Ok, I wrote this post two months ago, just after having Eden but for “some reason” (ahem, Baby) never got around to publishing it.
Labor is hard, and you can’t do it.
Sadly, I feel this is the message that most women get when childbirth comes into the picture.
We are told not to trust our bodies – they are incapable of birthing a child without lots of interventions and sophisticated medical equipment. This is despite evidence to the contrary, since women have been having babies – largely unassisted – for thousands of years.
Certainly, modern-day medicine has made a difference in the maternal death rate. Mommies and babies who have medical emergencies and special life-threatening complications have never been safer than in 2010. I am not absolutely against the use of interventions, such as pitocin, epidurals, caesareans and the like.
The part that troubles me is that, rather than being seen as tools that are sometimes necessary for a healthy and safe delivery, these have become synonymous with birth itself. For many, birthing without these tools is inconceivable.
I blame this on the cultural attitude surrounding birth. Even though childbirth is one of the most common occurrences on Earth, we see it as a medical emergency rather than a natural (and mostly safe) part of life.
I personally find this disturbing. When I got pregnant, I immediately knew that I didn’t want to go the standard hospital route for Eden’s birth. Not because hospitals are bad but because, for most healthy pregnancies, they’re just overkill. So many of the things that happen are completely unnecessary for a woman who’s had a healthy pregnancy with no complications.
As I began to do research about the different options and as I learned more about birth itself, I was amazed and in wonder at God’s genius design. Everything about labor and birth has been intricately designed by Him and it all works together so beautifully! It is truly a marvel to discover how God has designed the labor process itself to be beneficial for both Mom and Baby, even if it is difficult.
I’m really not on a mission to convince everyone to go the birthing center route or to go completely medicine-free. What I think would be really wonderful, though, is if women were encouraged to trust the ability of their bodies and the birthing process in general – especially women who believe that God is sovereign and has designed our bodies with precision and care.
As I realized over the course of my pregnancy, in the end what matters most is healthy Moms and Babies. But my hope is that our society will return to a way of thinking where women are once again confident in the abilities of their bodies and the birthing process is once again seen as natural rather than inherently harmful or dangerous. I will consider that progress.