Conversations with women who choose to induce or schedule a c-section

I was enjoying a Waldorf inspired play and snack time with friends from my son's school when the discussion took an odd turn. One of the Mom's is pregnant with her second child (I'll call her Pregnant Mom) and is feeling very nervous about facing labor again. With her first birth she thinks she had back labor and she spent over two hours pushing. There was a new Mom visiting with us(I'll call her Mom2) who has two kids and she got into the conversation by asking if Pregnant Mom had scheduled a c-section or was planning to induce. You can imagine how I felt about this comment. Then she proceeded to go on and on about how with the second baby it's just so much easier to schedule it all and how wonderful it was to have her mom know when to come. I had already spoken to Pregnant Mom about how much I loved giving birth and that part of me wanted to have a second child to experience it all again. I'd also shared some insights I gained from my wonderful birth teacher.
When Mom 2 found out I was a homebirther she was pretty wide eyed and just said wow...how was that for you? She was open to a little info, but then went right back into getting the epidural even though it was probably too late with the first baby and she just thinks scheduling is the way to go.

My question is when encountering someone so removed from the idea of a natural birth how do you all continue to share your experience without judgement. I always try to come from a place of compassion and love, but sometimes it's hard not to get frustrated.

Thanks for the feedback.
Karen

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That can definatley be difficult. I have had many conversations with a close friend of mine, who has not even had a baby. Her only experience is that of her other friends, who all chose to NOT have a natural birth. My close friend and I can not talk about birth experiences because she always boosts up her other friends for taking epidurals, and never says a positive thing about my experience (which was natural, no intereventions in a hospital setting)

Sometimes, I think it might be easier to just not go there with people. It is sad though, because then you can't share your experience. It is important to keep an open mind, and try not to make your experience superior to theirs. I know how you feel though. It is definatley frustrating to have opposing opinions on the subject!
I had 2 c-sections before i gave birth at home. My sister was there for all 3 births and is about to give birth to her first. She is using the same OB that induced me with my first which led to a c-section. At my home birth my midwife and mother in law asked her after seeing this if she was going to have a home birth or go natural(she was 3 months along then) she stated very firmly that my daughters birth was beautiful but she wanted drugs. I think the best thing to remember is that it is an individuals choice. It is their body and their baby. All i can do with my sister is give as much info without being pushy. Luckily I think i have convinced her to not be induced and to let her body do what it is supposed to do. So if you ever come upon this situation again. I would tell your story but be understanding and nonjudgemental to another womans choice. You never know you may actually change someones view and they may just have their baby at home because how amazing your story was.
You know, I understand what all of you have said, and I understand that we don't want to start up confrontation every time someone tells thier birth stories, but I think we have a bit of a responsibility to let peopple know what we know.
We're the bushwackers here people!! We're paving the path for women to follow and we cannot let the opportunity to educate women about themselves and their bodies and their birth choices go by!
That said, I don't suggest starting some sort of "are you crazy!!! Do you know how risky and irresponsilbe your birth choices are?!?!" kind of converstaions, (you know, the kind that we hated so much when planning a homebirth...)but I think that we have the responsibility to respectfully disagree with some choices that they made. Perhaps the comment could start with "after I learned that inducing can cause_____ I decided that that wouldn't be an option for me" or "after I read the information on the risks of ________ I knew that I should avoid it at all cost" or even "not having my birth scheduled gave me the opportunity to practice for real life with a baby"
No mother should be made to feel that they handled thier birth badly, ever. But I also think that we can participate in these conversations while holding true to our beliefs and educationg other women.
Karen:

Share your birthing experience with love and joy. She or any other mom has the right to choose the birth that she wants based on her belief system and knowledge. A bonus may be that in hearing your special journey, she may feel encouraged to create a natural, safe and non-invasive birth.

Best,
Nicole
Holistic Maternity Practitioner
www.WholeCreations.com
http://twitter.com/OrganicWomBaby
I don't know, to be quite honest. I'm still trying to figure this one out. Some people are very open-minded. Some people are closed-minded. Those two types are usually defined by their personal experience with either type of birth. Then, there are the ones who are just ignorant. I think you have to be intuitive, if you care enough about feelings, to determine who represents what type. I'm terrible at this, so I try to keep my mouth shut as much as possible with people who, at least, act educated and convinced about their argument (like Mom2). The pregnant mom, though...she might be interested in your insight.

Also, what type of mom is pregnant mom? Is she the stay at home type or the working mom type? Sometimes working moms are more mainstream (though, not all).

So, in the conversation, Mom2 felt quite comfortable discussing her experience. You should feel the same way. Just try to avoid argumentative tone and too many stats, unless someone requests them. Talk feelings. How did the unpredictability make you feel?

Whew, I've found that hospital-moms get offended once they hear about my homebirth. I don't even have to say a word. LOL

However, I totally agree with the poster that says its our responsibility to talk about these things. I just have yet to figure out how to do it without hurting feelings.
Karen,
It's so hard to talk to someone that really has no interest in understanding the choices that come with birth. It feels very 2 sided- either you choose to let nature take its course or you sign up for a medicalized birth. I'm sure there is some middle ground (I am trying hard to see it!).
I do think what you're doing, telling your experiences in a place that comes with love and compasssion, is so essential. And it can be SO frustrating to have other mamas act like it's CRAZY!! to have a baby without unnecessary interventions. Because it should just be a very normal act!
Just keep sharing your positive experience and let other mamas know that you will talk and share resources whenever they need it!
I am so glad you brought this up! I am a very non-confrontational person and I have been struggling with this since my daughters homebirth. Lots of great advice:)
This is a situation I have experienced many times. I am normally a pretty calm, rational person, but it literally makes me want to PULL MY HAIR OUT! What I have decided is my "responsibility" to the birth movement is to share my experience (2 planned totally natural births that were an amazing experience), have the name of a few books/easily proved stats on safety ready if asked, and try not to vomit negativity about the WRONG turn our society has made with medicalized birth. I try to be conscious of the fact that sharing my experience of labor and birth may be the ONLY positive birth story that a woman hears, and it may be a very foreign concept. I think it is a very powerful message be be a walking billboard for the choice of normal, healthy birth. I have met alot of people who have been at least a little bit enlightened just meeting a "normal" person who gave birth without drugs or massive intervention. Thanks for the post--It's a good topic.
Honestly, if someone is so close minded (like mom2) I really don't get into it with them.
I might try approaching pregnant mom again and asking her if she's thought about it any more or ask if she how she is feeling about the impending birth. That might open the door for you to talk about how great your experience was.
I am not out to "covert" anyone to homebirth or even natural birth, but I feel that women are generally in the dark about the state of maternity care in the US. If someone seems interested I will email them links where they can read up on their own. I recommend BBOB movie to every pregnant woman too. I mean how can you watch that movie and not start thinking about your options?
If someone mentions induction to me, I simply tell them that I don't like to mess with God's system, baby will come when they are ready, it can make labor more painful, even my old Dr said that if you induce before the right time you usually end up with a c-section... so usually one of those will end the discussion even if they don't agree with me. And as far as the scheduled section goes, I have two close friends who had C's with their first babies. Hearing about all they went through and how hard it was to recover was enough for me. (not to mention they both wanted VBACs the next time.) My stepmom also had 3 C's. No thanks!
I think it is important not to become a militant momma. That more than anything can turn people off. I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, but have met women who try to cram it down people's throats so much that it makes me cringe - I think homebirth could be the same way. Plus, over zealous people tend to come off a little crazy, and nobody wants that. It is great to share your story and answer questions that people may have, but beyond that I don't really think it is up to anyone to convert anyone else. Just by sharing your experience you have given people something to think about. What they do with that is up to them. Who knows, given a little time, Mom2 and Pregnant Mom may choose to investigate their options on their own, and if they don't, well, it really is their choice.
It's interesting that I have yet to have anyone say anything negative about the topic. I've told alot of people that I'm planning a home birth. If anything most of them think it's great. I've got friends and family sending me articles that defend home birthing and it's saftey, even my Mother and that's a bit of a shocker. I got into a conversation with a woman that was a stranger to me. She and I often see each other at the common pool and this certain day we fianlly ended up in a conversation. Seeing that I was pregnant she started to ask when I was due and so on. Her kids were born over 30 year ago now, her being in her 60's now. She shared her stories with me, then asked how I was going about my pregnancy. When I told her I was with a midwife and a doula and planning a home birth I somewhat thought that she might have been the first to have something to say about the saftey. She was rathered amazed and said "interesting, they still do that? I think that's wonderful, and good for you"

This is the sorts of responses I have got so far, but I'm willing to bet there will be a time where someone, with no education on the matter, has something negative to throw at me. I don't mind that day because I'm armed with feeling 100% right and good about my choice, and I've done my 'homework'. I have many questions back for them as well, questions that I've seen many do the "ah, uh, um, well" stutter and really have no grounds at the end. I say my choice with confidence and knowledge and I dare anyone to challenge that. Don't screw with a hormonal pregnant woman! :) Plus, people are just plain rude to put down a woman's choice as to where she wishes to birth, no matter what that choice is.
I have a good friend who had a difficult time with her first child's delivery, and was very scared that her second was going to be too big. She opted for an induction at a little before 38 wks. It took her baby almost a week to do feed actively and readily and for her little body to get going. I attributed this to her just not being ready to be born yet.

Her husband thinks my husband and I are "crazy crunchy granola hippies" for having a home birth, and I just find it so funny.

I have a hard time resisting the urge to yell "SHUT UP!" when moms start in encouraging new moms about how hard it is and how they should just schedule and get it over with. Support and encouragement are great things, and I understand that we all have the right to share our own individual birth experiences and that we validate ourselves, and our choices in doing so. But sometimes I feel people go too far and it makes me boil.

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