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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It is hard to know when to say what and how much to say. I had a homebirth 15 years ago. It was wonderful and I tell anyone who will listen when the subject of brith comes up. Some say they think it was a "country" down home thing to do, like it was something out of "Deliverance". Some people get that it was more of an alternative, natural, homeopathic, etc thing to do to. But they still have a "huh?" look on their faces most of the time. When I tell them it was under water they are more interested. When I say it was outside under a fig tree the mouths fall open a little more. Sometimes I don't get that far.
I now live in a more conservative state and everything is much more mainstream and closed minded. I got pregnant with my third child last year. There happened to be 3 other women at my job that were pregnant at the same time. I shared my experience with them, but it did not make much of an impact. In fact everyone else kept saying that I should get an epidural. Its important to share but is also important to shield yourself from such negativity when you are pregnant. Its definitely an emotional issue for everyone involved.
Wow, I teach HypnoBirthing and have friends who've never taken a childbirth class and just are completely closed off to the idea that childbirth can be a wonderful natural thing. I am (slowly!!) learning to pick up on their attitudes to see if I would be wasting my breath to engage them or be quiet. Now, with two of my PG friends in particular I just make a comment to their uniformed decisions like "Interesting" or "What ever works for you" and then change the subject ASAP!! It's a shame that women aren't even curious about learning how to give birth. They just follow the rest of the herd to the doctors office.
I often look for an opening. When a mom says something like "I was induced at x weeks b/c I was tired of being pregnant" I can say, "Oh, I was really tired at the end, too. Both my kids were born at exactly 42 weeks so I remember that feeling well." That simple dialog opens the floodgates usually...."Your Dr. didn't induce you?" "No, I had a midwife and she and I don't believe in induction." "Which hospital is this midwife at?" "Oh, she's a homebirth midwife..."

The conversation typically ends shortly thereafter but I've made my point wi/out being overbearing...You just have to feel people out. I do think it's really important to tell positive stories though. There's way too much fear surrounding birth in our culture. Women need to know there is another side to birth, IMHO :)
Jenna,
That is a wonderful way to handle the subject! I'm going to try that. Thanks for sharing. : )
THanks! It 'works' (not like I'm trying to be sneaky, just trying to bring about another POV).

There are too many negative horror stories (not to mention unrealistic reality birthing shows) and women have these ideas that birth is only one way. THrow out the simple thought that "I don't believe in induction" and a whole line of thinking evolves, specifically...what do they believe about induction? DId they know that they are allowed to have an opinion on the procedure? THat they have a say in it? You know what I mean?

Believe me, I learned the hard way. I used to spout off stats and studies and all this knowledge that did nothing but send them running off in the other direction. I think stories are better. When my stories are challenged, I can throw in a stat or study (A first time mama friend recently asked me about induction and I told her if she agreed to it, it would double her cs rate. That alone, empowering her that she has a say in the matter, rather than "this study says this and that study says that", can set off new thinking...:D
I would say that you probably have a common experience. There is one point in birth that every women wishes they could have an out - the GOD I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO NOT FEEL THIS PAIN. So you can sympathize in that way. In the end, no one likes to have their birth made small or less beautiful.

A story like the following might help:
There is one point in birth that every women wishes they could have an out - the GOD I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO NOT FEEL THIS PAIN. So you can totally see why you wanted drugs. But then for me personally, it was weird because that's when they would have given me drugs but after that moment, it was so much easier. It's like they give you drugs after you've been through the hardest part. But hey, I hear you, we all wished for drugs at one point. My priorites for my birth were avoid having to deal with the drama and pressure at the hospital. In the moment it's impossible to know how much longer that feeling will last. I feel like I was lucky in a way becuase being at home meant that I couldn't have drugs but for you, that might have felt like a curse....

Hope this helps,
Erin
Erin, you make a really good point. For most of us, voicing how we feel helps a lot! I heard about one woman who told her support team (hubby, doula, etc.) not to give her any medication no matter how much she asked for it, because she knew she would need to ask for it, even if she didn't really want it. Just saying she wanted the drugs made her feel better.

Karen, I know how frustrating it is when you want to share something wonderful and positive with people who don't even want to hear it. Most of my friends and family don't understand why anyone would want to give birth without medication, let alone at home. I've been there though, so I understand how they feel. My first two children were induced with pitocin, and I had an epidural with each as well. The next two were born in the hospital, but without any medication at all. Our 5th baby was born at home. After my first birth experience I couldn't imagine myself laboring without pain medication, and I honestly didn't feel I could handle it. For me, it was a gradual process of learning to trust myself and my body and my support team, and realize what I was capable of and that I really didn't need the doctor, the medicine, and the hospital. Even when I was pregnant with my 4th baby, a home birth midwife offered me her services and I turned her down. At that point I wanted natural birth, but not at home. It wasn't much longer after that I decided to become a doula and from everything I learned I realized that home birth was exactly what I wanted! I admire women who do natural birth and home birth with their first baby, because I wasn't at the point of being ready for that with my first.

For me, each birth was a good experience even if it wasn't ideal. I wouldn't change any of it, because each one helped me grow more and more.

When I talk with other women about pregnancy and birth I try to remember how long it took me to come around, and how I used to feel about birth, and then I find I can have more patience with them.

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