Part III: The Desire for a Natural Childbirth
***Post disclaimer: I have never been through natural labor and have no idea what it feels like. I have never felt a contraction or any labor pains. Many people will think these views will change once I have been through labor, and perhaps you are correct. But until then, these are my thoughts and feelings towards birth. Also, I am very aware that these are my own personal beliefs; I have no judgements towards those who do not hold these beliefs, or towards women who choose to have pain medication during labor.
1. Desire for a natural birth: Ever since I found out I was pregnant with my son, I desired to have a natural labor, and the same holds true in this pregnancy. I have thought long and hard about why I want such a thing, mostly because people always ask why I would want to do it. To be honest, I really have no answer to their question except to say it's just something I really want to do. I want to know that I at least tried to work with my body and the way God created it, and this is why I must go into birth with the attitude that it will happen naturally. Other pluses that make me want to have a natural labor: the natural adrenaline release that I have heard only comes to a woman who has not been medicated, keeping control over my body during labor, trust in my body and the way it works, and, of course, the desire for as little intervention and chance of a c-section as possible.
2. Women have done it for thousands of years: My husband always used to tell me this and it made me angry. I wanted to tell him, "oh yeah, well then you try it!" But after a lot of thought I came to think of this as another reason to at least attempt natural childbirth. When did birth become a medical procedure and not a natural event? We trust women's bodies for nine months to grow a human being from two cells. We trust her body to give this baby everything he/she needs, but when it is time to deliver, the doctors step in and say, "good job growing a baby, we will take over from here." (Again please keep in mind I am talking about normal, healthy pregnancies). Oh! And God forbid you don't dilate 1 cm/hour! That must mean something is terribly wrong with you and need Pitocin. Please excuse the sarcasm, but needless interventions that can lead to more women having c-sections really do bother me. I also find it kind of ironic that most women's labor will slow down or stop progressing after being given an epidural. When this happens, in comes the Pitocin. Basically what I am saying is that it seems that one intervention to the natural process leads to another and I would like to try to avoid all of that if possible.
3. Parallel between Christ's sufferings and labor: Ok, so some of you are going to think I am off my rocker with this one, but this is the way my mind works and the way I try and think about a lot of the things in life. As stated in this post, I think motherhood and pregnancy is pretty special because of our unique vocation to physically sacrifice our bodies. I don't think this analogy stops in childbirth. Christ walked the most torturous, painful path known to man on His way to Calvary. His body was beaten, swollen, fatigued and at some point He asked for the suffering to be taken away. But He endured it, because it was the will of the Father. At Calvary He was hung naked from a cross, shamed and humiliated. What relief must have come when He stated, "It is finished." And what lies at the end of Christ's suffering? New, beautiful, glorious life for all of us sinners. It is my thought that I am once again called to walk with Christ to calvary during childbirth. I am sure it will be the most painful and altogether hard experience in my life. But at the end, when I can state, "It is finished" new life lies in my arms. And I don't even have to wait three days to experience this new life, I get to hold her in my arms and kiss her sweet face as soon as the worst of the suffering is over.
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