Yes, I’m The Brave One

One thing that really annoys me is when someone tells me that I was so brave to have my baby at home. Why, yes, I’m brave…I avoided needles, scalpels, drugs and strange places. Actually, I would have been terrified and so scared in a hospital that my body would probably have sucked that baby up in my throat trying to keep it in my body. So, yes, if that was me being brave, then I’m braver than Superman. I usually respond with a remark about how I think anyone who births their baby in a hospital is brave, not me.

And one more comment that gets under my skin is, “You’re one tough girl; I couldn’t have done it without my epidural!”
To this I usually ask if they were stuck in bed or if they were allowed (no woman should have to ASK to do anything during labor – especially move!) to get up and change positions to make themselves comfortable. Honestly, if I had to lie on my back during labor, I would have wanted an epidural too! And I don’t even ask if they were given Pitocin or not…ugh.

My body was able to get into any position that it needed to move the baby down and get her into the optimal position. It was able to slow down when it or the baby needed rest – without being harassed about “failure to progress”. And most importantly, my body (and mind) was supported by people who cared about ME, personally, and understood the way physiological birth WORKS.

I wish that all women understood these things. That they weren’t coerced into doing things that worked against their bodies’ ability to birth their babies. It amazes me how many medical myths and misunderstandings surround laboring and birthing. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m grateful for necessary medical care (necessary being the key word here), but let’s re-evaluate America’s birthing practices.

Clarification: The actual people saying these things to me isn’t what annoys me – it’s that the misconceptions are so widely spread. And that the interventions that are often used aren’t done so in an informed way.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    ohjustgrowup said,

    I’m glad you were able to have the birth that you wanted. You’re very lucky. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have a low-risk pregnancy and the option of birthing naturally at home. I used to be very enthusiastic about natural homebirthing until I became pregnant with my first child. My pregnancy became high-risk when I was diagnosed with insulin dependent gestational diabetes, so for the safety of myself and my child, birthing in a hospital was the only option. And I ended up having to have an emergency C-Section for reasons not related to the diabetes. For a while I felt like a failure…I felt like my body had failed me…I felt like I had failed my baby, my husband, and my whole damn family. Now I feel thankful that a disease that could have had tragic consequences for me and my child was so easily controlled, and that the medical emergencies were quickly taken care of. Do birthing practices in this country need a second look? Sure…but A LOT of things can go wrong during pregnancy and birth and we as mothers shouldn’t be so harsh on each other about our choices or lack of birthing knowledge. I have been guilt-tripped and spoken to in passive-aggressive language by so many mothers who gave birth vaginally/naturally. I’m still learning how to stop letting it bother me. At the end of the day, I had a beautiful, healthy child that I couldn’t possibly love any more even if she was born in my own home.

    Kudos to you for being one of the women who are healthy enough to give birth at home. Seriously, congratulations.

    And just for the record…giving birth–either naturally at home, in a hospital, or via C-section–is brave.

    • 2

      birthingmama said,

      You’re definitely correct about any woman giving birth being brave! I’m happy that you were able to come to terms with your situation. And I understand that not everyone wants to give birth at home, or is able to, but I definitely am advocating for maternity care reform. I’m not making anyone feel guilty for their birthing choices – I’m sorry if my personal rant made you, or anyone else, feel that way. I know some interventions are necessary, but many more are not. I’ve found that birth is a VERY touchy subject, which I feel is due to the great and varied emotions it invokes. Thanks for your comment!

  2. 3

    Thank you for this post…very well said! I just finished watching “Orgasmic Birth” recently and one of the couples featured in it said the exact same thing about the brave ones being those who give birth in a hospital. Personally, I am all for women giving birth where they feel safest, but also where birth is safest. Many women feel safe being in a hospital, yet if they are low-risk to begin with, a hospital isn’t always the safest place to be for normal birth! (Obviously you probably already know that! :))

    And it is such a difficult line to tred when it comes to talking about our own births, isn’t it?! Someone is always going to be annoyed with us when we tell our story. The c/sec mom will be annoyed at the natural homebirther. The pure birther will be annoyed by the “give-me-my-epidural-before-labor-starts” mom. But here’s the thing: we must keep talking about births. And those who’ve had positive births must continue to joyfully (not judgementally) share their stories, even at the risk of annoying or offending another. This is truly at the core of change in our maternity system.

    • 4

      birthingmama said,

      I think I’m more sad and devastated, than annoyed, by the consequences of interventions that were used without consent or without an informed decision. But sometimes I have a hard time conveying that.
      If someone were to talk to me about their birth where they knew the risks/benefits of an intervention and chose it because it was right for their situation, I wouldn’t be annoyed with them choosing it, because it was their right to do so and they were informed. It just makes me frustrated that women don’t know the risks/benefits (or who do and aren’t really given a choice) and are sometimes led astray by well-meaning care-providers.

      Thanks for commenting and reading! 🙂

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