"It does not make someone more or less of a woman depending on how she chooses to birth. Women are uniquely able to experience carrying and ushering life into this world. Personal choices and birthing circumstances do not negate that fact."
-Bekka Besich, The Problem With the Language of Birth
At 36 weeks pregnant, I've finally been able to get a few consistent nights of decent sleep (remember this post about insomnia?) I do have to confess, however, that the first thoughts that run through my head when it hits the pillow aren't always conducive to a pleasant night.
Usually the phrase "Oh crap. I have to do labor AGAIN!" pops into my head. I usually then start the "what-if" game and review the worst case scenarios before I remember to remind myself of Isaiah 41:10 and stop the train of anxiety and negativity from racing through my brain. Granted, without going into the gritty details, my first labor was pretty short and relatively pain free thanks to a well-timed and placed epidural. Birth for me was a piece of cake compared to the hormonal sleep-deprived two months that followed!
But that doesn't necessarily keep me from worrying: not only about the labor itself, but of what other moms might think of me when I reply with an enthusiastic "YES!" when they ask if I want another epidural. Because of some factors I had been considering doing a more natural approach with this birth, but honestly I really, really would like to have some medication since I do not do well with pain! Thankfully, pretty much all of my mom friends are very gracious, non-judgmental people. I have friends who given birth at home and friends who swear by the epidural. We've all been able to share our stories and support each other no matter what our views are on the birthing process. That being said, it grieves me when mothers judge each other based on their birthing stories. As I've researched birthing options and considered them, I've seen various judgmental comments and blog posts towards women who decide to give birth in a hospital or opt for pain medication. It makes me sad and has even made me feel guilty about wanting another epidural (stupid, I know. I don't even know these people!)
That's why I was so refreshed when I stumbled upon the above quoted blog post. I'd encourage you to read it in it's entirety. I like how the author makes the point that birth is birth-it's a really, really difficult process for some and easy for others. However, it has to be OK for each woman to make her own choices about how she wants her labor to progress and to understand that sometimes you don't always have a choice. It would be awesome if instead of judging each other, moms could embrace the miracle that birth is, regardless of how it happened. I honestly think that any woman who gives birth is a super hero!
As for me, I know how I want this labor to progress: very much like the last one! However, I am holding my desires and wishes in an open hand and am ready to high-five any other moms who happen to be pacing the hospital hallways with me when the time comes, regardless of her views on childbirth!