Preamble to an Explanation: Unmedicated Birth

The Birth StoryI plan on writing a post about why we’ve chosen the out-of-hospital birth route {and now even homebirth – woo, boy!} as a part of my Folk Tales series, but before I do I wanted to make this so clear: if you choose to “do birth” another way, I support you!

I read the beginning of Redeeming Childbirth when I was carrying Eli and one thing she talks about early on is this great divide among women – specifically Christian women – about birth. You have the mainstream, epidural crowd on one side of the chasm and the radical, homebirth bunch on the other side. To me, it seems like the hippies are more aggressive {which is just so anti-hippie, guys, really} and the moms who want the meds can be somewhat bullied. I’m sure it’s different everywhere and there are plenty of homebirthers who catch a lot of hurtful flack, but we are in a pretty progressive area. Anyway, Angie Tolpin points out the great shame it is for Sisters to be divided on anything, but especially on something so central to our purpose; something so invaluable to our calling.

And I couldn’t agree more!

I do have a sense of urgency when it comes to informing women about birth because for the first 23 years of my life, I had no idea it was anything but a medical emergency that all but required medication. And now that I know what a true gift {not using that word lightly} it is to experience labor I very much ache for any woman still in ignorance about it because of our culture. And I also do think that some of the ways we’ve been told to birth are irresponsible and needlessly risk the lives of the baby and the mother. And I also do believe that parents are bullied with the extremely unprofessional “you’re going to kill your baby” card so they do whatever the unprofessional professionals tell them to do. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it happens. Just ask around my kind of crowd and you’ll find a first hand account.

That being said, I also firmly believe that we as Moms, with few exceptions, do what we believe at the time is best for our children. We are all to some degree floundering in this sea of Parenthood and we are all putting our trust in something other than ourselves to bring us to the safest current. Sometimes it’s our upbringing, the people around us, the studies we’ve researched, etc. Usually it’s a modge podge of different life savers roped together with a fraying hope that we’re doing okay. And most of the time, if you’ve built your little raft thoughtfully, you feel pretty good.

And then your baby gets sick and the “no medicine before 103” rule you touted gets seriously tested as you pray on your knees that you’re doing the right thing. Or your toddler is waaaay more persistent than those books said she’d be and the futility of your consequences makes you want to hurl a few copies through the window….

Or something. Not that I speak from experience. ;)

And birth is no different than anything else we have to make decisions on for our kids. I believe these things matter because your birth experiences – as the baby and the mother – are shaping events. Enough research has been done in the area of attachment to let us know that we are affected from the moment we are conceived and that forming healthy attachments is crucial – birth is a big part of that. So I would hope, for their own sake, that every woman has been given the opportunity to do the research herself and come to an educated conclusion on what is important for her baby. I would also hope that she would see the opportunity since our culture has really done a great job at misguiding. It has become a passion of mine and I’ll try to do my part to get the information out there and encourage my sisters to look into things, but regardless, I take it in good faith that Moms are doing their best so however you approach and endure labor, go get ’em, tiger!

One thing we ALL know: it is tough and it brings a GREAT reward. And as much as I want every woman to have the empowerment of information, I also know that Motherhood is so much bigger than birth. And that some children are born into families through adoption so that another woman experienced that part of it, yet an adopting Mother is no less partaking in the Gift of her child. And some birth experiences really suck for one reason or another, yet Motherhood carries on. I want to pause and appreciate what God has given us in the actual labor process because it is profound and beautiful, but it should never overshadow it’s end.

Mother on, sisters, Mother on. :)

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