5 Things This Natural Birth Mama Wants You to Know

I love this guest post from Melissa – she got the kind of birth she was hoping for but knows that there's no easy exit.

 

 

Upon learning I was pregnant, after the initial shock of the two blue lines and then romanticizing about the idea that I was becoming a parent with my husband, I had only one thought: oh, my God. Now I have to give birth.

I was 100% terrified and spent the first three months of pregnancy in serious denial about the fact that a bowling ball was going to descend through my nether regions and blow it to smithereens in a few short months.

But I hoped for a natural birth and had a natural birth, despite however fearful I was. Now that I’m on the other side of that whole bowling-ball-came-out-of-me business, there are some points I really want people to know.

#1. I worked toward my natural birth, not wished.

I didn’t just wake up one day and say, yes, I’d love to try to make it through childbirth – one of the hardest things ever – with zero plan in place. Let’s just hope for it and go for it! To me, that’s like signing up for a marathon, not training, and showing up on race day just hoping you make it to the finish line.

Instead, I prepared. I bought a $200 Hypnobabies home self-study off Amazon, where I listened to self-hypnosis CD’s for 30-60 minutes a day for THREE solid months of my life. It sounds crazy, but I credit my natural childbirth completely to Hypnobabies and luck (see below). It didn’t just happen because I hoped for it to. It happened partly because I was preparing my mind and body for it for a very long time.

#2. I don’t think I’m superior because of how I birthed my child.

One of my dear friends refers to me as the “birth goddess” because of my natural birth. While I’m sure she means it in a flattering way, she also gave birth recently to a live and healthy baby too. I don’t really see how one way is any better than another if you have a healthy baby and didn’t try to perform your own c-section.

There is no right way to birth a child. I think many women would argue that having an epidural or going for a repeat c-section is the right way to birth a child – for them. Natural birth was right for me because that’s my style and drugs are not my friend, not because I wanted to be “better” than anyone else or achieve some birth “status.”

#3. I didn’t have a natural birth to piss you off. Really.

Along with not being superior, I really didn’t have natural birth to piss anyone off. Yet a lot of moms treat me like I am a direct threat to who they are as mothers when I tell them I went sans an epidural – which is only revealed when asked, not because I use natural birth as a casual conversation starter at playgroup.

When exchanging birth stories with some mom friends, I referred to my daughter’s birth as the best day of my life. It was absolutely empowering to birth my baby and meet my first child. I said I actually enjoyed childbirth, not in the way I enjoy drinking Starbucks at Target while shopping for crap I don’t need, but in a way that I didn’t totally hate.

Another mom was appalled at this notion, and then proceeded to tell me about her 24 hours of pure agony before the epidural and her not-easy-at-all assisted birth. What stinks about being a “natural birth mom” (I use that term loosely because all birth is pretty natural, right?) is that some birth conversations suddenly become a giant competition, you-against-me hash out that makes everyone feel awkward. This is truly the last thing any sleep deprived, caffeine hyped woman with a screaming banshee of a baby needs.

 

#4. Luck is a huge factor.

I didn’t have a breech baby or any complications that would hinder my natural birth plans. My baby’s heart rate and my blood pressure were fine through delivery. But not everyone has those factors on their side. I have heard enough birth stories to know that some people have trouble going into labor, babies get stuck, emergencies happen.

I really feel like the stars were aligned when I gave birth and everything somehow clicked into place when it should have. But with that said…

 

#5. My next birth will probably suck.

Really. No one gets that lucky twice in a row.

 

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5 Things This Natural Birth Mama Wants You to Know

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18 Comments

  • I used Hypnobabies, too. Though I feel "luck" didn’t play in part in either of my births being comfortable and without complications. I firmly believe it was the fact I was prepared due to practicing the hypnosis tools and used childbirth education so integral to the program.

    • I totally agree, Michelle. I felt that I was lucky to not have any medical conditions like high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia which are out of your control. I know someone who attempted a natural birth but because of her complications like that was bedridden for her entire labor, which stalled it and then lead to all kinds of fun stuff. So I guess I consider myself lucky in that regard. I definitely agree that Hypnobabies prepared me for everything, though and that I did earn my natural birth.

    • I have been practising hypnosis and birth light yoga aiming towards a natural birth, I have put in a lot of work and preparation but due to health problems beyond my control I’m having to have a planned c section. Luck plays a huge part in a natural birth.

  • LOVE THIS! Except…. #5 is so false, I could cry! Plenty of women have multiple easy, comfortable births and I definitely credit Hypnobabies for that. You will have a beautiful not sucky next birth!

    • Thanks! #5 was more or less a joke for my friends who are kind of pissed that I had my birth plan to a T. I REALLY hope my next birth goes just like the first. Hypnobabies was solid and I’d definitely do it again!

  • Just saying – having a baby who isn’t healthy (my daughter passed away from congenital heart defects at four days old) doesn’t detract from the labor or c-section struggle. I know you didn’t mean it that way but it stung! Even though my daughter isn’t here – I had her.

  • I used hypnobabiex and felt really let down by it. I ended up not succeeding at uneducated birth, I think on part because I spent hundreds of hours listening to those tracks instead of learning coping mechanisms for what can really, truly (in hindsight) only be described as pain. I bought it hook line and sinker, though, so have a lot of resentment over how abandoned I felt.

  • All of these points are so true!! I also used hypnobabies and it was a LOT of work but so, so very worth it! I look back at my daughter’s birth as the most amazing experience of my life and not one I remember as being painful (logically I know it must have been, but that is certainly not the impression it left on my mind). My birth experience was pretty much exactly how I envisioned it would be, right down to the number of hours in labor (7). I know I am incredibly lucky to have had a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, and my wishes for birth so closely align with my experience.

    • That’s awesome! I feel the same exact way. There definitely was pain, but I also don’t look back on my birth story as some painful, scary experience. A 7 hour labor sounds fantastic! That’s quick!

  • She had a vaginal, unmediated birth. All births are ‘natural’ since that word means basically nothing. Thanks for sharing! All birth stories are magical.

  • I got really lucky and had 2 very quick natural births. My first i had went in with mind set that i would see how well i could handle the pain. If i couldn’t take it i would get an epidural. I was pushing him out within 2 hours of the start of labor. For my second i came in after 30 minutes of quick contractions. I was 3cm. I thought i had a while. I asked for an epidural because the pain was intense and i did not feel i could handle it. The anesthesiologist was in surgery so i had to wait. 20 minutes later i was trying to get off the potty when a nurse came in and said she could at least give me something small in my iv. She just had to make sure i wasn’t over 8 cm yet. I got on the bed and was 9! So i got nothing but 5 minutes before i pushed out another healthy baby boy. Do i feel superior? Heck no! Do i feel lucky? More than anyone will ever know. I got lucky to have 2 very healthy babies, lucky to have 2 extremely quick births, and lucky that nothing went wrong. When i get pregnant for our next, i want to go natural again. But it is not set in stone. If there are complications and i need to have a c-section, i am going to go without protest. I would rather have a healthy baby then anything. And if i need an epidural in my mind, (and can get one) than i will get one and not feel guilty. Healthy babies are the outcome all women want, and if that happens, i don’t care about the rest.

    • That is very lucky! I am in the same boat – I went in hoping for natural and if that didn’t work out, I was open to whatever got me a healthy baby. When I was in transition, the pain and everything got VERY intense. I asked for the tub at that point. They went to turn it on and by the time they got back maybe 5 minutes later, she was almost out! I delivered and then one of the nurses said "oh no! I left the tub running!" And it was almost overflowing! Pretty funny.

  • I’m glad that I didn’t get any pain meds during my labor, but I would never, ever judge anyone for doing so. My reasons weren’t because I wanted things to be "pure" but because the idea of being paralyzed from the waist down sounded just awful. Plus, I can’t say that if my labor was much longer – it was 10 hours – that I would have been able to last without those medications.

    • The thought of not being able to move my own legs completely freaked me out. I am a little bit type A (just a little :P) and I wanted to at least feel sort of in control. I also feel like if my labor was any longer (14 hours), then meds could have definitely been involved if I got tired/was stalling/the pain lasted too long/etc.

  • "I don’t really see how one way is any better than another if you have a healthy baby and didn’t try to perform your own c-section." Love it! During my pregnancy, I found myself saying a lot that as long as a woman doesn’t give birth to a robot, she has a natural birth—because what’s the opposite here, an unnatural birth?

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