How to Change the Distorted View of Normal Birth

by Birth Without Fear on December 17, 2010

My oldest daughter is 7. She has recently been asking many questions about birth as she sees and hears my passion for it. Tonight the conversation went like this:

Cutie Pie: “Mom, I wish babies could just come to us instead of having to birth them.”

Me: “Why honey?”

Cutie Pie: “Well, because most moms need to go to the hospital to give birth and that’s not good.”

Me: “No honey, very few moms need to. Most moms can birth at home, like I did with the baby.”

Cutie Pie: “Does it hurt? Is it painful?”

Me: “It is not painful, it is intense.”

Cutie Pie: “Mom, did they use those on me?” (We were looking at a picture of a baby being pulled out by forceps)

Me: “No!”

Cutie Pie: “Oh good. Can you show me normal birth…like how babies are supposed to come out?!”

At this point I realize that I have shown her many videos of natural childbirth, I talk about birth all the time and I answer all of her questions, but it is just not enough. It hit me that my sweet daughter needs to SEE BIRTH! She was a c-section baby herself and did not witness my vaginal births (one at the hospital and traumatic and one at home when she was sleeping).

What is socially normal birth? I would say it includes the following:

Epidrual, intervention birth

  • Pain
  • Epidurals
  • Cervical checks
  • Drugs (pitocin, epidurals, cytotec, etc.)
  • Birth Rape
  • Images of women laying on their backs, screaming and purple coach pushing
  • Doctors doing what they want and everyone telling mom that at least they have a ‘healthy baby’.
  • C-sections

How do we change this view of ‘normal birth’ for our daughters who will be birthing and our sons who will be supporting women in birth one day?! We have to SHOW them what normal birth can and should be. How can something be normal when it is never seen? It’s like feeding your children chicken their whole lives and then one day telling them to eat cockroach because you “say” it is normal. No, it’s not, at least not in America. You can’t just say something is normal. What makes it normal is the exposure and our children are exposed to traumatic, intervention births as the norm.

Revelation: My daughter NEEDS to see me birth. Period. If I have a night birth again, we will be waking her up for her to witness mama birthing her baby sister/brother. She will see with her own eyes that birth is empowering and beautiful! Then, when I tell her THAT is normal birth, she will have the memory and experience to pull from. It will be tangible. She can believe me.

Natural home water birthWe have to show our children that birth can be painless, powerful, intense, intervention free and empowering! We have to offset what others say about birth around our children’s innocent ears and what they see in the movies and media. Show them inspiring birth videos. Make educated choices and have wonderful births they can experience with you. Girls and women should be learning about birth from US; from seeing women giving birth!

“The need to pursue healthy birth options and birth rights for women and babies doesn’t end with our own births; for women will always birth after us.” ~Desirre Andrews

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Bennefield December 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

You are so right! As an L&D nurse I have soooo many people come in, totally ignorant of the process, scared to death and willing to “take orders” …. Most are shocked by the fact that I am very laid-back and not at all intense. When they ask me why, I tell them that a normal birth is to be expected; it will occur when mom and baby are ready and is a perfectly normal bodily function. I am just here to encourage and assist if needed but women are equipped to do this …. we just have to relax and trust in our bodies and the process. Your daughter is super blessed to have a mother who not only tells her about birth but is willing to let her experience it so she knows it is not to be feared! Good job, Mama!!

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Mrs. BWF December 17, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Thank you. :) It’s great to hear of a L&D nurse like yourself! Good job right back at ya!

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Pam December 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

So wonderful to have a L&D nurse embracing a holistic view of birth vs. technocratic … technology is great but hardly ever needed but because it is so readily available, it’s extremely overused – taking the “birth experience” of empowerment and self-realization from women. I love it when I hear of even one more person influencing the women in her circle of care with gentleness, empathy, truth, confidence and courage. Women CAN trust their bodies, their babies and their births! Yes!

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Mary Bennefield December 19, 2010 at 5:19 am

Thanks, Pam! I pray that more providers come to this realization one day. Technology can be a double edged sword. It is wonderful to have when (in those rare instances) that we NEED it but we need ot remember that most often birth requires little to no intervention. The mother needs lots of love, support, and encouragement …. not monitors, pitocin, epidurals and c-sections!!

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Stef Jezowski December 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hehehe, BWF, it was because of the support of you and Mary (and hubby) that I got the birth I did. Amazing women! I wish home births were part of the sex ed curriculum so they could be normalized and I agree, your daughter is extremely lucky to have you for a mom! We need girls/women to see that birth, above all else, is a NORMAL thing and not a medical problem. Getting women educated properly is the key but with the medical establishment the way it is, it can’t come from them. Sad when the people who are supposed to do no harm actually do the most harm. It starts with women like you who see the reality and are willing to get it out there. You so totally rock! We need more nurses like Mary out there too who aren’t afraid to stand up to the establishment and tell women how it really can be! Around here, the only thing I have been able to “normalize” for my kids is breastfeeding, but it’s a start!

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Mary Bennefield December 19, 2010 at 5:32 am

Thanks, Stef! (And thanks for introducing me to this blog & group … what an awesome group of women!!) I’ve often pondered how the birthing process morphed into the state it is currently in. For thousands of years, women managed to labor and birth naturally. Then, as medicine imploded … err, I mean “evolved” … the right of women to have control of their birth began to be stripped away to what we have today which is not good for ANYBODY (other than perhaps a billfold or two). As you said, the whole system can (and does) harm mothers and infants; OB/GYNS and Midwifes are leaving the profession because of the huge number of lawsuits (frequently the direct result of the interventions that were used due to over-monitoring and over-use of drugs / treatments that weren’t necessary in the first place!!) – it is a viscious cycle that must be broken. Educating women and returning their right to birth their child naturally is of utmost importance!

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Mary Bennefield December 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

Awww … thanks! There’s still a few of us out here who really are all for the Mama & baby. I am thankful that the technology exists when it is truly needed (which is not often) but somewhere along the line it has become so twisted that we are expected to use every single intervention known to mankind on every single woman regardless of whether or not there is any clinical reason to do so!! I do not understand this at all ….. WHY are we doing this? It creates a horrible UNNECESSARY web of problems for everyone involved and, worse yet, puts many mothers and babies at risk …. needlessly. Oops … please excuse my rant. (It’s been a long, frustrating night in L&D …. I need to take my own advice and BREATHE!! LOL)

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Jodi December 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Absolutely right, all of it. This is why I had my daughter present at my homebirth, and why both my son and my daughter will be present at my next. It has the added bonus of them being involved in the process, which in my view minimalises jealousy issues: it takes away the mystery of the whole situation and nails fearmongering right on the head.
My niece was there as well for my sons birth; she’d been visiting over the summer holidays at the time and I’d asked her mother (my sister in-law), if she’d mind if her daughter was in the room at the time as I knew I was due. She didn’t mind at all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so quiet as she was for two days following, there was so much for her to process, and there were many questions afterward, although her first statement was “I didn’t know Jodi could yell so loud!” Lol. She’s since asked if she could come back for my second homebirth, which proves it was a positive experience. Not to mention, being at such an age as she is getting towards her teens, it kind of makes her think twice about such things as sex and family and not take it so lightly, as she knows the end result now, but also knows it’s not to be feared.
Children are present for so many huge occasions during life, why not birth? I love this blog!

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Mrs. BWF December 17, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Absolutely. After I wrote this, I was thinking about my 3 year old. She was my VBA2C baby and she saw my 27 month old birth (she was the only one who woke up). She yelled, “BABY! BABY! BABY!” when I birthed her baby sister. She is only 3 and I’ll have to see what questions she asks and how she processes birth later, but so far, she seems really laid back and when we watch birth videos, she just ‘gets it.’

My 7 year old who was a c-section baby and formula fed is starting to question what normal birth is and recently said she was embarrassed by breastfeeding. :(. She has watched me nurse 2 babies, but I think she needs to see my next birth. I wish I had woken her up to see my last birth. I now realize she needed to heal as much as Mr. BWF and I needed to.

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Stef Jezowski December 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

It may just be her though too – our 7 year old, a very modest young dude, now tells me to nurse baby when she’s fussing and it’s pretty funny how he does it – almost like “hurry up already woman!” I won’t get to have them see a home birth but we talked to them about it since we tried at the last minute and it didn’t phase them. However, with a mom like you at least her experience/exposure will be positive and a good seed planted for her future!

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Jen December 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I also have a 7 yo daughter who was born by a very difficult CBAC. I had a vba2c when she was 2 1/2 but she still speaks of being fearful of birth and she thinks that she will have to have surgery. It surprises me because I have been so positive and open with them about birth and the natural process of birth. It makes so much sense though that unless she sees a birth, then the imagined images of her own birth must be really hard to replace. Thanks for the insight!

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Meg December 17, 2010 at 11:06 pm

My daughter has witnessed a birth now. Although I did not give her the gift of her own birth as she was a cascade of interventions concluded by c/sec, I have given her an experience she will always remember, when I roared her youngest brother earthside at 3am, in a pool in our bedroom.

I think we need to be honest with our girl children, and I love your post, but I disagree with telling girls that birth isn’t painful. For some women it is painless (I’ve had a very mild birth) but for the bulk of women it IS painful. I think that telling our daughters that birth is painful, yes, but they WILL survive is important.

Thankyou for this post! Now if only we could just convince the current birthing population that birth is a rite of passage, that needs to be honoured!

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Mrs. BWF December 17, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I do not tell her there is no feeling. I tell her it is intense. Pain is perception and fear and our minds have a deep effect. Thanks for the feedback mama. :)

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Meg December 18, 2010 at 12:39 am

I told my daughter that the pain I felt was largly emotional. My birth was very very intense, my midwife commented that she had never seen a transition so difficult. I believe that was due to the fact that my last son was stillborn. So the pain was intensified by the emotional aspect, and also by the speed of the labour (6 hours, when my others were all nearly 40).

I know what you’re saying, I’m just on a big kick atm to tell women THE TRUTH about birth lol because although I’m a birth junkie from long ago, there were things I was unprepared for when I experienced a real birth. Does that make sense? I’m working up to a blog post of my own in a similar vein! Thanks for the inspiration xx

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Elliecan December 17, 2010 at 11:09 pm

ah mama!
you got it!
this is also why my boy was able to watch his sister being born. to heal, and see normal birth. even if it was mainly for my healing to have him witness it. my VBAC has healed the trauma from my first birthing for me, my partner, my mum, and hopefully my boy. his response to it depends on when i ask him, varying from horrorfied to thrilled. you can see such emotions on his face in the video too.
i agree with Jodi that birth needs to be normalised by having children present at them. just as it was in recent years for men to reclaim their right to be at their childs birth.
all power to the natural child birth movement!

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Amber A December 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I had my then 6 yr old daughter stay in when I gave birth to her sister, She cried when seeing her come out. It was beautiful, she said. I was in the hospital being induced but with no pain meds. I almost birthed on the toilet! But I am so glad that I had her stay there. She is 9 now and wants to be there for any more we have, she missed the last one. My oldest son, 12, wanted to be there too. I let the nurse talk me out of it because of puberty and afraid of how he would react to seeing mom like that. He didnt’ get to see but my room had another room for the tub, he stayed there. He could hear it all. He held the then youngest, 16 mos, while I was giving birth. I think including the kids is important and will change how they see sex and what it leads too. They see the outcome of coming together and the work involved.

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Sharon December 17, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I aboslutely agree! I feel very fortunate to be the daughter of a home birther, who has now given birth to two daughters and one son, all beautiful natural empowering births. My oldest daughter is four, she has been present for the home births of both my two year old daughter and my four week old son. My two year old daughter was there to watch her brother come into the world. We prepared them with lots of youtube waterbirth videos, and even my two year old can narrate a birth video acurately as the baby is birthed. I am so excited to have been able to share normal birth with them, gentle, peaceful, primal and strong. Exactly as it should be! A few weeks before my son’s birth, we were watching videos online and a mom delivered a baby in her bed. My four year old looked at me in amazement and asked, “But mom! Why is she not in the water? Can you have a baby anywhere? Even on the floor?” Haha That’s my girl. She thinks WATERBIRTH is the norm. :) I’m very proud.

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brande December 18, 2010 at 6:56 am

i am the daughter of a homebirther as well! my mom had my older sister and i in the hospital, and then my 2 little sisters at home by UC. we need to give our moms a BIG thank you hug for shaping how we see birth! i never remember being fundamentally scared of birth, i struggle through fears like everyone…and had my first daughter in the hospital and it felt ALL wrong! my mom was absolutely beside herself when i had my second daughter at home. i hope that my (due with my 4th any day) girls are as excited about and see birth as normal as my mom helped me to.

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R. December 17, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I love reading about son’s attending and being a part of births! As independent as many of us may be, it’s such a relief to have our significant other trust in our bodies and abilities and understand what is normal as well!

Not only do we need to teach our daughters about breastfeeding and natural births, but someday our sons will grow up and be the main support system. If they’ve been exposed to and understand the process, I’m sure more women will have the confidence and feel supported enough to really give breastfeeding and natural childbirth a go.

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Miranda December 18, 2010 at 2:38 am

My son was there for my 1st homebirth and seemed fine with it all (helping rub my back and feeding me grapes during labor). The my second homebirth (3rd child came) and it was a long, purely intense birth that I struggled with. It kind of traumatized the kids (2 & 4) so much that my daughter (5 yrs later) says she doesn’t want to have kids because she’s afraid of the pain. So I guess the thing I want to comment on is that I suppose it depends on how you handle birth. I think if you tend to be very vocal or are having a tougher birth, it may be a good idea for your young child to not experience at least the labor portion.

My 4th birth was TOTALLY different. Fast and super calm. I wish I’d have woken them up to experience it. I’m hoping to have them witness this next baby being born in May so they can see a more positive experience now that they’re older.

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Jodi December 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I was very vocal during labour; my daughter did become concerned at the time, but seeing that concern helped me to focus my energy. I began to moo like a cow, which made her laugh and join in (and also helped my contractions; thank you Ina May’s Guide lol), which in turn made me laugh. I had people there with her and my niece who explained that it was all okay and I would be fine, and as soon as they saw the aftermath; me in the pool with my son, smiling and glowing, the whole atmosphere warm and comfortable, they understood in the pure and simple way that children do. You are right, it is how you handle it, and I’m sure once your daughter gets to an age where she can remember the whole instead of just one part she will understand a lot better. You’ve planted the seed at least, and one day after she’s processed the labour portion of your birth she’ll know what normal is! Congratulations on your May baby, I’m having my 3rd in April lol, have a beautiful birth!

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Elliecan December 18, 2010 at 6:09 pm

that is so beautiful Jodi! Laughter is such an awesome painkiller (and intensity lightener) too!

my boy was in the lounge with his granma, and only witnessed the last few minutes of his sisters birth.

I agree with birthing being intense! and when i slipped out of focus and trust and into fear it certainly hurt more!

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mamapoekie December 18, 2010 at 2:57 am

Great article and I so wholeheartedly agree. It’s the same with nursing… as long as children don’t witness the normal natural states of human life, they will continue to believe in the cultural portrait we make of it… I would go further and say it used to be the same with sex, but then I am sure I would be stoned to death so I will abstain

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Rebekah December 18, 2010 at 6:46 am

I too believe we need to show both our sons and daughters normal birth and breastfeeding. Just like the poster above stated, our sons will grow up and get married and how awesome for them to grow up knowing what normal birth is and looks like just like our daughters!

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Jessica December 18, 2010 at 7:38 am

So true. My 3 year old begs to watch Business of Being Born every day because he loves the birth videos and seeing the babies. At first he thought they all had “boo boos” but after a few times of mommy reassuring him he understood everything he was seeing. I think that we as mothers SHOULD be exposing our children to birth(when they are ready of course). How else will we be able to fight the view of “normal” birth in America?

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Lise December 18, 2010 at 9:03 am

I agree that pain is perception. i gave birth to my first 2 months ago at home in water. it was intense, powerful and during the pushing i experienced orgasmic sensations! i had worked hard on releasing fears and using empowering affirmations daily and had 3 friends there for support. i wanted it to be a celebration and it was. laughter and dancing even at 8 cm. i am a midwife myself and had a midwife friend there for support to my husband. i examened myself when needed but otherwisse trusted the proces. i delievered her myself and it was amazing to see her open her eyes under water.
i want her to be there one day when the next one is due. i quit my job at the hospital this year because my integrity and soul no longer could stand the norm perception and mentality there, though it´s not yet as bad in Denmark as it sounds like in the States. i plan to become an independent midwife and teach kids and preteens about birth. it starts early and unless they hear the positive side of normal birth they´ll be indoktrinated into fear. really it starts with one´s own birth which is why i took a facilitator course with Elena from “birth as we know it”.
It´s good to know we are many who DO trust the birthing proces! It´s our obligation to pass it forward !

Love & Light

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Raquel December 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

What a wonderful gift to give your daughter! I witnessed 4 of my 5 siblings births, a combination of home and hospital births and it has defined how I define birth.

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Rachael December 18, 2010 at 10:32 am

love it!! thanks for sharing. My daughter slept through our homebirth but we are going to make sure she has the option of witnessing the next one especially since she will be 5 or 6 and old enough to remember. For me, birth is painful and not just intense but i want her to know that it’s pain with a purpose and all worth it in the end!!!

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Annie December 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I absolutely agree, children should be part of birth. I am a midwife, and I am pregnant right now, and we talk about birth a ton. We watch lots and lots of videos. We talk about their own births over and over and over, they never get bored of it. My son was 2 1/2 when my daughter was born at home in the water, and he remembers it clear as day. He tells her about it, it’s amazing what an impact it has made on him. I think it really eased his transition into being a big brother. We talk about birth being normal and not scary, that some moms make a lot of noise and some don’t, etc. My kids know the proper terms for female and male anatomy, and know that the baby comes out of the woman’s vagina, that the baby doesn’t just appear when the mom comes home from the hospital. Talking about and normalizing birth has brought our family closer together. My son’s birth was a hospital birth after being transferred from home. He was intubated after the birth, and he has memories of that. So, processing his birth with him has been very healing to us both. We plan on both children being present at our next homebirth. They already are excited about their “jobs”. My son will cut the cord after it’s done pulsing and my daughter will announce the baby’s gender. I think showing both genders of children the joy and normalcy of birth is one of the best ways we can change the ideas of birth is this country.

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Annie December 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I also just want to say that I am VERY vocal in labor, it really helps me. I knew that would be the case, and told my 2-year-old ahead of time that I would make lots of noise because it helped me. I told him it was like when you lift or push something heavy, when you grunt, it feels good. I told him that for me, having a baby was a lot of work for my baby, and making noise feels good. So, he wasn’t scared of my noises. He still will make the noises when he recounts his sister’s birth! It’s funny.

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Annie December 18, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I meant “a lot of work for my body”, not baby!

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Delana Fuessel December 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I love this. My 5yr old and I were recently watching an episode of TLC’s “A Baby Story” and she told me that it’s not normal to have a baby in a hospital. She asked me if the mom was sick. I said No, and we talked about it. I want her present at my next home birth. She missed my 1st home birth by 15min. I love your blog.

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Tiffani December 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Absolutely! People act so appalled when I mentioned that my oldest was present for the birth of both of my younger sons. I wouldn’t have it any other way! He was almost 3 when my middle son was born and 4 1/2 at the birth of son #3 (and son #2 was present at less than 2 years old for my third birth, as well!). Just the other day, my husband and I were having a conversation about a friend having a scheduled induction at 39 weeks because she has such “big babies”, and my oldest goes “Having a baby in a hospital? That’s weird.” That’s right, baby!

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Elliecan December 18, 2010 at 6:17 pm

My son and I read “Hello Baby” by Jenni Overend a lot before Iz was born. I think it helped all of us, actually. It is about a home birth, beautifully illustrated and well worth searching out as yet another assistant for children to understand birth.

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Melissa December 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I had both of our other children at my birth. They loved it. I just treated it as a normal everyday thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQVDChbfSRY

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Susan Peterson December 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I had children at many of my home births. My ten year old son took the pictures at one of them. The other kids were around in a semicircle watching. They were sitting on a step nearby watching the last one.

When my first daughter had her first baby (at 16) she approached the birth truly without fear, in a realistic way, knowing it would be difficult, but that she could handle it. After all, she had seen her mother do it three or four times. The nurses were amazed at the calmness of this 16 year old having a long completely unmedicated labor. Both she and my second daughter have told me that believing in birth and not fearing it were gifts I gave them.
My youngest daughter and oldest granddaughter were there when my oldest daughter had her fourth child at home, still very calmly. I hope that
this stays with both of them as their image of birth.

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Jesssica December 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I have a question. I had a very “normal” view of birth. I went with a midwife. Due to baby positioning and a stalled labor and a swelling cervix I was transferred to the hospital for an epidural and pitocin. I ended up with a c-section. Now my view of birth is not normal. I am scared to do it again. Before I was not at all scared. I want a home birth but am scared of uterine rupture even though I know therisk is very small…any advice for me?

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Jodi December 19, 2010 at 12:24 am

It’s understandable that you’re scared; you had a helluva experience right there. Maybe do a little research into hypnobirthing, possibly some councelling with a good midwife or doula to help you work through your previous experience. Fear isn’t a foe, but an ally: It lets you know when something could be wrong, I feel the best defence against what you recognise as unreasonable fear is to greet it like an old friend, figuratively let it know you’ll be okay and, while acknowledging its presence, don’t let it dissuade you from your path.
To go through the experience you have and come out the other side, even with a new phobia, it proves you’re strong and capable like all mothers. You’ll get there, trust me. You obviously know the stats, your view of birth isn’t abnormal, just momentarily tainted, that’s all.

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Lise December 19, 2010 at 3:23 am

Jessica: Know that the risk of rupture when the scar is vertical is less than 1 percent! If the scar is horisontal, as they cut it open in 3. world contries it is more though. Some advice to having a home birth is: wait at least 1-2 years before being pregnant again to make the scar strong. If you feel any pain in the scar, especially between contractions, it is a sign that you should transfere. If the scar is weak, due to the tecnique of the doctor stiching, it can rupture early on, even before real labour, but again Very rare! Get support from a midwife you trust your homebirth and work on releasing your fears. Visualize your beautiful peaceful birth every day and send loving thoughts to your scar, visualizing it as a strong bond that protects your baby. Know that in labour, so much is MIND. Take control over your thoughts and don´t let them control you…and then flow with the proces.
Good luck! You´ll be fine!
Love & Light

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A.M. December 18, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I can tell you that things like this that we do for our daughters really matter. Every bit helps. I was born in a hospital (not by choice. My mom was risked out by every midwife in our area, and did not feel comfortable to go unassisted, so she had to do a hospital birth. She refused all interventions, though.) and I was only 2 when my sister was born, and that was another hospital birth for the same reason as the first, so I wasn’t there. Even so, my mom always told me that birth wasn’t scary at all, that it’s what thousands and thousands of years of evolution have refined us to be able to do.

After growing up hearing that, when I unexpectedly got pregnant at age 21, even though I was very scared (because being a single mom is hard especially for someone who still had a year to go before finishing her degree!) but my first call was to a midwife who was the mother of one of my childhood friends. She owned a birth center in our town, and I asked if I could have my baby there. She welcomed me in. The care I received at the birth center from the three midwives who practiced there, reinforced what I had known all my life, that I would be ok, that I could do this, that it was not scary.

When I got pregnant with my son, five years later, my husband and I were living somewhere else, but we knew we had to find a birth center because we’d learned a lot about what hospital births were like, with all the interventions, and I found the prospect of these things pretty scary, so hospital birth was out of the question. We found another great birth center, staffed by two wonderful midwives, who helped us bring our son into the world peacefully and simply. My husband is from a very mainstream family, a c-section baby himself, actually, so he’d never known anything about normal birth, but having been there and seeing me bring our son out into the world, he has become a major advocate for non-hospital birth.

We’re now expecting our 3rd, and Uncle Sam finally stationed us somewhere that homebirth is legal! We are planning our homebirth for the summer. Our daughter will be a month shy of her 8th birthday, and our son will be 2 1/2 when the baby is born. Our daughter has said she would like to be there, and I have left the choice up to her.

She knows that birth is a natural not at all scary thing, and that midwives are great people who are there to help us through it. She knows that only if something is badly wrong is it ever necessary or worthwhile to birth in a hospital. She said to me once, “When I have a baby someday, I will go to the birth center, and ask Ms. Jill to help me just like she helped you.” Awesome.

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Joy December 18, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Food for thoughts….
If birth is similar to sex, in its intimacy , body parts involve , the sensuality , the potencial for orgasmic birth and all of that, would you say it is a child place to witness in it s entirety? Not sure how my 12 year old boy would react if I indeed have an orgasm…. I am not shy about my body , or my husband body, I believe Sex is a normal part of life and try hard to convey this message to him. but while preparing for an orgasmic birth, hopefully I will feel confortable enough to try clitoral stimulation to ease Cx, how do I fit my son into this? how do I find the words, ok everyone out I need privacy kind of thing…? He wants to be present for the birth, and I want him there, but it does contradict with my plans on how the birth is goinf to happen…

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Lise December 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

Wonderful way of working with your body!
Why not just be honest with him….tell him what you want to do and why and that you want privacy at that time but that he can come back in for the birth….he probably doesn´t want to see you do it either ;)
I had an orgasmic birth myself…truly amazing experience!
Good luck!!
Love & Light

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Joy December 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

thanks for your answer, I really don’t see myself explaning “honey mama is going to play with herself now….lol” joking appart, I have to figure things out now I guess…
what did you do to prepare for your orgasmic birth?

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Jenny December 18, 2010 at 11:10 pm

My daughter was in the house and woke up from my very loud birthing. Lol she wasn’t scared once my sister explained what I was doing. I think she wouldn’t mind being at a future birth. She was 2 yrs old at the time (very smart, very verbal). My only thing is I felt very betrayed by the pain. I’m a birth junkie, watched the BOBB and Orgasmic Birth. This was a vbac…super fast labor (3hrs), nuchal hand. I’d like to not have pain next time, just the “intensity” I keep hearing about.

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Joy December 19, 2010 at 12:46 am

Yes, it is also what I am trying to acheive first birth horribly painful, and I did it all by the book, HB midwife, no intervention at all..and still I was in agony for 31 hrs…., orgasmic birth is my goal….it is suppose to be the best orgasm ever!it’s physical, emotional, sexual!I have been preparing prayer meditating!!

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Mary Bennefield December 19, 2010 at 6:18 am

Jenny …. as an L&D nurse it never ceases to amaze me at how unique every single birth experience is. I wish you the best of luck in the future that you may experience the birth you envision. There are so many variables that play into it that it is not possible to predict. I must say though that at least a laboring woman has the benefit of knowing that the process is only temporary and will eventually come to an end AND she will reap a great reward for everything she has gone through. There is no greater love and joy than that felt by a mama as she embraces her newborn and gazes into their eyes for the first time! (My births were by no means easy, optimal or what I had envisioned so I can relate to those feelings of disappointment and betrayal, etc. …. ) I am always envious of the mom’s who are so blessed to have the labor they always dreamed of. (I recently had a Korean woman come in … she literally weighed 97 lbs and was extremely petite …. she literally delivered within 15 minutes of arriving with nothing more than a wimper!! I was shocked when I weighed the baby and he was 9lb 6oz!! Truly … it was amazing and I was awestruck; Impressive indeed! I pray that your next birth will be one such as this.)

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BerkshireMom December 18, 2010 at 11:17 pm

My oldest was only 22 months when her first brother was born. It was a quick labor (35 minutes, start to finish!) and frankly, noone had time to even think about waking her up for it. Her second bother was born almost 3 years later. She was right there, holding my hand, and brushing my forehead, and mimicking the coaching from my husband and midwife. I could hear HER voice above anything else in the room. She was the first to hold her brother and they have had an amazing bond in the 15 years since. BTW, the first brother was a VERY heavy sleeper, and brushed everyone away when we tried to get him to wake for his brother’s birth. However, all have heard me regularly advocating for normal births to be at home and that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed babies. Now as young adults, they know they may have to be firm when requiring their desired conditions for birthing, and they know that our bodies were built for birthing and nursing. I don’t know if they will chose to birth at home, but the seed is firmly planted. In my family, only one generation has had hospital births, and my mother was always very vocal that it was anything but a positive experience. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders when we told her we were going to birth at home.

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Brittany J December 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

(I posted this on the FB page as well)

This is a story that I take to heart because growing up I was taught that birth was a scary thing that was meant to be endured with drugs and a doctor taking control of the situation. As I grew older (around age 10), this fear was grounded in by my aunt’s traumatic vaginal birth where she almost died. It took having my first pregnancy to learn the truth about real circumstances surrounding it all. I found out that the whole reason why a lot of those experiences (except my aunt’s but she had legitimate medical reason’s for her traumatic birth) were told to me was to scare me from getting pregnant as a teen. It was kinda like their own form of abstinence education.

I found out that my own mother had a drug free birth with me at age 16 and that it taught her not to be afraid of birth. I found out that my mother-in-law had 6 natural births. I found out that a few of my friends had natural births during inductions as well! Hearing this gave my confidence a boost so I changed my mind on wanting an epidural at 6 months into my pregnancy. But, I didn’t prepare myself enough for my delivery and was talked into an unnecessary csection. I was able to go without an epidural, but was still cheated from my experience. I was 19.

Now I have educated myself. But through all of that education, Those things that I was taught as a child still linger in the back of my head. I am trying my best to completely push them out to allow all of this new knowledge about empowerment to take it’s place.. but in the words of Yoda “You must unlearn what you have learned.” I am 21 now and I am giving it all I’ve got and more to achieve this birth. Not just to empower myself, but to heal myself from the trauma I felt after my last delivery (it still hurts to call it birth, since in my eyes, it was not).

I will be teaching my daughter that birth is the most natural thing that a woman can go through and that her body doesn’t willingly put her through anything she can’t handle. During this time, I will reeducating my own child psyche on what I should have been taught all of those years ago.

Sorry for the novel, I am just really passionate about this subject. Thanks for reading if you read it all!

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Lise December 19, 2010 at 3:52 am

Brittany, you are so brave! To have to battle such indoktrination from early on really takes a strong mind and willpower and working on wanting the change. You ARE doing it already! Remember to be kind and compassionate towards yourself as well, your body will react to what you teach it.
Good luck!
Love & Light

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Rebecca December 19, 2010 at 3:10 am

My eldest daughter was 15 when she saw her first birth. It happened to be of her youngest sister in February this year. It was intense, she saw me holler and she saw me birth at home alone with her and dad present only. She saw the power of birth, the emotional magnitude of a home birth and she saw the happiness and relief. 4 years ago she watched me birth on a bed in hospital – although a successful VBAC – still so very different. Im glad she got to see both and I can happily say that she has said to me that she plans on having her babies at home too. I have never seen a birth but still long to. I think the most important gift we can give our daughters and our sons is the ability to view a real birth – natural and at home. Its a shame our communities are small and scattered so we dont get this opportunity anymore.
We are lucky to have the wonderful technology of birth videos which I think need to be spread far and wide through schools and birth stories need to be written and read often.
Birth is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced and only wish that everyone would find the inner strength to trust themselves.

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Soshanna December 19, 2010 at 4:15 am

I had two amazing home births. I used HypnoBirthing – the Mongan Method for my second and it was the most amazing experience, so much so that I trained to be a practitioner. My daughter was only two at her brothers birth and fast asleep, I am sad that she missed it but she has seen the video many times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaZ-gImG5Gg

She thinks home, water births that are positive experiences are the norm! As is full term breastfeeding. Thank you for all the good that you do on your blog.

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Joy December 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

I am reposting because I would love to hear everyone input on this! thanks!
Food for thoughts….
If birth is similar to sex, in its intimacy , body parts involve , the sensuality , the potencial for orgasmic birth and all of that, would you say it is a child place to witness in it s entirety?

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Mrs. BWF December 20, 2010 at 10:45 am

You know, I would say yes. Birth itself is not sexual. However, if I was having an orgasmic birth, my 7 year old will not know to compare my behavior to sex, so yes, I think it’d be fine. If I felt uncomfortable though, I’d nonchalantly have her taken somewhere else. Of course, if I was not comfortable, orgasmic birth wouldn’t be happening anyways. ;)

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Lise December 20, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I´d say yes. As long as their own bounderies are respected. how else will they see for themselves what it can be like? Your question earlier on about what i did to prepare for my orgasmic birth. ..i KNEW that it was possible although i´d never seen a woman have one after 8 yrs as a midwife. i am a birth junkie and LOVE the proces but eventhough i´ve witnessed many wonderful births i still had some fears of my own, mainly concerning my partners reaction if i didn´t need or want his touch., so i prepared by reading tons of positive empowering birthstories, read Pam England, worked on discovering & releasing my fears, meditated, visualized, took a course in and became a “Birth into being” facilitator, used daily positive affirmations and hung empowering collage pictures all around the house. During the birth (9hours active, 23hours in total) i never laid down except for 3 short times when i wanted to know how far i was. (out of curiosity, being a midwife i didn´t know if i was able to asess my own progress based on my feelings and reactions as i can with other women, but i was). I had looked so much forward to this experience with its all, that i was so HIGH. I think this attitude helped a lot, fear hinders expansion.
I walked a lot, went shopping during the latent fase, had a wonderful time w/partner, and as i had wished, it was a celebration with good music (i made different playlists to encourage myself), dancing/pelvic rock and laughter. kissing (mouth=cervix) I never felt like mastrubating although we had prepared our helpers that i/we might do it, but i massaged my labia/vagina in private as i was very swollen from squatting so much. It felt GOOD. i looked forward to feeling the little head massage me from within and it did feel good, not painful. like being massaged by the penis during sex-not to sound vulgar. it felt quite overwhelming at first though to feel her against my perineum and we have it on video me screaming after the first 2 pushes “FUCK orgasmic birth!” LOL but then i realized that i had the chance to prove to myself what i know; mind over matter. I started praying, using my affirmations and reminded myself of all i had prepared, that i truly knew i could take control, although i can easily understand now why some lose control as it is an awsome RAW power! i was very clear throughout the whole birth and conscious of NOT frowning or clenching my hands to go with the flow and not tense up.
From the very next contration (after this quick inner peptalk) the feeling changed and from then on (pushed 15 min) it felt orgasmic every time she pushed. She must have touched on all the points tantrics talk about, but it wasn´t as if i was sighing silently in pleasure. it was still a workout and very vokal as i am during sex. i felt open inside and like “jello”, being extremly surprised when her head came out so quickly. i was very surprised to actually experience it myself and did my best to just let go of control and flow with the bodily powers. It´s like, you let go of control to get control….
I´m not sure the orgasmic sensation is something to chase. I believe it is a quite natural part of birth if the woman is confortable and the focus is more on releasing then of expectations that might leave one deeply dissapointed or feeling less “empowered”. The sensation was not the main part of what i remember, it was the overall feeling of joy and receptivity to anything that might happen. Everytime fear pops up during a birth it is important to adress it and deal with it, which might mean doing an emotinal investigation inbetween contractions which is easier if one has practiced in pregnacy. At one point the babys heartbeat went up and after having talked about my fear of transference due to the midwife arriving (my partner wanted her there, i really wanted to labour unassisted), it slowed down to normal. A good understanding of the hormones active in birth is helpfull i believe.
I hope this can help you…please share your birth story afterwards! When are you due?

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Joy December 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm

that’s my thing I want to make sure it happens!!! so I want to do everything right!

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Joy December 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm

DUe in 3 weeks…I can’t wait…thanks for sharing…

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Kathleen Nohrenberg January 15, 2011 at 1:18 am

Go one step further and have her catch the baby!! heheheheh now THAT would be awesome.

and p.s. don’t forget to get a professional photographer. can’t wait to see your pics. I’m sure they will make me cry lol

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Mrs. BWF January 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I am actually already planning on letting her catch the baby if she wants to. :)

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Elizabeth January 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

I believe this so much!! in order to change the future we must show them!
it IS our job to show our children what birth is, and if I ever have another child my son will be witness, at home. :)

I want him to be educated, its not a woman thing, its a life thing. :)

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3galsmama January 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

My last daughter was born at home in the presence of my then 6 and 10 YO daughters. I’m a doula, and I do not fear birth at all. However, I have to say that I’d have done my girls a disservice if I did not prepare them to see me “in pain”. My baby was only 6 pounds, labor was very slow, but transition was fast and it.hurt. There was no discretion on my part, I did not hold back for anyone’s sake. The pain went away within moments, but they’d have never believed me if I’d told them it didn’t hurt after. And if they hadn’t been prepared, their experience of my birth likely would have been traumatic.

I’ve had the honor of witnessing women who all reacted differently to the intensity, from quiet and seemingly painless to screaming and sobbing. I agree that pain is a perception, I agree that women (even if they don’t know it) are naturally strong, and fear antagonizes the perception of pain. Some children aren’t able to grasp that, though.

I prepared my girls with videos of all sorts of births, and we talked a lot about how different women react – physically, emotionally, mentally, socially – to the same process. They recognized what pain looks like because that is one of the few feelings they felt confident they grasped the visual of. I wasn’t sure which one of those ways might be how my home birth would go – if I would keep quiet and controlled (which is what I personally expected) or if I’d yell like a banshee and curse like a sailor (which is what I actually did). Telling them what they witnessed (though it was only a brief amount of time) wasn’t pain .. yeah, I’d have been lying and they’d have known it. The result is they believe me that they might not react the same way because they recognize that each of them will be a different woman than I am, and they believe (because of the preparation) that all women birth differently, each time.

Please don’t think I mean to argue, I love what you are doing with BWF, but on preparing children, I just had to offer my slightly different perspective.

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Belle Kellan September 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Hey there, Birthy Gang. Mrs. BWF, I believe you’re one of the coolest mamas ever! I’ve only just found out about this blog and your FB page about a month or so ago, but I’m LOVIN’ it (not to make McD’s any more popular, but it works)! Now that I know my options, I want my next two at home, minimal on the everything that’s not God-given natural. I also want my kids (currently two, a 3 1/2 yo boy & a 3 mo girl) to be perfectly at home with a truly natural birthing session. Thanks to Joy’s posts, I’ve discovered orgasmic birth (???) exists & will be doing some research on it. I think you’re on the right track, mama, although I have to agree with 3galsmama: unless it’s painless for you, telling your kids it’s only intense feels like a white lie kind of deal. Of course, you do what is best for yours; that’s only an outsider’s two cents. It’s awesome how you’ve attracted at least on L&D Nurse (Mary) to your blog, as well. Mary, I’m sure you know how much you’re respected, at least among those here. I first learned about birth as a 7 or 8 yo child – anybody else ever read “The Wonderful Story Of How You Were Born”? I loved it & must have read it through 50+ times – right up until I lost it during a move. I plan on getting my children each their own copy so they can read if they choose. Anywho, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts & feelings on this with us!

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Tanya September 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I totally agree….I am a midwife who has worked part time in a hospital setting caring for women, families and babies. I have mostly worked part time as the rest of the time I have spent having five babies of my own. All of them were born at home, in water. My 11yr old son can articulate how fortunate he is to have now seen 4 babies being born? How many women….let alone men….can say they have even seen one birth before the birth of their own….let alone…4 normal ones…at home! At my last birth..only 2 months ago…my oldest daughter who was witnessing her 3rd birth….was old enough to be fully involved. She is now 9…and she was with me the whole time, rubbing my back, just standing near me, looking, touching me and just being with me. I must admit, the 5 and 2 year old were quite “sleepy” when we woke them up to see their brother being born…but they were there and they are in the photos of our family huddled together around me and our baby Blaize welcoming him to our circle! Our children…especially our daughters, but equally so our sons now….as they will one day be men at births….need to be able to experience birth. I struggle to think what my son will do if one day the woman he has children with says ” I want an elective caesarean!”

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Bobbi Lee Jeselskis October 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

My boys saw their first birth at 3 and 5 yrs old. They are now 9 and 7 and there brother is 4 (who they watched be born) and will witness the birth of there sister in the next few weeks. So many people are shocked by the fact that we will allow them to experience this. Its very sad they feel this week. We are giving them the gift of birth without fear. I believe they will be better men, husbands, and fathers because of it. Although, this is our last child and my daughter will never witness her mama giving birth, she will know all about birth and how wonderful it is! This is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing.

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Ruth October 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm

As a mum of 6 children all born via c-section (mother in-law was our midwife) I couldn’t show my older ones what a lovely natural birth could be like. They have seen lots of videos on you tube, as I just love watching such emotional powerful natural births. My first had been a planned home birth with birthing pool all set up. But at 42 weeks, we got induced ( I was 24 yrs old and knew no better) her heart rate went up to 200 bpm and she was our first emergency c-section. I have since found out I have a plattypolid shaped pelvis which has made it harder.

I am finally coming to terms with it all, it’s been a long hard emotional road. But God has given me lots of strength as has my husband. Well done to you. I’m in awe xx

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tarrah zimmerman October 26, 2011 at 12:43 am

I am so thrilled to read this!! So true. I am having my 5th baby this coming spring and it will be our first home birth. I have had two successful VBACs and two c-sections and we feel it is finally time to come home! Two of my biggest motivations are my two daughters… I want them to know how normal and wonderful birth can be. I want to be a role model of how strong women can really be! My oldest daughter will be 7 next month so your post speaks to me deeply. So glad you are encouraging others to see birth for all the glory it is!!

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