Are We Allowed To Give Birth?

I have been NOT writing about this topic for a long time, and I think the reason for not writing about it is very important, so I am going to start there: I truly respect the people around me living their lives and making their own choices.  More specifically I know that parenting is complicated, and everyone is genuinely trying to do right by their kids.  And even more specifically, I know that childbirth is painful and scary and can involve complicated risk calculations AND that it is a deeply personal experience.  And I know that doctors are genuinely trying to do right by their patients.  No person is broken here, it is a broken system that too often does not allow women to birth their own babies.

I hear a lot of birth stories, we all do.  It is a fascinating experience that most women want to share.  Over and over again, I hear the same storyline – women intend to give birth to their baby naturally, and they are essentially not allowed to by their doctor.

Women are induced for so many reasons – because they are a few days past their due date.  Or because their labor has stalled.  Or because their water broke.  Or to avoid having a big baby.  And induction almost invariably starts what many women call the ‘cascade of interventions’ that often leads to a cesarean.  Everyone agrees that the high rate of cesareans poses a risk to mother and child, not to mention longer recovery time, bloated health care costs, and robbing women of the amazing experience of giving birth.

I appreciate that in certain cases medical intervention is life saving.  I get that.  But most of the time, pregnant women can wait and wait and wait and then one day they will go into labor and after lots and lots of laboring their baby will come out.  Simple.  Hospitals need to learn how to admit women into their room, and then sit on their hands and LET THEM give birth.

Remember that you are in charge of what the hospital staff does to you.  You can say no.  Ask why.  Hire a doula.  Read Ina May.  Empower your partner.


One Response

  1. This is a good post. Especially the last paragraph. However, it’s SO hard to remember this and actually voice your concerns when you are in the middle of labor, in a hospital, with people telling you what to do.

    I had a doula. I did end up being induced with pitocin but refused pain meds. The doula helped, but even with her there, at a certain point, I was just following orders and not listening to my own body. In fact, I couldn’t even hear if my own body was telling me something or not. I was on my back, hooked up to machines and IVs and just doing what the staff told me to do, which made for an unpleasant experience.

    Things are going to be a lot different this time around, firstly because we are working with a midwife and are planning a home birth. But secondly, because I know to quiet my surroundings and listen to what my body is saying. And being at home, I’ll have much more freedom in complying with what it says 🙂

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