The F-word that I’m speaking of is Fear. I know…disappointment, right. Chatt-town is developing a pretty good network of moms that understand natural childbirth and that birth is normal and natural. However, the main thought still in this area is that childbirth is something to be feared. I do not fear natural childbirth. Actually, I guess I should re-classify that statement. I do not fear out-of-hospital natural childbirth. I do harbor fears of being in a hospital, but that is more because I feel like I wouldn’t have any control over what was being done to my body. Out of the hospital, I feel like I would be supported in my desires. I knew that I wouldn’t have someone coming in every hour or half-hour asking how much pain I was in. I knew that I wouldn’t have things strapped to my body, tethering me to equipment that I didn’t even want. I knew that I would be free to move and have people there that believed in my body and it’s ability to do the natural thing….labor, dilate, push….baby.
Growing up, I never really heard people discussing birth, but I also didn’t hear horror stories. My mom’s births both went pretty well. She used Lamaze with me and used no drugs. With my brother she was induced for various reasons, but was able to use her Lamaze techniques during that birth as well and didn’t have any drugs. We didn’t really talk about the births growing up, but once I got to that point in my life, she was supportive of my choices. Although I do remember a conversation where she wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the “pain.” I am a pansy when it comes to getting hurt, but childbirth seemed different. I had confidence in myself that I couldn’t explain.
I can’t comprehend the fear that women feel with birth. I’m not sure what it is that they expect. With our medical technologies, the likely hood that they would die during birth is pretty low. Maybe it is the fear of the unknown. They don’t know how they will handle the birth. For some of my friends, I know that they feared pooping while delivering. I guess that is a legitimate fear, but with all the other fluids that are present, I doubt that any care provider really cares.
With drugs, whatever fear a woman is harboring, is not necessarily going to go away. With drugs, their fears may compound because of needle phobias. With drugs, complications may go up. With a hospital environment, they may have the sense of security they need because all the possible medical technologies available to birthing women are there.
The other day I spoke to my dentist about childbirth classes for his pregnant wife. He seemed uncomfortable and stated that his wife was pretty afraid of birth and he wasn’t sure she would be interested. I said I would leave my card and she could look it up and decide for herself. At the ICAN meeting this week, one person stated that people seem to fall into two categories…those that research and make a decision and those that ignore the issue and trust that things will be what they will be. I fall into the research group. For me, to relieve those fears that I might have about birth, I would research like crazy to know my options. For some women, I guess they would rather ignore their fears and not deal with them and just deck out the nursery that the baby will hardly sleep in.
I know most women do not want a natural childbirth, however, I think it would be helpful to get some form of childbirth education and preferably out of the hospital setting. The hospital classes just really only tell you what the hospital will do to you, i.e. when you will get pitocin, when you will get your epidural. I don’t think that those classes address the fears that women really have. If a women truly learns about birth, and how a baby comes into this world, I think that a lot of their fears would dissolve.