My friend over at Three Little Girls is talking about natural childbirth today–or at least, intervention free childbirth. When it comes to intervention, she’s against it. Too high a c-section rate in this country, etc. She pulled off her births without epidurals, too–great if it works for you, and maybe marginally safer, but you don’t get a gold star to wear around afterwards. I know; I’ve done it both ways. You really should get a star–in fact, you should get a star either way–but no.
I say, live and let live. I’m not proposing that any intervention be forced on anyone, and I’ll agree that it’s great to be informed about your options. But there are times when it’s tough to weigh those options, and for me, at least, childbirth was, to say the least, one of those times.
I had three vastly different births. I’ll agree that the one with the least intervention was the easiest to recover from.
But by and large, from this side of it and not expecting to do it again, I don’t think it matters much. It’s like breast-feeding. It’s a HUGE deal when you’re in the middle of it, and next thing you know the kid’s in kindergarden and no one cares if you fed him goat’s milk with a syringe for a year, or just tossed him an occasional donut.
And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–by the time they offered forceps or, for number 3, the c-section (which turned out not to be optional), I would have agreed to have the baby removed through my left nostril if they would just do it RIGHT THEN.
This childbirth thing is tough. Child raising even tougher. I know we have this sort of image of our grandmothers giving birth in the rice paddy throwing the kid into a sling and heading off to milk the cows–but it wasn’t like that. I borrowed this from the University of Houston’s Digital History site.
Childbirth in colonial America was a difficult and sometimes dangerous experience for women. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of all births ended in the mother’s death as a result of exhaustion, dehydration, infection, hemorrhage, or convulsions. Since the typical mother gave birth to between five and eight children, her lifetime chances of dying in childbirth ran as high as 1 in 8. This meant that if a woman had eight female friends, it was likely that one might die in childbirth.
I’m pretty sure they’d have gone for a little extra intervention. I know, there are plenty of stats on c-sections, just to take an example, being more dangerous now than vaginal birth–just have a look at Wikipedia, source of all knowledge. But remember, most c-sections are done when they’re called for–which means there’s already a problem–and that’s compared to vaginal births, in hospitals, with all the possible interventions that entails.
Maybe we’ve gone overboard. Maybe we haven’t. I’m a pretty crunchy mom, I’ve even written for Mothering, but I’m not willing to make these calls, or judge these calls, for anyone else.
I know Three Little Girls isn’t really judging. Of course she thinks she made the right choices-that’s inherently why she made them . We all think that, right? If I choose to give my kids Annie’s Mac and Cheese instead of Kraft, I think that’s the right choice, and no matter how much I say I’m not judging you, I am–at least, I’m judging that you made the wrong choice. By my standards. I probably don’t care, but if I didn’t think it was wrong on some level, then I’d be choosing the blue box, too.
Every time we express an opinion we judge a little. That’s cool. It’s the fun thing about blogs. Here’s my opinion. I judge you for judging me, Three Little Girls! Take that!
And in the end, the minutia of it all won’t matter. It’s the way the minutia adds up that counts. Catch-22.