Why is it that every person – male, female, married, divorced, single, old, young, family member or absolute stranger, parent or otherwise – has an opinion on how you should give birth? Personally, I think it is the one thing that nobody other than the person who has to get the baby out from inside of their body after an already uncomfortable, traumatic and occasionally painful 40 weeks should have any opinion on whatsoever.
Ok, maybe not no-one at all – I will listen to my doctor’s opinions on the subject in direct relation to my pregnancy, my body and my baby, and at the end of the day I am going to do whatever I believe is the safest, least traumatic way for my baby to enter this world. And yes, I do count the effect of the birth on me as one of the factors that will influence the effect on my baby. And no, I absolutely one-hundred-and-ten-percent do not consider natural childbirth to be the “right” choice, no questions asked. As you may have gathered by now, I am not a “no questions asked” kind of girl.
I have found that the mommies I know who went natural suggest natural and the one’s who had c-sections suggest c-sections. In other words – whichever choice you make will feel like the right choice in the end if your baby comes out happy and healthy. Of course, because most people believe they are the only person who could be right, they more often than not believe they also have the right to push their opinion onto you regardless of whether you are interested or not.
Of course I have asked other mommies about their experiences in the build up to, during and recovering from the actual birth and I have heard a variety of stories. The most traumatic story I heard was of a natural birth – but that mommy has decided she will definitely choose natural again should the question arise, and so not even that has really pushed me for or against natural childbirth.
I am terrified of both options; like any person, I am terrified of pain of any kind and both options have that in bucket loads just at different times.
From the descriptions of lots of mommies I know, natural means pain at the time for as long as it takes, and depending on the horrors involved, tearing and cutting, but the recovery in general is relatively quick. Somehow even though that pain was horrifying to hear told a few days after the fact, a few months down the line all of those mommies say it was totally manageable and fine (I however have not been affected by sleep deprivation, parental love and whatever magical nature hormone that has caused them to forget, I still remember every horrific detail as described at the time).
C-Section mommies that I have spoken to have all had the easiest of deliveries, no trauma at all to their babies, all over and done in an hour or so; but the recovery can be long, painful and the feeling described by them of getting up for weeks after and feeling afraid your insides might fall out has haunted me rather a lot as well. That and the clear memory of my little sister’s face the evening of the c-section when she had to get up and move around for the first time. Although my sister is still an advocate for natural, she has also been very open about her non-elective c-section experience and says having her wisdom teeth out was far worse – she is not the first person to express that exact sentiment.
Another reason other people’s judgement bugs me is because there are more mommies out there who never get the birth they want or plan for and how dare anybody make them feel worse than they already do about it?! So many people desperately want to go natural, but their babies won’t turn or were in distress or were simply too big and so they had to do a c-section for the safety of both baby and mommy.
Before you ask, I have not made a decision as yet. What’s more, I am not sure if I will publicly announce which I decide on before the time; though if I am able I will try to share my experience with whichever path I choose after the fact to help other mommies that might not have the friends and family to share their own experiences.
I am grateful for my friends and family sharing their personal experiences with me and not trying to push their choices and even their opinions onto me on this matter, I know there are many who aren’t as blessed. The aunt or parent or cousin or friend who has had 5 children through natural labour may have an opinion on the fact that your doctor has said your baby is too big for natural delivery because they had big babies and were fine – well bully for them and let it be irrelevant to you. Why should you risk the health of your baby or yourself to please someone else?!
In the end I believe that any mom should do what is best and safest for her baby, and that information can only come from the doctor who has treated her throughout her pregnancy; anyone else’s opinions be damned. You have nothing left to prove moms-to-be – you have created, carried and nurtured your baby for the past 40 weeks and you will be their mommy forever. How your baby comes into this world does not alter the fact that you are superwoman; your only job from now on is to make sure your little person is safe, loved and cared for.