begin by saying I don’t care what kind of birth anyone else in the whole wide world has. I don’t care if a woman plans for an epidural or ends up getting one when the pain is more than she believes she can take. I don’t care if she gets induced or plans her c-section months in advance. I don’t care if her birth experience is a series of interventions (as long as everyone comes out safe in the end). Her body, her prerogative. Right? Right.
I do however believe that the way we birth is a choice and in recent years that choice has been taken away from us in an often frightening and forceful way. But as long a woman’s choices are informed and not being forced upon her then it’s really no one’s business but her own what kind of birth she has. Hopefully, that much we can agree on.
But with that being said, people these days, specifically women, really don’t seem to like the idea of unmedicated or “natural” birth as we’ve come to call it. Mention you are planning one and you will no doubt be met with eyerolls and “what if”s and “what are you trying to prove”s? Or simply “why?” Or even the forceful “why in God’s name would you ever want to experience that kind of pain!? Are you some kind of martyr?”
Having an unmedicated birth can be about a lot more than just trying to prove to the world how strong you are. You grew a human so we already know that anyway. There are all kinds of reasons that birth remains important to many women and we shouldn’t feel badly about that. Of all the things we are taught to feel badly about as women, this really, really should not be one of them.
Here are ten reasons why I’m planning a natural birth that have nothing to do with something to prove.
1. Because I want to feel my baby entering the world. Yes, I want to feel it and not because I’m a martyr but because, well, how is that not an incredible thing to feel? It’s a once or twice or maybe three times in a lifetime chance and as long as nature intends, I’m going to take it.
2. Because having a baby is nothing like going to the dentist. It’s not the same as getting a root-canal without being numb (as I’ve heard many argue). It’s just not because where are the perks to that!? I pretty much avoid going to the dentist (when I can) but birth on the other hand, I’m looking forward to. And I’ve done it once before and it basically sucked altogether so that’s saying something.
3. Because I believe the experience has value and is one that every woman should get the opportunity to experience (if she wants it). I believe the experience can be life-changing and I’m a sucker for feeling (and writing about) the real, painfully beautiful parts of life.
4. Pure curiosity. I don’t know about anyone else but unmedicated birth is a huge point of curiosity in my life. It’s something women and mammals have done for centuries and yet it evaded me once, multiplying my intrigue by about a million.
5. Because needles in my spine and other interventions take longer to heal from, both physically and emotionally. The battle scars from my first birth were all from the interventions that occurred, not from the natural course of things. Pain in my back where the epidural went in for about two years, an unnecessary episiotomy that took months to heal properly, not to mention feelings of distrust towards medical professionals who seem to undermine women’s choices (and sometimes health) for the sake of their own agenda.
6. To create the ultimate bonding experience with my child. To feel the oxytocin running through me, the hormone rush, the body’s natural response to childbirth. To not be numb to those things like I was once before. To have that “golden hour” with my offspring to begin our journey together.
7. Because at the heart of it, I’m not really afraid of birth. I have nerves about the pain of birth, yes but most of that comes from the lack of control I had during my first birth. I wasn’t scared before that and so I know that is where my fear comes from. When I really look deep down, I have far more confidence about birth than I do fear.
8. Because I was built for it. I can read all the books that Amazon has to offer, but when it comes down to it, my body knows so much more about birth than my brain and it always will. It has literally been preparing for it since before I was born. I don’t doubt what it can do when nature takes it’s course.
9. Because pain is beauty. I believe that sometimes we have to go through difficult things in life to reap the rewards.
10. Because it just feels right. In my head, in my heart and in my body (here’s hoping). They might not agree on much, but they’re all aligned on this one.
11 thoughts on “10 Reasons I’m planning a natural birth that have nothing to do with “something to prove””
You’re right about it being every woman’s choice that no one should try to take away from her! People are too quick to try and force their (unasked for) opinions and ideas on pregnant women and that needs to stop. The actual process of giving birth is stressful enough without the added pressure of the ‘right’ way to do it. That being said, good luck with your plan! I wanted to do an unmedicated birth as well but 7 hours into labor and I begged for an epidural! Here’s to hoping you have a quick and easy delivery 🙂
Thank you, Sally!
Add, “I’m having a home birth” to those conversations and you also get all sorts of (unwanted) opinions! Have you looked into Hynobirthing? I didn’t use it for my first home birth (an amazing experience) but am prepping to use it for the second round. I wish you a wonderful birthing experience!
Totally. Sometimes when people ask where I’m delivering I get very nervous. I am going to a hypno workshop in the next couple weeks actually. Thanks so much for the well wishes!
You’ll do great! I had 2 unmedicated births, that is, until the spinal 1 minute before the c- section with my first child. But that doesnt count because I went through the whole labor thing with no medication and it’s not that bad. And with my second baby, I
didn’t get anything. It’s a wonderful experience when everything goes right. You’ll be fine.
Great post, there’s certain women that are so rude when it comes to natural birth, almost bitter, if you express any happiness about your natural birth. Sure I had pain during my natural births, but it was bitter sweet, I still loved every second of it, and would gladly do it again.
glad to hear that you would do it again! 🙂
Here in the UK it is the complete opposite. Everyone wants and is encouraged to have a natural birth, and anything less is regarded as a failure and a cop out.
I had a ‘natural’ birth last time, knowing that the odds were against me having many complications, being induced early and carrying a monster of a baby. It didnt go so well, shoulder dystocia, with them almost breaking his arm to get him out and needing resuscitation and emergency care. I didnt even get to see him for 12 hours, let alone have skin to skin. They told me afterwards that I also have a flat pelvis, so he couldnt move into position to come out properly.
This time, I’m not doing all that. I have type 1 diabetes, so I am pretty certain I’ll be having a big baby again, and being induced early. So a planned c-section it is. It may not be the ideal experience, I know it’s a major op, but at least my baby wont be hurt, and I won’t have flashbacks for years afterwards. I need some sort of control over this birth.
I’m sure people will whisper behind my back, say I’m ‘too post to push’ or scoff that I am not brave enough, but at the end of the day this is my baby, my body, my decision. We must all make the right one for ourselves and not let anyone else make us feel bad about it.
I sure your birth will go beautifully. If you are fit and healthy enough to go for a natural birth then go for it!
wow! thanks so much for sharing this perspective. best of luck!
And to you Sarah, Hope the birth is all you want it to be!
Thaaaat made me cry. I usually feel pretty good about my birth, but this was exactly how I feel approaching subsequent kids. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to feel his delivery (okay not his actual one since it was a vacuum after a manual rotation. I’m not crazy, ha), I’m intensely curious about how it feels… But the biggest thing is that oxytocin rush we missed out on. He was admitted to the NICU five hours after birth and I wish so much that I had felt the overwhelming love during those five hours with no wires! It came a day and a half later, IVs and electrodes and bright lights and loud monitors be damned, but… Blerg.