I often hear people talking about mothers who choose natural birth having “something to prove”. And you know what? It ticks me off. Every mother should be entitled to at least try for the birth that they want! In the months before my daughter’s birth, I did a lot to ready both my body and my mind. It took a lot of preparation and confidence! I don’t understand why we discourage mothers who want to birth naturally. We never chastise athletes for running marathons or climbing mountains, or training to preform at a high level. So why do we chastise women for choosing natural birth?
If I had anything to “prove” with my birth it was because from the beginning when people heard I was planning a natural birth they would say “Oh, you won’t be able to do it”, “you’re not tough enough”. So of course afterwards, on my natural high from oxytocin, I was elated to be able to say that I made the decision that was best for our family and was able to see it through. I am proud of mothers who do the same, regardless of what their choice about interventions was.
I realize that I am very lucky. Sometimes things happen in labor and interventions are necessary. Not everyone who plans a natural birth gets one, and I’m glad to have been surrounded by people who supported me, including a wonderful doctor and doula.
So I guess in the end, I did have several things to prove: that my body is not a lemon (thanks Ina May Gaskin for that one). That I could get through labor calmly and rationally. And lastly that my decisions regarding my daughters birth were my own, that as a patient I had rights, and that did not include letting doctors and nurses make decisions for me. I’m happy that my doctors and my doula always presented me with options, and always made me feel like I was in charge of my labor and birth. I am happy for my husband and doula who were both wonderful advocates for me during my labor. And I’m very grateful that maybe I did prove something. I proved that a girl who is terrified of cross fit and always dreaded running the mile in high school gym class could still be “tough enough” to handle natural child birth. I hope that my experience empowers mothers to make their own decisions about their birth, and to shrug off the doubters, or those who would be negative about their choices. My advice to mamas to be: It’s YOUR birth. You are in charge of how it goes, and you should always be the one making the decisions.