The Response

Because of my comment on the ‘at least you had a great birth experience’ post I talked about yesterday, a lot of crazy women responded, skeptical ob herself even responded.

The thing that makes me the maddest about it is that they are blaming natural childbirth for the death of babies. Not epidurals, not cesareans, not hemorrhage or infection… they blame natural childbirth because it is just folly to not want drugs and interventions you don’t need.

Never do they site the dangers of cesareans if they are used for times when it isn’t an emergency. Never do they mention the inductions that end in death for the mother and baby because it isn’t researched enough to be deemed safe.

This doctor doesn’t care about mothers. Hell, she doesn’t care about babies. All she cares about is getting paid, which is pretty much all obs think about now. The mother doesn’t matter, because why should she? It isn’t her choice where and with whom she can give birth? It should be in an OR with an epidural with a slash right through her middle.

It’s no risk… and a cesarean isn’t traumatic at all…..

Here are the responses I got from my comment (and the red is what I think of them):

Amy Tuteur, MD “They do not assume a healthy baby is guaranteed.”

If they think that the chance of the baby dying is small, then they assume a healthy baby is guaranteed. That’s because the chance of the baby dying is large in the absence of modern obstetrics. – I don’t care who you are and what you believe, but if you give birth in the hospital with its interventions and everything, the risk of your baby dying is larger. This has been studied numerous times. The infant mortality rate is going up in our country, not going down. So maybe that is why she thinks the risk is large… or maybe she doesn’t understand that midwives are trained to handle low risk birth. Better than doctors are!! OBs are surgeons. If there is a problem with a pregnancy or birth, they are the best people to go to. But if you have a low risk, normal pregnancy and birth, why involve someone that specializes in the accidents? This is like going to a cardiologist if you need a routine yearly exam. It is WAY too over the top.

Guest – I would love for TLC or Discovery Health to do a show on failed homebirths. Ones that were overseen by midwives (just so the homebirthers cannot argue that things would have been different had a midwife been attending). Interview some women who had to learn the hard way that the birth experience is not that important in the whole scheme of things. Seriously this whole homebirthing, birth experience thing is getting out of hand. – Things can go wrong in birth. No one says otherwise. BUT, an experienced midwife at home is there for the majority of the labor. She knows when to transfer and if something might be going wrong. Rarely, if ever, do actual emergencies happen in birth. Normally, it comes on slowly so you have time to be transported. In the hospital, the average time for an emergency cesarean is a HALF HOUR… that doesn’t sound like much of an emergency to me. And if I wasn’t wrong, don’t they have a show about how childbirth can go wrong on Discovery Health??

Epidural Fan – Let’s just be clear who we are talking about here. We’re talking about women who think they cannot enjoy anything less than an unmedicated birth with the agony that entails. Controlling for that is it really that surprising they think the experience matters more than it should? When you want to go through that much unrelieved pain and call it enjoying, I think you probably NEED to put a huge importance on it in your own mind. Otherwise you’d know you were crazy right? – Just her name wants me to strangle her… Childbirth is supposed to hurt. No one says it doesn’t. But why put unnecessary medications into your body when you have been staying away from meds your entire pregnancy?? There are so many things you can do to lessen your pain. In a hospital, you cannot do most of them. I don’t see how saying to a woman that wants a natural birth that she is crazy is going to help anything. Different people like different things. If you feel birth is something to be numbed, have at it. If you feel birth is to be experienced, go with that! But don’t call someone crazy just because you don’t agree. It is the worst defense, next to “because”.

Amy Tuteur, MD In contrast to published reports of women agonizing over what might have been and blaming themselves for constitutional and emotional flaws, the majority of women accepted the cesarean as fate, and a few managed to display pride in themselves.

The women emphasized the outcomes of birth rather than the process of birth, and frequently rated those outcomes high despite complaints about the process… Childbirth literature, oriented to the middle class model of childbirth, increasingly emphasizes the process of birth as separate from its outcomes. Women suffer when the birth process itself is not as imagined or desired. While failed expectations concerning the birth process is a major theme in the natural childbirth culture, the women in this study had few expectations or clear imaginings concerning birth-giving, and as a consequence were less likely to be disappointed. In fact, neutrality or an “it’s OK” feeling prevailed over intense joy or intense sorrow…”

The critical finding of this study is that it is not the experience of C-section itself that leads to disappointment, feelings of failure, and psychic “wounding”. Rather it is the expectations encouraged by NCB philosophy that lead to these negative outcomes.

This finding raises the question: who is being served by the philosophy of natural childbirth? Obviously the “natural” childbirth industry is served by maintaining a set of values that must be taught through books that must be read, and classes that must be taken, and assistants who must be hired.

How about women giving birth? How are they being served by the socially constructed expectations of “natural” childbirth? Those who managed to achieve the socially constructed aims are granted a faux “achievement” that they can point to and use to denigrate other women. However, that is realized only at the price of setting unrealistic expectations virtually guaranteed to result in feelings of disappointment, failure and psychic “wounding” in a large proportion of women. Clearly “natural” childbirth is beneficial for the natural childbirth industry. It’s difficult to see, though, how it is beneficial for women. – I have never in my life heard a woman say that her birth experience was amazing if her child died. NEVER. No woman is that selfish and crazy. And just because women are largely put down in the maternity section of our country does not give you a right to say that women cannot be ‘wounded’ from a traumatic birth experience, whether they were cut open or not. You had an example of a woman who had to have her breast removed because of breast cancer and how she shouldn’t be upset at the loss of her breast because she is still alive. She had CANCER! She lived through it, and that is fantastic. But do you have any idea how hard it would be to live without a breast? On the same token, do you know how hard it is living with an unnecessary incision in your abdomen that hurts so bad on some days that it feels like it is going to rip apart? Or you are terrified of picking up your toddler because you’re scared she will kick you and cause more pain? Cesareans save lives. I don’t dispute that fact. But, have you ever been with a woman after you gave her one to mourn the birth that she wanted? Have you ever seen a woman so upset after her birth that she wanted nothing to do with her child? Have you ever had one yourself? The cesarean with my daughter saved her life. If they hadn’t have done it, she would not be alive today. This does NOT mean I cannot mourn what I lost. This does NOT mean that I have to bury my feelings because my daughter is alive. This does NOT mean that you can bully women into thinking they are crazy because they want to avoid the hospital and the place that turned her into the bitter mother she was. Stop telling women that they don’t matter. Keep doing it, and there will be nothing left for you to make fun of.

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3 Responses

  1. Oh my god, those comments INFURIATE me.The thought that someone out there thinks I'm "crazy" for having a home birth instead of heading into a hospital and being pumped full of drugs is ridiculous.For millenia, mammals — and that's what we are, ANIMALS — have given birth naturally. I was just goin' with the herd 😉

  2. Wow! Those comments got my blood boiling!I love the one from "Epidural Lover" about how the whole controlling for women who WANT to go through hours of excruciating pain….WTH???I do not WANT to go through hours of pain.(Lets get that straight first!) Experiencing hours of pain is NOT what natural childbirth is all about…if someone thinks that it is, then they are uneducated as to the philosophy behind it. However, I do not want to drug my body so that I DRUG my child and/or put myself and my child at risk for unnecessary interventions that INCREASE BOTH of our chances at harm!!! This is why I spend my pregnancy bonding with my baby and PREPARING my body and mind for childbirth. For those of us who go through a planned natural childbirth, labor is not "excruciating" pain…it is brief moment of discomfort along the road to motherhood…it MAKES us the mothers we are. I know this will sound horrible, but I have the hardest time respecting a mother who puts her own comfort during labor above the safety of her baby. It's one thing to take an epidural after hours of stalled labor…there are situations where it WILL save someone from a c-section…but it's another thing altogether to go INTO labor PLANNING on taking the epidural at the first sign of discomfort…what kind of mother will this woman MAKE?

  3. Good for you, Kayce! Nice post!

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