So I have a question.
When did society dictate how our birth experience is perceived? Since when do those who give birth unmedicated earn a gold star while those that choose to get an epidural are told they didn’t give birth naturally? Why is a c-section looked down upon but a home birth is praised? Why is it that society gets to hand out gold stars, based on surface-level assumptions?
I call bullcrap. Complete bullcrap.
I work in labor and delivery, as a Certified Surgical Technologist. Every shift I see patients giving birth the way they choose; I also see those who don’t have the option to follow their birth plan. What makes one birth more natural or special than others? Why do we place pressure on ourselves to create a birth experience that we are told is best or natural or optimal…only to beat ourselves up if it doesn’t work out the way we planned?
I have seen births that made my arm hair stand on end. I’ve scrubbed c-sections where I could have sworn Heaven met Earth. I’ve been there when pregnancies don’t end the way we want or planned. I get to have a front-row seat to the most intimate moments of our lives-the good, bad, ugly.
All. Birth. Is. Natural.
Let me repeat that, for those in the back.
All birth is natural.
But for some reason, society tells us that unless we have an unmedicated, no intervention birth, we lost. We didn’t have a natural birth and our birth is deemed, by some, as not worthy and as though we failed. Society tells us that having a c-section is a failure. Asking for an epidural is a failure. If our birth plan gets thrown out the nearest window because circumstances are not ideal, we fail.
At what point do we switch the narrative? When do we decide to take back control?
Call it what it is: medicated birth, unmedicated birth, cesarean birth, water birth.
But don’t put any single birth route higher than the others. I’ll go first; I had a medicated birth that ended in a third-degree laceration. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. That is what worked best for me but it wasn’t my plan. I had planned to go unmedicated as long as I could. But if I’m honest? I beat myself up over it for a little bit. For a long while. I felt like I failed-and I knew that wasn’t the case but it took a little time for my brain to catch up.
Want to know a secret? There isn’t a trophy for having an unmedicated birth. We don’t hand out gold stars. There are no certificates of achievement. There is no judgment for choosing an epidural; for having a C-Section. We don’t give second-place trophies. There are no last-place certificates. We read your birth plans, we talk about options, we give honest feedback. We want the safest birth possible for you and your baby.
Want to know another secret? You are celebrated the same way, every single time, no matter the method. I will still give you the best care I possibly can. I will advocate for you; honest conversations will be had, should the need arise. You will still hear us squeal over your baby, love on you, and support your support network. I will still tell you what an absolute Queen you are-I will throw affirmations at you until it drowns out the noise of society.
Giving birth is natural. It doesn’t matter if you are medicated or choose a water birth or have a c-section. At the end of the day, you have given birth to a child.
There is nothing more natural than that.