This is the line I hear ALL the time, "Well, it's my first baby, and my mom and my relatives and friends say I probably am not strong enough to give birth naturally, so I'll try it out at the hospital first, and then when the next baby comes, I might want to do the gentle birth thing...if I can." Sigh. And then they come back to me with PTSD, other traumatic experiences and emotions, and a baby with all sorts of problems from early inductions, c-sections, etc....and many times, I can't get a midwife to agree to help with their second birth because they are now labeled "VBAC", "high risk", and on and on. This is a US tragedy. I haven't seen it in many other countries. No European woman I've ever met will say to me, "Oh, my body is not able to give birth- it's a lemon."

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Hi Sara - it's definitely not unique to the seems that it's more of a 1st world problem. There are some European countries where women don't see childbirth as an ordeal and breastfeeding is normal but there are also quite a few European countries that are just like mainstream US. Countries like the Netherlands have figured out a way to use birth technology appropriately and women tend to have a strong belief in birth, whereas in Ireland there is a huge amount of fear and moms almost expect to have difficult experiences. It seems to be a fairly recent development too so the media and instant access to online information definitely has a part to play in compounding the distrust so many woman have in their bodies.

I think it is because very few people talk about good natural birth. All we ever see besides BOBB in the main stream almost always shows these women squirming in bed with horrible pain, and the are crying and screaming about how horrible it is and they are all alone with their SO and s/he looks terrified and then a doc comes in and says "You are 4cm now you can get an epi" and the zoom back after and mom is all perky and happy saying "wow this is amazing" forward another 16 hours and the doc now says something like "Your labor has stalled you need a c/s to keep your baby alive" or "it's time to push" and mom goes on to push for 2 hours and they need the vacuum or forceps or to cut her And after the baby is out everyone says "thank god she had the epidural, can you imagine how horrible it would have been if she didn't?" And it is made to look so scary. Very rarely do we see educated natural birthers in the media, I think if they had a natural version of a baby story, maybe it would catch on a little.
Now there's a neat proposal for TLC! :-)
Yeah right! I don't think any station would ever promote natural birth. I'm sure their pharmaceutical sponsors wouldn't lke that. No drugs used during birth, no money for big pharma.
Back in the day when I watched A Baby Story, I saw one home birth and it ended in an "emergency". Of course. She ended up being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance having hemorrhaged. Of course it was taken care of quickly and all was fine. It wouldn't be reality TV without an emergency, right? Natural birth is too uneventful, most of the time at least :^)
After my 1st daughter was born in 2008 I was up one morning nursing her at 4 or 5 am and I turned on the tv and there was a show on called the house of babies. It was about a birth center that had moms delivering all natural with midwives. I of course recorded the series and loved the show but was so disapointed that the time slot would never allow the majority of women to view it. Lets be honest who gets up at 4 or 5 am to watch tv. Of course the show is now over and all I ever see is the typical baby stories that show case the occasional natural child birth or birth center birth but of course those ones alway show something negative about it. I wish they would bring that show back and give it a real time slot so women can see that natural childbirth can be done and that its a beautiful experience.
I think women do the mainstream, media driven version of what birth is and has to be like :(
Hi Sara- I agree with Tracy in that it is not unique to the United States.
Women need to hear positive stories and be exposed to births that take place without intervention.
I did not support home birth until I began attending home births as a nurse. All of my hospital experience (as a labor/delivery nurse) led me to believe that home birth was unsafe. In the home setting my eyes were opened to the body's way of laboring naturally. I saw a woman's body make adjustments in the labor pattern for a big baby, for a thin cord, or a cord around the baby's neck. In the hospital we miss out on some of the marvelous adjustments that take place when labor progresses at its own pace. Induced labor pushes the body to labor at a pace determined by protocols--sometimes causing the emergencies that we fear.
After hearing my stories, my daughter chose home birth--with my support. Women really need a good support system for home birth.
The other factor is fear of pain. Labor is painful but as it progresses, the body's endorphins kick in. Women need to understand that their body is built to cope with contractions.
So true...and I wish the media would show home births! I've tried to get several of my producer friends in LA to pitch it, and they won't- not sensational enough. So yes, I totally agree that we are perpetuating the myths. It is encouraging to read that a hospital nurse saw the benefits of home birth Carol! And that your daughter had your support. Most of us have no family support- almost like changing religions! How silly. I have a German friend in Utah who came to the states to give birth with "top quality professionals", in her home, of course, and was shocked when she found out doctors and midwives don't come to the home, you have to go to a hospital or birth center attached to the hospital (of course, now midwives will come to your house). So she began labor, and started screaming at doctors and nurses to not do this, and not do that, etc, etc. She said it was the most exhausting experience of her life, not because of labor pains, but because of the near constant pressure to do harmful things to her and her baby. I had both my children at home and in a birth center away from the hospital, and I had NO pressure. I was so grateful for her experience, and other's experiences, that lead me away from the hospital and toward an AWESOME labor and delivery, but at the same time, I am always, always sad about the regrets and terrible experiences other women go through. I would love a world where no woman had regrets about her birth experience, and where no baby was unnecessarily harmed in the process of birth!
HEY well its a very scary and exciting thing, I give birth very soon now, which will be a VBAC I will have to go to the hospital because insurance wont cover a home birth. The last time, I felt i just wasnt educated enough about everything!! so i winded up with pitocin, epidural and then of course c section, I HATED IT i did however plan on taking the epidural, since EVERYONE takes it...I thought i'd be best..well been there done that and i wont allow them to pressure any drugs on me this time around. my friends and relatives arent totally supportive you can hear the lack of confidence for me in there voice. But thats why I ve come here. its a supportive networt of other woman, strong confident women, women who reassure you. My midwife loves the idea that i want to have a natural bith and is a big fan of the Business of being born, the clinic i go to, I love it they are all so supportive they always tell me yes this is somthing you CAN DO. and at the end of the day hospitals cant MAKE you do anything, and sure who knows they might give the run around again..but ive gotten so much confidence now, Im gonna let them know this is MY CHILD MY BODY MY CHOICE..luckily the hospital i'll be going to is very much so supportive of VBACS...IDK what they think of natural birth but there opinion wont effect me I wont let it!!
You have such a great attitude. Good for you...and yes, we can do this as women. I see lots of epidurals given, not because women can't handle it, but because they are afraid that they won't be able to.....we need to learn to let go of that fear.
I think the media definitely has a large part to play in this. The only portrayals girls ever see growing up here are those screaming women with the bright shiny hospitals that save the day with lots of technology, drugs and surgery. If you see something enough, it becomes normal. That's the basis of social conditioning and that is how girls are groomed into women. Epidurals are essentially now believed to be as much a standard part of labor as the baby coming out, to the point where many women actually have almost tied the two together to the point of not believing labor can happen without one (or some other intervention). There's just so many misconceptions about birth. And, to be honest, people are becoming more and more afraid of pain and constantly looking for ways around it, instead of accepting it as a natural part of some processes.



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