I finally watched The Business of Being Born, a documentary produced by Ricki Lake. It’s about home birth – essentially how wonderful and safe home birth is. I don’t necessarily disagree. Ever since I witnessed S’s badly mismanaged labor, I’ve thought that the longer an expectant mom stays away from the hospital, the better.
Now, if I somehow found myself pregnant, I’d be scheduling my C-section at the earliest opportunity. I have CRPS. It’s a neuropathic pain syndrome. Empirically, neuropathic pain is worse – higher on the pain scale – than labor pain. I have no way to prove this, only what pain researchers concluded. In any case, I’ve been to the pain party. I was there for 3 years. I go there occasionally now. Thanks to the CRPS, there’s no way I can “naturally” give birth – I can’t get into any kind of birthing position. It’s not physically possible. So, yay for the scheduled C-section.
One of the doctors in the film flat out said that women who give birth via C-section don’t care for their babies, because they don’t experience the release of oxytocin. He heavily implies that these mothers can’t bond with or love their babies as much as women who go through “natural” child birth.
And to that I say, BULL SHIT.
All of this brings me to the common question: Why are mothers judged so harshly? Everyone judges us. From how we give birth to how we choose to feed our children to how we get them to sleep and on and on.
A pregnant woman who is going to carry her baby to term should be given comprehensive information about all of her options – home birth, birthing center, hospital, C-section, etc. It should be written by a person without bias. (Personally, I’d vote for a gay male writer who has no children. He’s not going to be pregnant, nor his is partner, so he has no personal stake in the issue. But I could be wrong about that.) A woman should get to choose her ideal birth, with the understanding that things go wrong sometimes.
Ultimately, the person giving birth should choose how to give birth. Her feelings on the matter – before, during, and after the process – are the ones that matter most. Not the doctor, statisticians, her mother-in-law, the mom down the block, her sister, or even her husband and child. The goal should be a healthy baby brought into the world in such a way that the baby’s mother will not look back on the experience with terror or regrets.