When it comes to birthing in our country, there are many different opinions on what is safest for mom and baby. What it comes down to is, there is not one blanket right answer. Yes, most of the time, the more unhindered the birth, the safer it is. However, every mom, pregnancy and baby are different. Each woman needs to choose the tests, interventions and place of birth that makes her feel the most comfortable and safe. The best way for this to happen is each woman being educated and informed of her choices. Making decisions for her and her baby should be made from a place of trusting not only birth, but trusting herself. This takes faith, strength and support.
I want to share a story I first heard when watching The Pursuit of Happiness. This is my friend Liz’s version.
There is a horrible storm and an entire city is flooded. A man of great faith knows that God will save him. As the water starts to fill his house, rescuers in a big truck knock on his door, “The city is being evacuated, come get in the truck.” “No,” he says, “God will save me.” Soon the water fills the first floor of his house and he climbs up and stands on his upper-level porch. Rescuers come by on a boat, “We’re here to save you, get in the boat!” “No”, he says, “God will save me!” The boat leaves. Soon he is standing on his roof, and the water is almost to the top. A helicopter comes to get him. “No!” he yells, “God will save me!” Soon he is overcome by the flood and drowns. He meets God in heaven and says “God! I believed in you, why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “I tried! I sent a truck, a boat and a helicopter!”
I do believe in God and I also believe he gave the gift of having instincts and intuition and knowing when I need help or to check things out. If I believe in God, would I not do those things? Believing in God doesn’t mean you just sit back and say ‘oh everything will be fine’. It means I have faith to follow the promptings of the Spirit and do what those promptings/my intuition tells me!
I trust birth more than most people I know. Birth Without Fear is about helping women educate themselves, letting women know they have choices and helping women overcome fears so they can trust birth. With knowledge comes responsibility. Trusting birth is very important, but of equal importance is women trusting themselves! This can go either way. If a woman feels tests in pregnancy are not right for her, she should be listened to. If she educates herself and feels a VBAC is more safe than a repeat cesarean, she should be supported in this. If a woman doesn’t want vaginal exams, no one should come near her vagina. If a woman knows in her gut that being induced early for whatever reasons she is being told is unsafe for her unborn child, that must be respected.
On the other side, if a woman will know she will feel reassured everything is OK if she hears baby’s heartbeat, then she should hear it. If she feels something is not quite right and wants an ultrasound, she should get one. If a woman feels that anything at all is off or not OK, she should get it checked out, be listened to and supported. See, it goes both ways.
Women are criticized for having too many interventions or not enough. There has to be a middle ground. Birthing Without Fear means a woman is educated and knows her choices. It also means she follows HER INTUITION and what is right for HER. It is her body, her baby, her birth. Every mama is on her own journey, every pregnancy, birth and baby are different. If a mama is making informed choices and listening to her intuition, who are we to judge? That is when we have compassion, respect and give support.
You really don’t need to justify your choices to anyone! you should do whatever you want without having to feel the need to write a blog post about it!!!! you are free to do whatever the smuck you want with YOUR baby!!!
Birth Without Fear
Thank you Penny. However, I don’t feel the need to justify anything. You are right, I need to do what is best for ME and MY baby! With my last pregnancy I felt I didn’t need anything at all, this time I do and that is OK. I wrote this blog post because I find it appalling that women get so judgmental when a mother is following her instincts and that it may not be something they think is right. How can anyone judge that of another pregnant mother?! Especially an educated, in tune mama?!
I love this post, it says it all. When we are educated, informed & trust our instincts, what is there to judge?
Bethany Learn @fit2bmama
I just shared this post on my FB page. What an amazing blog! I love your topics and your tone of voice. I noticed my friends on both sides of the “natural” fence liking this post, and that’s always a good sign. Many of them feel very defensive when they get epidurals. I often feel like I can’t share my natural birth stories because my friends feel intimidated or like my very sharing is an act of judgment toward them. If I may, I would like to recommend another book for your list: my friend Tara McGuire’s “Birth Unhindered.” It’s amazing!
I seems to me that some comments really got to you,(how could they not…??) You have made BWF facebook and this blog pretty personnal, talking a lot about you your experience..ect…
For your sanity it might be a good idea to make it a more neutral ground, where your personal life isn’t there for haters to pick at , critize or judge….
You need to focus on yourself and baby, and not let the world into YOUR world!
You could still be as present , but without sharing information that people can argue with!
…just a thought….
Birth Without Fear
Good point Penny. Most of BWF is not about me at all, but it is me in a way and I am pregnant and going to birth, so some personal stuff and my journey is going to be mixed in. We’ll see what happens! I need to focus more on the all the support and not the few trolls! 🙂
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I think it is great that you share your own journey. The world has enough experts already. What we need is other people to share their story and walk along side us. I found your post really helpful. With my first pregnancy I chose no interventions but unfortunately it ended at 17 weeks due to partial molar pregnancy. With my second pregnancy I was really scared so had lots of scans and when it came to the birth I was so scared of losing my daughter that I made decisions that I never thought I would just so I could have her out and safe. I knew a lot about birth but my fear over road that knowledge. Your post has helped me to accept my decisions, be thankful for my daughter and know that with a future pregnancy I am free to choose again.
Thank you for this! I see criticism on every side of birth choices. Some say you’re in greater danger at home, and some say you’re in greater danger at the hospital, and I agree that there is no one-size-all pregnancy and birth. I only know what I feel is best for each individual pregnancy, and I need to follow that no matter what anyone else will say. One thing I’ve learned since blogging about birth and hosting a fan page about it is that no matter what you choose there will always be someone who will tell you you’re wrong. We cannot tell someone else what is right or wrong for her. We can only help make sure she knows her options and does what she feels is best.
I have just been through an amazing pregnancy and birth journey that is exactly what you have just described. I read, I learned, I pondered, I prayed, I chose what was best for me and my baby (planned HBA2C turned CBA2C where Dr. discovered a complete uterine dehiscence after incision). I did not get the birth outcome I had hoped but I did everything I possibly could to have the natural birth I so truly yearned for. Yet I feel like I can’t even share my story because of the possible judgments on both sides. “You didn’t do enough.” or “Why did you even try and put you and your baby at risk like that.” Maybe it’s an unfounded fear but I really don’t think so. Women on both sides of the issue are so passionate to the point past reason where they forget that a woman truly does know what is best for her and her baby. I am recovering physically and emotionally and my baby is very well with very minor problems right after birth. I know I made the right choices and God was looking after me and let me know when it was time to call on the medical community for help but I shouldn’t have to convince anyone of these things, though I feel the need to. Why?
Well, personally, I think you are amazing. You educated yourself and made the best choices for you and your baby. Then, you listened to your intuition and followed those strong mama instincts!!!! Way to go mama. No judgment here. Just respect and love.
Melissa, women such as yourself ate the reason I love to work L&D! Do NOT let the opinions of others make it past your ears to your heart because YOU did what was right for you and your child and that is all that matters. I am a frim believer that God gave us medical knowledge to help in certain cases (such as this) so that mother and child would be well and it is gratifying to know that there women out there (such as myself) who want to birth naturally but are not afraid to seek medical assistance if needed. Just as Mrs. BWF said … no jugdment here either …. LOTS of respect and love. You have done exactly what you should have done; you got in tune with your body and followed your instincts and you know what? They worked flawlessly! Congratulations on your new baby!! (((Hugs)))
I really appreciate this post. I’m preparing for my first home birth as an HBAC and I love how you tied God’s provision with our God-given instincts. It was perfect. This was very encouraging and affirming for me to read.
Your post comes from such love and understanding. I love how you sharing that story about God, b/c if we are made in the image and likeness of God, that means we have the same qualities and we can make our own decisions, its when we go searching for something outside of ourselves to ‘complete us’ or make the decision for us that becomes the biggest challenge. Everyone has an opinion and everyone needs to have a voice, my heart goes out to women who cant share and process their story for fear of ‘judgement’ …by asking women questions and digging deeper and helping them feel that unconditional love, that is when the magic happens b/c EVERYONE learns!
It is sometimes called “our inner knowing,” “the gut feeling,” or “the wisdom within.” Whatever its name, the experience is universal. It is a feeling, a word, an image that stands out bolder than the regular stream of conscious thought and it makes a slightly deeper impression on our minds. It will continue to guide us, depending on our receptive attention to it.