We already feel inadequate

I watched Orgasmic Birth last night on Amazon.  When I told my husband what I was watching, he gave me a look like “oh no, you’re going to be one of those women this time, huh?”  I told him that despite the title, the movie was supposed to be good, and for the most part it was.

If you go to the OG website, you’ll see that they define the word orgasmic differently than you would expect: “Intense or unrestrained excitement or a similar point of intensity or emotional excitement.”  I’d agree that all of the normal physiologic births shown on the video demonstrated intensity.  It’s important to read the definition above with the word “or” in mind.  A woman does not have to achieve orgasm during labor/birth to have an orgasmic birth.

I found it interesting that one of the interviewed NCB experts suggested that we don’t share our birth stories because we don’t want to make other women feel inadequate.  Perhaps a woman who consents to an epidural in a hospital setting will feel inadequate, I don’t know.  But, a woman who has undergone a cesarean after trying to labor will almost always feel inadequate in some way.  (I know there are always women out there who will say different.)  Let me explain.

A woman is told that babies come out of vaginas, and that most of the time that is possible.  Women may enter into the last stages of pregnancy knowing that they want an epidural or to be induced, but they still expect that in most cases, the baby is going to come out normally.  However, most hospital birthers are not given the right kind of support to achieve a natural physiologic birth or normal birth.  Inductions are fairly normal.  Augmentations are fairly normal.  Epidurals are extremely common.  As one expert pointed out on the movie, when most (like 90%) laboring women receive an epidural, and you don’t, you take the staff out of its comfort zone.

So after these interventions and more (constant monitoring, restricted movement in labor, etc.), women are still expected somehow to birth vaginally.  And a third of us are sectioned – or more, depending on the location.  Our bodies failed us, we are lead to believe.  “Thank God I was in the hospital or my baby and I would have been in big trouble.”  Our inadequacies are magnified by the overwhelming successes of the medical machine.

Women who have had cesareans are defensive.  “My cesarean was necessary” is a common belief.  But to suggest that women don’t share their birth stories because they don’t want to make a cesarean mother feel inadequate is not understanding the situation.  We already feel inadequate.

I am 1 of 3 women sectioned in childbirth.

I am one of numerous women told that her body wasn’t capable of birthing her baby.

I am 3 of 4 women sectioned in Montana for twins.

I am nearly 100% of women in my community told they cannot have a VBAC in the hospital after multiple scars.

I am nearly 100% of women told to be thankful that they have a healthy baby after a cesarean section.

Share your birth stories in a supportive, instructive, and hopeful manner.  Give cesarean mamas hope that next time can be different, if she chooses.  And she has to choose; you can’t choose for her.  I myself am preparing for a transformational experience this summer.  I can’t get there unless I embrace stories of uninhibited natural physiologic birth.

4 responses to “We already feel inadequate

  1. DD was born at home, in water, after 2.5 days of pain free labor. Many people don’t even believe the pain free part. I think the most important part of OC was that labor can not only be pain free, it can be enjoyable! More than anything, I suggest you be completely open to enjoyable birth as a very real possibility. That and yoga and hypnobabies ;)

  2. Thank you for writing this. This is how birth change happens — women speaking their truth, sharing their stories, inspiring others to re-examine the status quo. The same ‘don’t make others feel inadequate’ argument gets tossed around in breastfeeding advocacy too. In other words, it’s better to hide our heads in the sand, sacrificing our bodies and our babies, in avoidance of the truth? As women, don’t we in fact *owe* it to other women to share our stories of being misinformed, mistreated, and duped? Thank you again. (ps: I am in Montana too!)

  3. A well written piece, I absolutely loved it!!!!
    I . . . a cesarean mama – who hoped that the next time could be different, if I choose . . . can encourage you and say IT CAN BE DIFFERENT!!
    My 1st labor and delivery ended in a C-section and I can identify with so EVERYTHING you said. I knew the moment it all began to unfold around me 9 years ago that I could and would choose for it to be different the next time; and so with out going into the unnecessary deatils of what occured I can tell you that my youngest son’s birth was an amazing and fantastic experience.
    I wish I had more eloquent words to describe the blessing that his six hour labor and delivery was, but I’m not quite the writer that I’d like to be. I will however say that the wonderful woman & midwife Erin (who responded to you in the post just above mine) delivered my precious little boy while in my home, while I pushed on my hands and knees, VBAC and all.

    It can be done!!

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