Two of my cousins were expecting this year (and so am I).  They were due in February and March; I'm due in June.  So, it is pretty cool that we were all preggo at the same time.  It was their first pregnancy, but this is my second.  We are all having girls.

I'm really disappointed that they both ended up having c-sections that were most likely completely preventable.  They both live across the country from me, but we were talking and sharing throughout the pregnancies.  I had tried broaching the topic of natural childbirth with them, but they were both not really interested in it.  Both were induced.  Both ended up having c-sections. 

I know it was their choice.  I know we should be happy that they and their babies are "fine" and healthy.  But, I really wish they had been more open to what childbirth can really be like.  I wish their experiences would have been what I know they could have been.  I'm sad that our culture is still so uninformed and pro-whatever-my-doctor-says-is-the-best mentality.  I'm sad that I wasn't able to help influence their births in a positive way. 

I know I'll get over it.  But, for now, I'm sad and wishing they weren't in so much pain recovering from a likely avoidable c-section and that they could have enjoyed a natural, amazing childbirth experience.  I'm planning on a completely natural birth and exploring my options for homebirth.  Maybe my experience this time around will open the door for them to considering the larger scheme of options available for them when they are next pregnant...


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I know what you mean. I have friends who just don't seem to care/understand. I had one friend who ended up with a csection after a failed induction at 41 1/2 weeks, and when she asked about VBAC with her 2nd, the Dr actually told her they can do a trial of labor if she "qualifies", but it's not safe and "most VBAC babies DIE". I couldn't believe it. In the end, she scheduled her 2nd csection and had her tubes tied. I tried to talk to her, and recommended some books, but she was "just trusting her dr". I was very sad.
Thanks Brittney. It's hard, especially when people we care about, don't understand that there are other options, even healthier and better options, than what they've been exposed to so far. I hope that this movement toward a more natural and empowering childbirth will continue to grow so that more and more women will find more joy and peace in childbirth. The lack of knowledge, understanding and even the blatant twisting and denying of the facts (like most VBAC babies die - OMG! talk about opinion vs facts) needs to be remedied to save lives and improve the quality of life in our country. If the truth were more mainstream, then birth would be better and risks lower for most mothers.
Hello, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here, so no hard feelings intended.

I think what most of us want, is a choice. We want the ability to decide what path we will take, and to have our decision respected. I think the main problems we have in the maternal health care system is A. a lack of education, and B. an on going loss of control when it comes to the fate of our bodies.

It sounds to me like you did your best at educating, and they chose. They may not have really understood what you were saying, but the information is out there. If they wanted to educate themselves on it, they had a resource in you, and many other places. But they chose what they wanted to do. If they are happy with their decision, then that is the best we can ask for. I always feel like ultimately, it's better for a mom to feel good about her birth choices than to have to suffer through regret.

Like I said, I'm just playing the Devil's Advocate here, I do see where you are coming from. When we have an amazing experience we always want the same for those we love. We also know that the best way for a baby to be born is vaginally, but I just think we have to remember to be tolerant of other people's choices if we want to have the space to make our own.
I don't really need a Devil's Advocate on this. I have said and done nothing but be positive and encouraging to my cousins and my aunt. I have completely hid my disappointment from them because I didn't want to project anything that would make them regret their choices now that they have been made; or that would make them feel like I don't support them 100%. I want what is best for them and their babies, but recognize that their decisions are not in my control. I did what I could, very gently and carefully while they were pregnant; never pushing my opinion or perspective, but sharing my knowledge and various resources when they seemed open.

I just needed a safe place, where it wouldn't negatively affect my family, to express my feelings of disappointment for them and for where our culture is still stuck.
I get the sense that you're offended and I'm sorry because that was not my intention.

As I said, I understand where you are coming from, I was just trying to express my opinion in response to what you wrote. I have felt the same way you do now, and found it liberating to be able to really be happy for a mom that was happy with her birth, even if it's not what I would've chosen.

Again I'm sorry if I offended you.
The hard part for me is that the people who made up these "choices" (and I mean mostly doctors, 100 years ago who wanted more patients and who began to shift birth away from midwives) were not people with the understanding of how important your own experience in birth was, and I'm sure had no idea what it would lead to. Women in this country think that these choices for the most part mean empowerment, when in fact, they rarely do.

If all of the effort could be put into birth preparation and more, things would be very very different.
Oh I couldn't agree more. I heard this whole thing described this way once, let's see if I can convey it properly.

Many women in modern society are stuck in the ''underworld'' of childbirth. The only way to get them out is for those of us who are not, to go down and bring them up. The only way to do that, is to meet them in their experience first, and validate it. Then they can come up, and continue the process.

I hope that makes since without sounding too wacky. I know personally I have gotten so caught up in the emotion of this whole battle we are fighting, that I in turn ostracized other women and made them feel judged. It is taking a lot of conscious effort to re train my thought process, and to approach other women with a mind that doesn't make assumptions about their experience and actually listens.

Again, not accusing anyone of doing this, just sharing my personal experiences.
KM, I like what you said here "The only way to do that is to meet them in their experience first, and validate it." I think that is key to opening people's minds and hearts about natural child birth. No one wants to feel judged, especially regarding such a sensitive topic.

One cool update: both of my cousins who had the c-sections are totally supportive and friendly in my choice to home birth with this baby. I think that the openness we have is due to the fact that I didn't express anything but support for their birth experiences, even though privately I was so disappointed for them. I hope this experience goes as planned so that they might feel more interested in home birth (or natural birth) as an option next time. We'll see! :)
When I had my first I would have never considered having a natural birth. I have a lot of medical people in my family(drs, nurses..ect.) and natural birth was not encouraged or even mentioned for that matter. So With my 1st son I had an epidural and the works but did have a vaginal delivery. Now with my second son I had an unplanned natural delivery in a hospital. I was sent home so many times with inactive labor with my 1st and so the 2nd time I was just gonna stay home until I couldn't handle it anymore, then go to the hospital and I always planned to have an epi. Well I guess I handled it well cause I was almost fully dialated and too far along to get an epi. I had him 30 mins after arriving at the hospital. That experience totally change my idea of what birth is like! I felt so awesome after the birth. Felt like I could do anthing. One of my friends came to see me and she asked me" You had no pain meds? How did you do it?" My answer, " I'm just awesome!" and that is truly how I felt.
So here I am now, 33 weeks preg. I am going to have this baby in a birthing center w/ midwives and I never would have done that if I had not of experienced it for myself. All that to say, maybe they didn't have natural births this time. But that doesn't mean they won't in a later pregnancy. Maybe they will become more educated the next time and they have you to encourage them if they do. There is still hope that they can experience how wonderful natural birthing can be. It's a really good thing that they have you!

Hi Laura, your story sounds a little like my mother-in-law. She had her son (my husband) with an epi (which actually worked the right way - she relaxed enough to keep labor going) and her daughter with no pain meds, because she came so fast. When I first heard she had "gone natural" I couldn't believe it, but after having my son w/o meds I couldn't imagine another way. Still, she wasn't completely behind our decision to birth out of hospital until it actually happened.

Rachel - I know how you feel, regarding family members. One of my cousins had a horrific experience which likely caused her son's current problems, and another who is due a few weeks after me is by her admission "not into the natural thing". So I do feel very alone in my decisions sometimes.



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