So, you want to give birth naturally - but - almost everyone in your world thinks you're crazy. You need to know it's NOT you....it's everyone else who has drank the kool-aid. Here's what you need to know so we can change the "story".
In our culture, we are surrounded by women who are convinced before they have ever even tried that they can not give birth without rescue - and they all work very hard to convince the next mom down the line that she will also not be able to survive birth without it either, perpetuating lies generationally and instilling fear and doubt where trust and love should reside.
What happens when we tell women that their body is a lemon? Worst case scenario - SHE BELIEVES IT. Not only will this affect her birth and maybe even her ability or desire to breastfeed - but, this is also what she will inevitably pass on to her children. If she has a girl, how will she empower her and her body image? How will she teach her to bleed, birth, and breastfeed her daughter if she herself was never empowered in these things? How will she teach her son that women are strong and do NOT "need" rescuing? How will she normalize bleeding, birth, and breastfeeding for HIM and his future partner? These are things we're not thinking about or talking about enough.
If 90% of women are giving birth from a "damsel in distress" mentality - that naturally puts interventions and the people who offer them in the position of a "knight and shining armor".
Whether that is with drugs, epidural, cesarean, etc - it's just a simple fact that we live in a culture where the medical field has portrayed themselves as being our "birth super heroes" - convincing us it can't be done without them and their fancy science - and if you DON'T give birth in the hospital than you CLEARLY don't care about your baby. How quickly we forget that it's only been about 100 years since we started giving birth in hospitals with the aid of obstetricians (who are NOT natural/normal childbirth experts, by the way - they are surgeons and specialists of high risk pregnancy. MOST very rarely actually see any natural births). They have done such a good job of creating this "hero" persona, that the majority of families don't do much independent education or research on giving birth or breastfeeding - instead they blindly hand over their care to anyone with a lab coat. RARELY do people question credibility or knowledge or suggested tests or procedures. It doesn't help that there is real bullying that goes on here to encourage people to "fall in line" to the "normal way of doing things" - and that the language used and the way it is delivered feels very much "routine" - like, this is what all the women must go through, right? How would YOU know - it's not like you have babies every day, but they "help" women give birth all the time, right?? "They know what they are doing." .......right?
So, why does everyone keep telling you you "can't" do it?? Does it make you feel naive and scared? I mean, how can you sit here and tell a woman who "was in labor for 4 days and couldn't have done it without her epidural - and her OB was so great and gave her the best cesarean...oh, and if she wasn't at the hospital her baby would be dead, too...." that YOU are going to have a different experience when REALLY you have NO CLUE what it's going to be like for you. Especially if it's your first baby!
When you find yourself in this situation, please don't shy away and say nothing - allowing yourself to be bullied into their belief system.
First, remember that we are ALL mirrors walking around talking to our own reflections. When the topic of birth (or anything) is brought up, we relate to our own stories which become our individual truths - we see ourselves in that person. Then, we reflect that truth back to one another. This is why there is so much conflict in the world!! People have difficulty believing that their truth isn't everyone's truth. "We can't both be right".
....but, we can.
Can women have an amazing epidural or cesarean? YES! Why not? BUT, does that mean that she then has the right to go around telling pregnant women how awful labor is and how glad she was that she got all the interventions available to her - and that they should just give in now and sign up for the same because "you're going to want it anyways"? Um. NO.
Second, ASK QUESTIONS!! When someone starts telling you a horror story, start asking questions!
How did they prepare for birth? Did they feel like they were an active participant in their care - helping make decisions along the way, OR, did they just let them do their thing? What kind of birth did she even WANT?! Did they hire a doula / what kind of support did she have? A lot of the time you can easily connect the dots to lack of preparation, blind trust, or complete lack of interest in giving birth naturally anyways. These things will give you a clearer picture to the story. Not just, "OMG, we would have DIED if I didn't get / wasn't at XYZ" (this can count home birth, too - we also realize there are a lot of "hard core natural birth" mamas out there that DO shame the intervention mamas).
The bottom line is this. YOU are writing your story and other people's positivity or negativity can influence you however YOU chose to let it. If you want to give birth naturally, then, don't let people stop you from believing in your ability to do that and start surrounding yourself with others who will encourage you - and tell people who aren't encouraging you to STFU. Seriously. We've GOT to start putting haters in their place. There is absolutely a way to share birth stories without perpetuating fear and it's usually as simple as adding "I do wish you the best and hope you have a beautiful birth and baby! I know you're going to be a great mom!"
For those of us lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive family and friends, take a moment and be deeply grateful. We're living in such a generational gap right now where most of our moms and grandmoms actually preferred completely medicated births and saw breastfeeding as inferior to formula and was associated with poverty. It's up to US to change the story for not only ourselves, but, because of the impact it has on our future generations.