Ancient History

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Labels are for canned food, cardboard boxes, and medicine bottles.

They are not for people. The last time I checked, I did not have a label on my forehead reading “Contains 85% Water” with small print below that reads “5% Doritos, 5% Oatmeal, trace amounts of soy, manufactured in a facility that processes nuts.”

While hovering here and there around the internet one notices that people like to align themselves with different groups that share their same basic philosophies. This is to be expected because we are created to be social creatures who crave fellowship with each other. It is bolstering, affirming, and lets us know hubby is not the only one on Earth who appreciates “Farscape”.

There are labels that bother me, however. Having lots of kids within the past several years, I have participated in online forums devoted to pregnancy and raising small children and the inevitable question comes up: will you/did you have a natural childbirth?

No!, I want to say, my children were grown in pickle jars on the shelf above the washing machine. When it was time for them to be born I ran the lids under hot water and called hubby to help open the lids with a satisfying pop and hiss…
mommy, how are babies made? go ask mrs. wages!

Our reality was more like this (with subtle variations in the five births): I think I am in labor. We go to the hospital. They send me home. I am angry. I think I am in labor. I go to the hospital. They say “no, go home”. I am upset. I swear at my body and accuse it of being like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I think I am in labor. We go to the hospital. Kindly nurse takes pity on me and says I can stay. I get the IV and monitoring. I walk around. Labor seems to stop. Someone breaks my water. I watch TV. I ask for epidural (except with Ryley, no epidural, just literal kicking hubby—yes, I literally kicked him, repeatedly). I watch more TV. I try to sleep. I can’t. Suddenly I am seized with the thought that the end is near and I weakly say “help?” Nurses and midwife rush to get ready. Baby pops out. I cry and thank God. I eat a turkey sandwich. I pass out.

Artificially, naturally, supernaturally—the end result is the same. Women love to cite studies and statistics that back up their personal birthing theories. We cling to our chosen mode of birthing as the best and wonder why other women don’t share in our enthusiasm for epidurals or squating in a rocking chair.

Go to any local playground and determine which children were born in birthing tubs, which were born to mothers with epidural lines hanging out of their backs, and which were born via c-section. You can’t. The moms themselves know, of course. You could ask the mom. But it really isn’t any of your business.

Then why do we make it our business? I am all for making educated decisions regarding childbirth. I just don’t let it define me. And I won’t define you by the way you chose to give birth.

6 comments to Natural

  • hamster

    Amen. My neighbor has 2 sets of twins. I mentioned that the younger set (6 months) seem like a content pair. She said that she remembered J being colicky. She then offered “but my babies were born at home, so I think that they had an easy and happy and transition into the world.” I’m happy for her, but I didn’t appreciate that her statement seemed to imply that if you aren’t able to, or don’t choose to give birth at home “naturally” your children will be — unhappy? Why would any mother want to impose a guilt trip like that on another?

  • Tracy (tjly)

    Here! Here!

  • mopsy

    hamster, if the mom knew your history, then she was a clod when she credited her kids’ serenity to her home birth. Even if she didn’t, it is rather presumptuous and self-congratulatory to give her birthing mode the credit for her children’s sunny dispositions.

  • Amy P

    Aren’t you at least 1%-2% french fries?

    ITA about the birthing. We are enriched by having options that were not available in another time/place. Why can’t we all leave it at that?

  • mopsy

    Hubby read this comment and disagrees, Amy P. He believes I am a full 10% french fry.

    I wish childbirth options weren’t such a hot topic. To become inflamed by it to the point debate boards exist is sheer ridiculousness.

  • I completely and totally agree! But I’m intrigued with the pickle idea….

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