I was watching the news last week, and on nearly every local station (both at the 6pm and 11pm news – don’t ask why I had both on, I’m not sure), they all had section on a “new craze” sweeping the nation (or, even, North America). Unassisted Childbirth (UC).
I wasn’t really sure what they meant about that, until they really got into it – Basically, what they mean by unassisted childbirth is a mother takes care of herself during her pregnancy with no, or few visits to the doctor, then births at home, with no assistance, other than from her husband/partner. The majority of women who seem to be chosing this aren’t poor, they aren’t the women who have no health insurance, and can’t get to the hospital. They’re educated, smart, and well-read (usually) on the topic of pregnancy and child birth. In my mind, knowing the risks and the things that can go wrong (hemoraging, problems with the cord, other uncontrolable complications), I don’t think I could make the choice to stay home and just take the chance that the baby or I may not make it.
So, after watching the news program, and getting the doctors view on it (basically: dangerous, unnecessary, and a little insulting to them), I decided to check out the webpage that was featured on the news.
DISCLAIMER: I just want you all to know that there are a lot of nude preggo shots on this site. If you are offended by other women’s boobs, large pregnant bellies, or have small children lurking around your computer, I really really really DON’T RECOMMEND YOU OPEN THIS SITE. You have been warned. If you want to look at a site without all the graphic stuff, check out the bottom link on this post – it’s much more work/kid safe.
The one that was featured on TV is called Bornfree, and is written and run by Unassisted Childbirth advocate and veteran, Laura Shanley. There is actually a lot of information on the site. I don’t know how accurate all of it is, but I do know that it is biased towards UC (as expected – you wouldn’t go to a site and expect it to be anti-topic, unless it specifically says so), and that it’s actually grouped into topics, stories and other bits quite well. If you’re looking for the mother-baby-catching video’s, though – they’re no longer available on Youtube, where they were being hosted. I’m not sure why – if it’s because of bandwidth or complaints, there’s no explanation.
She hosts a variety of information (as stated above), including talking about what UC is, why to chose UC, as well as the sexual experience of birth, how to stay motivated and joyful during the experience, and other sundry topics (breastfeeding, parenting, etc.). The website does talk about a whole slew of different books and resources for women who want to chose UC or even just a natural birth.
For me, something like this would never be an option. At least not on this side of my impending labour. As I said above, I’m not sure that in my mind the benefits outweigh the risks. I understand not wanting to be in a hospital and letting “nature take it’s course”, to a degree. I guess I would worry too much (thanks, Mom!), and I wouldn’t be able to relax (like they say you’re supposed to). I’m also not sure that I would want the residual memories from that experience. Granted – that might change after I have my first child. I remember not too long ago when the thought of having my newly birthed baby, amniotic fluid and all, flopped up onto my lap and straight out of the womb grossed me out to no end. Now, I’m expecting it, and will probably be disappointed if I don’t get to see my baby right away (I want to know who I went through all this crap for! Ha ha ha!). Right now, I feel like I wouldn’t want to walk into my kitchen and think “yep, that’s where Jr. was born” or whatever. But, like I said… feelings like that often change. Regardless, I would not be willing to have a baby in my home without a midwife and some sort of trained professional. I mean, things can (and do, even though not all that often) go wrong.
I understand the theory behind trusting your body to do what’s right and biological. I get that, I really do. I also understand the feeling of accomplishment, of being a “woman”, of strength and power that comes from doing something like this “on your own”. But my feeling is this – my doctor doesn’t push this baby out of my body, I have to do that. Labour (unless you deliver by cesarean section) isn’t something that the women experiencing it passively watches. You participate in it, fully! You have to! Again, unless you have a section, no one else gets that baby out of your body. Yes, people watch and probably interfere much more than necessary. You don’t NEED medical procedures to have a baby any more than you do to have a bowel movement. But in my mind, it seems that if the technology and the help in case of emergency is available, it makes sense to be in a position where you can use it.
I know some of you are mom’s, so what are your feelings on this Unassisted Childbirth thing? Is it something you would ever consider? Do you know anyone who’s done it?
For more information, you can look at the link provided above, or the links below. Again, I reitterate – lots of nudity and graphic displays of birth and such. Not for people who are grossed out by pictures of birth or boobs. For some reason, the two seem to be quite common!!
Unassisted Homebirth (by Birth Junkie)
Christian UC (this is the best one to visit if you are curious about UC, but don’t want all the graphic pictures/video, etc. that go along with some of the other sites. This is the only one that is even remotely work/child safe)