Being 20 weeks along now I can’t say I’m surprised that the subject of childbirth has found its way into my everyday conversation more than once. In fact, with just a few more sessions of Mommy talk I might feel qualified enough to approach a total stranger and tell her everything she’s doing wrong with her newborn. That’s how you know you’ve graduated right?
In all seriousness, I actually can’t stand the judgmental Mommy wars that start with “You don’t use cloth diapers?,” and usually end with “What do you mean you still work?” I’d like to think I’m more of a believer in the to each his own credo. Any day that the kid isn’t electrocuted is a win in my book. Of course, I am still a newbie. Give me time to form my unflinching opinions and maybe then I’ll fly off the handle when I hear that some other woman chose to do something different than me.
There is one subject, however, that I do have a pretty firm opinion on right out of the gate. To be clear, the following analysis of said opinion is not meant to persuade other women to agree with me. It’s simply an examination of why their opposing view is stupid.
That’s right ladies, I’m talking about the age-old debate regarding “natural” childbirth. I would like to know the term for the other type of childbirth. Surely, there are some that might call it the “drug-infused, failure-as-a-mother, numbing baby water slide.” However, I prefer the term “medically advanced childbirth for the non-insane.”
Now normally, I’m a pretty forgiving person that would agree to disagree in most debates. But, being a member of the medical community (and having a brain), I find it very difficult to wrap my head around the idea of a “natural” birth. Let’s explore, shall we, just why on earth a person would desire such a thing:
- Most mothers who have had a natural birth and recommend it to others claim that there is a special connection you feel to your baby and the whole process.
- Some claim that we’ve been doing it the “natural” way for years. Why stop now?
- Some mothers state their fear of needles and/or the possible negative effects of an epidural.
Now to explain why all of that is hogwash. Firstly, that “special connection” that you feel during a natural childbirth – yeah, it’s called pain. This is the same connection you could feel with your tooth if you asked your dentist to perform your root canal the “natural” way with no anesthetic. Don’t you find it odd that in every other medical procedure (some far less serious and painful than childbirth) we are automatically given some form of numbing agent and/or pain reliever? According to webMD, the uncomfortable procedure of undergoing a colonoscopy is aided quite a bit by modern medicine:
The doctor will gently put a gloved finger into your anus to check for blockage. Then he or she will put the thin, flexible colonoscope in your anus and move it slowly through your colon. During the test, you may get a pain medicine and a sedative put in a vein in your arm (IV). These medicines help you relax and feel sleepy during the test. You may not remember much about the test.
Did you catch that last part? People who undergo a colonoscopy (e.g. 1 cm flexible scope vs. 10 cm non-flexible baby head) are given not only pain medication, but also sedative agents that help them forget the whole traumatic experience. I propose that anyone who touts the benefits of natural childbirth must experience all other medical procedures the natural way so as not to look like a hypocrite – starting with root canals and colonoscopies.
Secondly, there are many, many medical procedures that one could claim have been done a certain way until recently. That’s called progress. Now if you would like to could go back to amputating limbs with hacksaws and whiskey be my guest. Perhaps a good blood-letting from some local leaches could cure you of that fever. But, hey, it’s your choice. If you want a natural birth because it’s been safely done for years and years than commit to an actual natural birth. Forget the hospital. Forget the OBGYN. Set up a corner in the dirt floor of your log cabin and call the nearest veterinarian, dentist, or blacksmith while Pa fetches some water from the well.
Lastly, for the mothers who spent far too much time browsing the internet for negative side effects of epidurals, I urge you not to look up the negative side effects of anything else ever. It’s much easier to go through life without worrying about the slightest possibility of cancer from your cell phone or microwave. Have you ever looked up the plastic content in tea bags? That one will throw you for a loop. Perhaps with all of the folly in modern science you would prefer to rent out that log cabin when pregnant woman #2 is done with it.
If it’s the giant needle that is scaring you away from what will most likely be the most alleviating experience of your lifetime, just remember that you are instead choosing to suffer through every contraction, every twinge of pain, and every scrape and cut that that baby makes on its way out – and it has fingernails. Also, don’t forget about the much smaller needle that you will certainly feel when it’s all over and the doctor is sewing up the most sensitive tissue in your body in an attempt to put everything back in its place rather than leaving you with one hole where there used to be two
So, please, spare me the lecture. Obviously I’ve thought this through. When that nurse asks if I’ll be getting an epidural I will look deep into her eyes and say, “Fuck Yeah!”