What do you know about childbirth?
Well, if you’ve been through it, you’ll have a pretty good idea, but if you ask any woman who has yet to have a baby what she knows about childbirth you are probably going to hear things like
“…it happens in a hospital…”
“…you need drugs, injections, doctors, nurses…”
“… it can go on for days…”
“… it’s dangerous…”
“… you can DIE!!”
Where do we get this from?
When you stop and think about it… we never really get properly edicated about childbirth. And yet, it has the potential to affect half of the global population. Instead of there being a conscious effort to educate women abotu childbirth, we are left to our own devices to abosrb whatever happens to be passing in the wind. And this usually means that our main sources of information are places like…
TV shows & movies
They want DRAMA!!!!! A hospital scene with loads of doctors and nurses in white coats and masks fiddling with beeping machines is just that – DRAMA! Filming a mum quietly giving birth at home by candle light with her husband holding her hand, and a midwife knitting in the corner is not exactly dramatic material. And yet, that was pretty much what one of my births was like. The other one wasn’t that dissimilar except the midwife wasn’t knitting.
We’ve all been there girls! Sat at school being made to watch THE VIDEO. You know, that hugely dramtic childbirth one… the wone with the screaming woman, blood everywhere, hospital scene the one that was etched into your brain that put you off kids for life.. yeah.. that one! Now I can ‘t help wondering whether the objective for schools “educating” teenage girls about childbirth, is probably going to have prevent teenage pregnancies higher on the list than educate/demonstrate how childbirth CAN BE. Well, it worked for me anyhow… the idea of kids pushed firmly to the back on my to-do list.
Friends & family
We might be lucky and hear positive tales, but generally we’ll probably only hear to the horror stories… the positive stories don’t seem to surface. In fact, I’m speaking to a lot of mums right now who have had positive birth stories and one thing keeps coming up; they don’t often get to share their story. It seems that when it transpires that they had a great birth, that other women are not interested in hearing their story. Or if they do get a chance to start sharing, they aren’t well received so they keep it brief and then decide not to share next time, or they play it down. Some have even been cut-down while sharing their stories, while others are accused of gloating. Like, seriously! And all this FROM OTHER WOMEN! And so all we’re left with are tales of pain, trauma, drama and “NEVER AGAIN!”… how tragic.
Where does all this lead us to believe (WRONGLY!) about childbirth?
Well, the short answer is this: we’re being drip fed a ton of lies about childbirth! Of course, it’s not an intentional thing, it’s just where we find ourselves. Through the various sources of information that we are typically exposed to that help inform us on childbirth, it can be fairly safe to say that the overall picture is not a pretty one. There are some consistent lies about childbirth that we’re being fed and they are coming right up….
The 3 lies about childbirth that won’t go away
Labour and childbirth WILL be painful
This seems to be a given, and non-negotiable fact. WRONG!
There are many women who give birth and don’t find it painful. I’m one of those and it wasn’t a fluke as I managed it twice. Just search this blog for positive birth stories to find other women’s accounts of their positive pain-free births if you like (I’ll be adding more to this as time goes on). There are many cultures where pain isn’t automatically assumed to accompany childbirth, it’s mainly a western thing. And let’s not forget, animals aren’t in pain when they give birth either and that’s because they’re not full of fear, as we are BECAUSE OF THESE LIES ABOUT CHILDBIRTH! if you want to find out more about how fear creates pain in childbirth check out this blog post and podcast episode.
Childbirth is a medical situation
This is why most babies are only born in hospitals, right? WRONG! Pregnant women are not ill. They are not suffering from a medical condition that requires medical attention. Unless they are suffering from a medical condition that would still require medical supervision were they not pregnant.
Childbirth requires medical assistance
Childbirth needs an army of nurses and doctors to be present as well as some scary-looking medical machines and instruments. And the woman giving birth is going to need a whole host of medical aids – drugs, artificial oxytocin, epidural injections, forceps etc…. because she just can’t do it on her own. AGAIN – WRONG!
Women are perfectly capable of giving birth unassisted by these artificial and medical interventions. If there’s any help and support the woman needs, it’s emotional support to help her feel safe, secure and loved… it’s this that keeps labour progressing naturally at a pace that she and baby can handle. The minute we mess with that, we disrupt nature’s ability to just get on with it and do what it knows so well.
What is so sad about all of this is that as women we are conditioned since our school days that childbirth is not something we can do on our own, but that we need help with it. Medical help. On the one hand, our biology lessons taught us that women are built to conceive and give birth to ensure the survival of our race. And yet, popular culture bombards us with messages that lead us to believe that actually, we’re not really capable of doing what our bodies were built to do. In fact, we’re just not good enough. We’re failures!
But there’s a double whammy here. The more we are led to believe that childbirth requires medical assistance, the less likely we are to believe that it’s a natural process that can happen perfectly adequately on its own. Now of course, there are still risks, as with most things in life and sure, childbirth carries with it some risks. Risks that are increased if the health of the mother is compromised, or if she doesn’t have access to adequate healthcare. So in developing countries, childbirth brings with it a more increased risk to life than it does for those of us living in developed countries. But driving a car is risky, and so is walking on a pavement.. and yet we are not constantly being bombarded with stories of car accidents and pedestrians being hit by drunk drivers or out of control vehicles.
So let’s set the record straight here. Let’s bust these lies about childbirth once and for all!
Childbirth doesn’t have to hurt…
in fact if you surrender to the proces and let nature do her thing it won’t. but that means letting go.. so those of you with control issues might find that a tad tricky!
Childbirth is not an illness or a medical condition…
…and does not require doctors or a hospital… it only becomes a medical condition once mum’s health is compromised. But for the most part, it’s a natural process that happens much more safely and with better outcomes at home.
Childbirth does not require medical assistance…
You do not NEED drugs or injections… if you get to that point in labour then it’s more likely to be because you were induced.. induction often leads to a cascade of interventions which might well include an emergceny c-section… if you create the space to allow nature to be in control and to set the pace then no medical interventions should be required.. unless of course complications arise.. and then, yes is hands off – let the medical teams DO THEIR THING!
So, if you’re a parent-to-be, be aware of these lies about childbirth and make sure you get savvy about it so that you are well informed. Don’t rely on your mates or the movies for your education, because it could mean the difference between a positive and negative birth experience.. and it’s just not worth it.
If you’re a mum who had a difficult birth, try not to add to the cocktail that breeds these lies about childbirth… it’s the last thing a woman who’s not had kids needs to hear.If you need someone to talk to so that you can process and deal with the emotions you’re facing, then find someone who can help you. This is something that I can help you with… getting rid of negative thoughts, feelings and emotions is what I do and I would love to help you.