First. She told me she had her son naturally. Naturally, I laughed at her. Who does that to themself? I mean, seriously – she stayed awake for that? Gross. I informed her I would be requesting general anesthesia for my scheduled c-section (when the time came for children) before my first contraction and I would not be awoken until the whole thing was done, over, and cleaned up. I had a plan.
Second. Birth center birth. “We are a cloth-diapering family . . .” What? Weird hippy. How can you use cloth diapers? Aren’t they like extinct or something? Wait, you’re planning to have this baby in a birth center, then do homebirths, and eventually do this yourself? In another country? What kind of people is my husband working with? What kind of women am I meeting?
Third. You had a homebirth? Of course you did. You’re as crazy as the rest of ’em. Well, ok, maybe it is the same as a birth center birth, but that doesn’t make it OK! Ay carumba. I need a drink.
Somewhere along the way, I watched Business of Being born, read Mothering magazine, and discovered the power of searching the internet. The internet is a dangerous tool for sure. But at some point, I was just checking to see if my experience was reflective of the larger whole. Not of what was being done, but reflective of what people experienced when they did do these crazy things.
And they were. When people chose a hospital birth, followed doctor’s orders, and showed up ready to follow directions, they had “the worst pain of my life!” “Most horrible thing I’ve ever been through!” “So glad I had an epidural – I wouldn’t have survived without it.” And when people made careful, educated decisions to birth naturally/at home they had “the most amazing thing that I’ve ever done.” “it was like holding hands with God.” “almost orgasmic.”
I had to pick sides. Did I want to join the hospital moms or the home birthers? Which set of statements did I want to experience? First was calm and confident that I’d come around. I kept an eye on her while she get pregnancy #2 underway. She continued making her crazy choices, continued talking to me, and continued making more and more sense. Second moved away and continued to push the envelope of my comfort via Facebook. She pointed me toward a whole ring of women who normalized all this craziness. Third challenged me, outright, to think about things. And to have reasons for my claims and beliefs. And to own both my fears and assumptions. In the end, I had two home births.
I mean, yeah, these women are crazy. I doubt they’d even dispute that. But they were also right. And who willingly signs up for team ‘worst pain of my life’ when team ‘euphoric’ has an opening? If all safety factors are equal, or when ‘euphoric’ might actually have a BETTER safety record and lower dues? Well, I jotted my name on that dotted line and never looked back.
Thanks, ladies. You made a huge difference in my life. And my husband’s life. And my daughters’ lives. Keep on talking, you’re probably making waves for other people too.