|The Laughing Mom: humorous tales of motherhood|
|Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff|
Are mothers qualified for birth?
I’ve had babies on my mind lately. It makes sense, of course, because I’m pregnant and chasing a toddler. Who wouldn’t think about babies in my shoes?
You can imagine that I’m doing a lot of research into pregnancy and birth (again). It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve been through it once. The thought of labor and birth is still frightening and stressful.
Some people seem to think that giving birth is a “routine procedure.” The functions of the female body are so thoroughly understood by the medical community that we are compelled to believe that the mother can lay back saying “oo, oo, ha, ha” while the doctor does all the work to bring the baby safely into the world. No sweat.
That brings to mind a scene from a Monty Python movie in which a woman in labor asks the doctor “What do I do?”
The doctor replies, “Nothing, dear! You are not qualified!”
I watched that for the first time after Melise was born and died laughing. It’s an exaggeration of the typical hospital birth, but it captures how many moms feel they were treated, including myself. We are not qualified . . . Oh, but we are!
Guess what ladies, we were birthing babies by ourselves many, many years before we had any assistance, let alone the doctor kind. The first birthing attendants were simply other female members of one’s family or community. Then came the midwives, who actually dominate the history of assisted births in civilized society, documented in very popular sources such as the Old Testament of the Bible.
Doctors didn’t enter the birthing scene until recently in historical perspective and hospital births didn’t become popular in our country until the 1920s (less than a century ago).
You might be thinking, “Sure, but hospital births are safer.” Well, actually a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concluded that “the risk of infant death following planned home birth attended by a registered midwife does not differ from that of a planned hospital birth.”
But I’m not trying to convince mothers to have more home births . . . (although it is worth considering).
The point I want to convey is that mothers should never be treated as the middle-man or obstacle during a baby’s birth. Mothers should be given credit for having the intelligence to understand their situation, natural instinct to follow physiological clues, and the maturity to make responsible choices concerning the wellbeing of her child and herself. Mothers, after all, are more deeply involved in the process than anyone else: physically, mentally and emotionally.
For those who have never given birth to a baby, you probably don’t realize the profound affect that the experience has on the mother. No matter what type of birth experience the mother and baby have—natural, C-section, induced, epidural, home birth, etc.—it is a life altering moment.
Not only does it alter a woman’s body significantly even in the easiest of births, but the emotions and interactions with anyone else involved will be burned into her memory. The mother’s psyche will be forever altered by that day. With that in mind, who can take birthing choices lightly?
You, dear mothers-to-be, are more than qualified. You’re the experts! If you find the birthing situation that is right for you, you will feel more relaxed during the birth, consequently making birth a little easier and safer, too. Be strong, do research, talk to other mothers, talk to your family, and make the best choices you can. I have faith in you.
And watch a Monty Python skit if you get a chance. It will take the edge off!