I’m going to answer that for you. We don’t usually watch a lot of T.V., but the other night I decided to veg out. I was flipping channels and came across the MTV show, 16 and Pregnant. Now, I personally have no issue with the show or teenage girls and their journeys. I will tell you what I do have a problem with. Their births, or at least this one! I was very quickly reminded why I do not watch any reality birth shows.
Here is what went through my mind (and sometimes popped out of my mouth in not so nice ways) as I sat on the couch watching in horror. Mr. BWF had to calm me down.
This teenage mama and her boyfriend were going for her last prenatal visit (I tuned in at just the right time, eh?). She was 3 days from her Estimated Due Date and the Dr. told her she would be having her baby…you guessed it…in 3 days!
“Um, what the heck? How does the doctor know her baby will decide to come on her due date? Oh wait, that’s right, because he will force the baby out by using unnecessary interventions and induce. Duh, I forgot, Dr.’s know better than God and babies.”
Next we see mom and dad at his house (his parents house rather) packing for the birth. Dad has lost his keys and everyone is worried that they are going to miss their appointment and miss the birth of the baby.
“Since when are babies born by appointment?! Not to mention, how in the world can a mother miss her own birth?! Good grief, I need to change the channel. This is ridiculous. Why is she inducing? There is absolutely no medical reason to be doing so. Mom and baby are healthy. Ugh!”
So now, the teen mother is at the hospital and hooked up to the monitors and I.V. She receives pitocin and before she knows it is in a lot of pain. She gets an epidural.
“Of course she is in pain! Not like anyone ever took the time to educate her on coping through labor. Unreal. I’d want the epidural too if I was strapped down, having artificial hormones pumped into my body and was lying on my back! I can totally see where this is going.”
Now mom is fully dilated and ‘ready to push’. Of course she has to be told this, because she can not feel anything herself. She is already exhausted from the pitocin induced labor. There are nurses holding up her legs, paper draped over her and they start coaching her to push. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 come on keep pushing 8, 9, 10”. The Dr. is standing just staring at her vagina.
“You have got to be kidding me. This poor mama can not feel a thing and is pushing so hard when she is told. The Dr. is just staring at her vagina. How can mom relax and really feel comfortable birthing like this? I won’t be surprised if she ends up with a c-section. This is why women think birth is painful and are scared. I would be too if I believed this is how birth really is. I want to scream!”
Mom has now been pushing for an hour and is beyond exhausted. She can’t feel anything, but is trying her hardest. The Dr. says to her, “Well, baby is just not coming down enough. If the baby doesn’t come out this way, we have another way to get it out. Don’t worry, it’s not like it’s failing.” Mama starts to cry and says, ‘I don’t want a c-section.” She is determined to push this baby out vaginally.
“What a f-ing a-hole! How dare he induce her (she trusts him and doesn’t know any better), stack the cards up against her, then stand there staring at her vagina and telling her that baby can just be cut out of her. He has no regard to what she wants and what is best for her and her baby. Of course she is upset. Who in the hell wants to be cut open? To have layers of skin, tissue and muscle sliced through? It is major abdominal surgery! I hate this doctor.”
Mama pushes with all her might. She is not going to give in. She pushes her baby out vaginally and escapes the c-section!
“Wow. Go mama! How amazing is she? She showed him! I wonder now though how she will always view birth and can’t imagine how many other women and babies this Dr. does this to. This Doctor is the biggest idiot on this show!”
People wonder why I stay away from OB’s and hospitals. This is why. This is not birth. It is torture. It is traumatizing for baby and mom (and dad). This is a fearful, intervention, managed way to birth. This is what society and media show birth to be. This is why women see birth as painful and something to be afraid of. This is what doctors are taught birth is (most have never even seen a natural or empowering birth). This is why I spend so much time and energy writing and supporting women.
When birth is trusted and respected, when we let go of our fears and replace them with making educated choices, we can have faith and birth becomes a beautiful and empowering journey. I think every woman deserves to experience that, teen or all grown up.