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I’m not referring to Meg Ryan and Denzel Washington’s Gulf War thriller. The courage under fire I’m referring to is the courage to choose a natural birth in the heat of opposition. There is no medal of honor to be achieved, simply a happy and healthy mother, baby and family. The firing squad of naysayers can intimidate pregnant couples as they prepare for natural childbirth. Here are the top five most likely skeptics and tips to allow your courage and bravery to shine through.
Skeptic 1: Your Mother/Mother in Law.
Problem: Since the beginning of time our female predecessors have been compelled to shed their wisdom onto their heirs. Newly pregnant women begin navigating early gestation with trepidation and uncertainty, often seeking advice and guidance. Albeit well meaning, personal horror stories and outdated advice is unhelpful and discouraging.
Solution: It takes a village to rear the next generation and there are ample opportunities to solicit advice. Teething remedies, sleeping solutions and tricks to tackle the terrible two’s are valuable, but when it comes to choosing natural childbirth it’s important to feel loved and supported. Kindly say thank you for your support and change the subject during these disapproving moments from your mother (in-law).
Skeptic 2: Pop Culture.
Problem: The dichotomy of birth scenes in films depicts the uber hippy, chanting, chakra aligning and rainbow enlightened laboring women or the screaming, out of control borderline homicidal woman on the verge of insanity. Rarely does our culture show normal, beautiful, drug-free, natural childbirth. Without natural childbirth readily portrayed in our culture’s films, literature and news, how are we to know that it exists and that it’s achievable?
Solution: The charming actress Stacy Keibler recently interviewed with SheKnows.com and described her decision to have a natural home birth. She explains, “… knowledge is key to helping anyone decide what to do, so educating yourself will help to guide you in the direction that feels right. It’s tough to make a choice for so many reasons but ultimately, moms to be — you need to listen to your own heart and do what you think is best for you and your baby.” (Nathman, 2015). Seek out your own information. Sign up for a natural childbirth class. Turn off TLC’s “A Baby Story” and tune in to your inner voice, guiding you to trust your body and pursue nature’s storyline.
Skeptic 3: Your Ob-Gyn.
Problem: Medical professionals have seen the gamut of difficult, high-risk pregnancies, labors and deliveries. They train for years to save lives and prevent catastrophes. We are extremely fortunate to live in a society with such readily available medical interventions, accessible at a moments notice to deter potential tragedies. However, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (2014) report, “In 2011, one in three women in the US gave birth by cesarean delivery, a 60% increase since 1996. Today, approximately 60% of all cesarean births are primary cesareans. Although cesarean birth can be life saving for the baby and/or the mother, the rapid increase in cesarean birth rates raises significant concern that cesarean delivery is overused without clear evidence of improved maternal or newborn outcomes.”
Solution: When interviewing Ob-Gyn’s mention that you are considering natural childbirth classes, hiring a doula and planning to write a birth plan. If your obstetrician even flinches at the prospect of these supportive endeavors, keep interviewing.
Skeptic 4: The Unsupportive Friend.
Problem: Your friend may be a mom or she may be kid-free but often times when natural childbirth is mentioned people immediately assume you are seeking bragging rights and a medallion.
Solution: Gently remind your “friend” that your family’s well being is paramount. You plan to do whatever is necessary to ensure your child’s ability to thrive in this world. Through careful research and evidence based techniques you’ve discovered the path of natural childbirth to be the best fit for you and your family.
Skeptic 5: Your Own Self-Doubt
Problem: The voice in your head saying that you need the drugs, you can’t do this, and asking what’s the point?
Solution: You can do this and you mustn’t do it alone. The Bradley Method encourages the support of your partner to learn what to expect and how to maintain a healthy pregnancy to best prepare for natural childbirth. The famous obstetrician Dr. Robert A Bradley (2008) explains, “…the husband should be the one in constant attendance. Because of his love relationship with his wife, he is far more capable of achieving cooperation and helping her self-control than any attending doctor.” Trusting yourself with the support of a loving birth team will empower you to achieve the birth you desire.
*Courage Under Fire By Molly England was first published in Life on a Whim eMag.
Bradley, R. (2008). Husband-Coached Childbirth (5th ed.). New York, NY:
Nathman, A. (June 19, 2015). Ricki Lake Interviews Actress Stacy Keibler
About Her Home Birth (Video). Message posted to http://www.sheknows.com
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists & The Society for
Maternal-Fetal Medicine. (2014). Nation’s Ob-Gyns Take Aim at Preventing Cesareans [News release]. Retrieved from http://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/News-Room/News-Releases/2014/Nations-Ob-Gyns-Take-Aim-at-Preventing-Cesareans