Sunday, March 15, 2009
I think I figured it out. And an apology.
Okay, so obviously, I wrote my last post when I was still a bit upset. :p I did not, by any means, mean to imply that everyone should have a home birth, or at the very least a natural birth at a hospital. Neither did I mean to imply that those who choose medical intervention for their births are all ignorant. So sorry if it came off that way. I also think I figured out why I was so frustrated with the conversation I had with this friend. I felt like I was talking to myself nine years ago! Everything she said, I used to say. I thought I knew everything there was to know about birth. After all, I had a great OB, had taken a hospital birthing class, and had read at least two books on childbirth. Well, birth number one was a very traumatic experience, and it wasn't until years later (and lots of reading the right books) that I realized everything that was wrong with my attitude then. That I saw everything that is wrong with the current maternity care system (namely, the medicalization thereof). The real problem, in my opinion, is the lack of true informed consent. Where women go for information about birth will often define the type of birth they end up having. I was surrounded by women who birthed at hospitals, touted the greatness of the epidural man, and talked about the more-or-less inevitable episiotomy that I could look forward to recovering from. The doctor certainly didn't put any ideas of drug free labor into my head, neither did he make me question routine procedures (like artificial rupture of membranes, IV, being strapped to bed with the monitor, getting an epidural...). In fact, he failed to discuss these procedures, including their risks, with me at all. And who goes to the hospital in labor and actually reads through all of the consent forms and waivers? Sign here, sign there, breathe through a contraction, oh, and sign five more times over here. Thankyouverymuch. Mimi put it well in her comment on my other post. Often, we learn through our own experience. At the time of Tyler's birth, I didn't realize it, but I do believe it caused birth trauma. The way I was completely disrespected during Bryan's birth added to that. It wasn't until I learned more about normal birth, and started taking charge of my own body, that I was able to heal from those experiences. So, knowing all of that, I think it added to my frustration that I felt like my experience really wasn't validated. It was blown off as "too bad, sorry you had a sucky doctor". Which I did, but I didn't. Most women trust and respect their doctors, and that is a good thing. What would make maternity care better, though, and what could prevent experiences such as the ones I had from happening, are doctors who truly care, and take the time to really communicate with women about the choices they have, and what each choice entails. Doctors who would encourage women to do their own research, who would point them to childbirth educators not associated with a hospital. Ideally, women should be able to really weigh all of the benefits and risks associated with birth choices, so they can make a decision that is truly informed. One can dream, right?