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As mentioned in my 100 things list, I am a hippie granola natural birth tree hugging non-conventional mother. My first child was born in a non-medicated out-of-hospital free-standing-birth-center birth. It was great. Now readers can go ahead and assume I'm a millitant natural birth advocate who will rant that c-sections are unnessary and women who chose epidurals are crack-whores. (I like hyphens, can you tell?)
For those of you still reading, I'd like to explain how and why that's not the case.
I think it's unfortunate that people advocating for natural birth or minimal interventions come across as pushy to others, but it's a side effect of the fact that such births are not mainstream. Any time you are advocating for something that's not the common way of going about things, it's going strike them as foreign. Mental alarm bells will go off indicating that this person they are talking to may very well be nuts. If it contradicts what they've experienced, they may feel that their choices are being criticized. When you challenge long-held ideas, it automatically puts people on the defensive.
When I became pregnant with our daughter and told my husband I wanted to see midwives instead of an obstetrician, his first response was, "Why?" His second question, once I explained my reasoning, was, "Is it safe?" Having done my homework, I was full of statistics and assurances, but he was still respectfully leary. He felt better after joining me for the first prenatal visit. The midwives were certified professionals, and all standard prenatal testing would be done, just like with an OB. That satisfied him for a few months, until the discussion of where to have the baby came up. It took some time and discussion for him to come around to accepting that, for this particular pregnancy, the birth center was as safe an option as the hospital. He admitted that his reluctance stemmed from the fact that an out of hospital non-MD birth was something that had never crossed his radar. I am grateful that he kept and open mind throughout, and that he trusted me to make a safe decision for our family. I am glad we were able to come to an agreement, because his comfort with this decision was important to me.
Since then I've found myself explaining why our daughter was not born in a hospital many times. I would love more people to know that such an option exists. Recently I was relating to my husband a conversation with a colleague who had asked me why anyone would choose to birth somewhere other than in a hospital. I told him that I explained why the birth center was better. He interjected that it wasn't necessarily better, just different. He's right, to a point. It was better for me, and better for us. Better for our unique situation in that I am very satisfied with the care we received and with our birth experience. I recognize that such a choice is not "better" for everyone. I simply would like more people to know that options are out there. That you don't always have to do things the way they're usually done. That one can benefit in a major way from asking questions, educating oneself about risks/benefits, from shopping around for a care provider who shares a similar philosophy. Pregnancy and birth is not a "one size fits all" situation. Sometimes I think it's hard to advocate for natural birth without sounding like you're putting down other birth choices, but since such choices are not currently mainstream, someone needs to talk about them.

Hi Sarah,
The hubby told me you had ventured out into the blogosphere. Have fun. As I was reeading you "100 Things" list, I noticed two (#49, 50) that reminded me of another friend who hated centipedes. While in class, she once told a group of us that she saw a centipede in her kitchen cabinet and that she hated centipedes. When asked why, she responded that they moved so quickly she was afraid that would run after her and she'd be attacked. I casually turned around and muttered the following:
Okay, well I guess you had to be there for it to be funny.

Anyway, good luck to you on the blogging, and the birthing.

Hi Sarah,

I look forward to reading your blog. I think we have a lot in common. I applaud you for your unmedicated, non-hospital birth.

When I was pregnant with my son, I told people I hoped to have a natural birth. I was amazed at how many people said "oh, sure, just wait until you're experiencing it!" or they smiled knowingly and said "you'll change your mind!" I would have found it discouraging if I wasn't so determined. Turns out that I had a great natural birth with an experienced midwife. Wish I had tried to avoid the hospital -- they kept me there for two long days. I was dying to go home.

Anyway, I'd be interested in reading your thoughts on some of my favorite issues -- breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping.

Take care.

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  • I'm Sarah
  • From Pittsburgh, United States
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