I am nearly 3 years post my most recent birth.
And it still makes me grit my teeth when I hear the debate about natural birth vs hospital intervention/pain relief/c-section.
When I had my son I had a vaginal birth. No drugs. Small tear. Didn’t poo. Sex 4 weeks postpartum (which actually wasn’t recommended but pretty happy with myself nevertheless.)
I must admit I did feel like I had conquered what society made me feel that was “best.” I had gone “Natural.” Like I had some sort of control over my birth and I chose to do it “the right way.”
But that is nonsense. No women really do have complete control over nature.
If we all birthed the way nature had intended, many women would suffer serious health issues like being debilitated, disabled, mental health repercussions, loss of future fertility, and possibly even death. Or her child might have serious implications. All of which are processes that are “natural” but suck.
Following the first birth of my son, my second pregnancy was twins. And my twin daughters’ birth couldn’t have been any different. I went into labour at 26 weeks. Held off birth with the help of medical technology until 27 weeks. I was hysterical and started suffering mentally and was given medication to calm me down. They also gave me pain relief as I was in labour for quite a while to prolong their gestation. That medication made me constipated and when the time actually came to give birth of a different kind (poo) I did so in front of some incredibly kind nurses. My girls’ birth was via c-section which was a decent sized cut compared to my previous, little, natural tear. My girls weren’t breathing or responding properly so more medical intervention was required which helped them live! Sex wasn’t even on the radar. And after months of hospital care they finally came home. Which was of course the ultimate goal for any mother.
My natural body had tried to really stuff it up for my girls and thank goodness there was enough technology around me to help their survival. Albeit there were times Mother Nature did help: “Kangaroo care” where skin-to-skin contact would help their breathing, the cribs being close by as the sisters’ bond also had positive health effects, and I expressed milk- which not all can do but it was a lucky gift I was given.
However, I soon realised I didn’t always have control over what my body wanted to do and what nature wanted to do. Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to make the choice to take medication and receive technology’s help because that was in the best interest of me and my children. I understand there may be times when unnecessary intervention in birth takes place. But that is an issue the medical industry has to sort out and should not be for personal judgement by people on the mothers who do use it.
I love Mother Nature but sometimes she can go against the girl code and for something that says “Mother” in her title, she can be a real arse hole to her earthling kids. She is one of my favourite things about life but also a force that causes great suffering to many. She is wonderful but she isn’t always wonderful by herself. And though it will make those in the advertising industry squirm, the word “natural” doesn’t mean “best.”
Of course if you can try to be as natural as possible- fantastic! Personally I am obsessed with the outdoors and animals. I try to minimise my harm on the environment and I love walking with my kids. But if Mother Nature happened to have a snake bite my leg on my bush walk, I’ll take the anti-venom please. My kids need me and kind of want to live.
I also try to eat natural foods like fruit and vegetables but every now and then an unnatural, processed food hits the happy spot in my mouth. I sometimes like wearing make up (not the natural look.) And often have the help of technology when it comes to parenting like when I pass the kids an iPad to have some silence for a moment so I can hear Mother Nature’s birds sing.
What’s more, though I have gone through both of the extremities of birth they resulted in the same outcome: adorable little people that I can squish and dote on everyday that get the natural oxytocin pumping through my blood.
Because really, this emphasis on having a “natural birth” at all costs and this societal competition and pressure is not only ridiculous but unhealthy for mother and bub. You aren’t stronger or better than your fellow mum’s because you did it naturally. You are incredibly fortunate and we are ALL strong just because we are mums – full stop.
And ultimately when it comes to an ideal birth, happiness and health is key (something a few women don’t even get to experience be it natural or with intervention.)
So I know next time I see my friends or family post birth I will not ask them, “So did you do it naturally?” Because, it really doesn’t matter. Instead I will ask them,…
“How do you feel? Are you happy? YOU MADE A KID! You’re awesome.”