Choosing natural childbirth is choosing to trust your body. Even more than that, it's knowing that you already possess all the tools you need to give birth.
Having a natural birth doesn't mean choosing pain. There are a wide variety of natural comfort measures that can be employed. Women who choose natural childbirth realize that any artificial interruption in birthing, even for the best of intentions, adds risks. Whenever we interfere with the normal process of birthing, we increase the risks to both the mother and her child. None of these natural techniques carry risks.
However, the effective use of such techniques often requires diligent pre-labor practice. They are not a "quick fix". Mothers who choose natural childbirth willingly devote the necessary time to hone these skills and lessen the risks involved in choosing medicinal options.
Planning a natural childbirth does not mean swearing off all interventions. Situations will always arise when interventions become life-saving necessities. These mothers carefully weigh the cost-benefit ratio of any and all interventions. The possibility of pain is never a factor in making such decisions.
Women who choose natural birth realize that all medications taken during pregnancy are passed to the baby to one degree or another. The majority of mothers would baulk at the idea of shooting up drugs during their pregnancy. When in labor, choosing an epidural or intravenous medication means willingly exposing the baby to any combination of opiods (narcotics) such as morphine, pethidine, and fentanyl or dissociative anesthetics such as ketamine or clonidine. The cocktail of drugs is at the discretion of the anesthesiologist and can include any of these options. These mothers choose not to expose their babies to the possibility of allergic reactions, respiratory distress or the host of other complications that can arise from exposure to such drugs.
These mothers are not seduced by the seemingly easy option of avoiding birth through an elective cesarean section. A major abdominal surgery is not to be taken lightly. The risks of a cesarean section are numerous, including risk of future ectopic pregnancy due to scar tissue, risk of uterine rupture, and placental problems. The complications also extend to the baby. Babies born by cesarean section are three times as likely to experience respiratory complications. They do not have the benefit of passing through the birth path, which helps to clear mucus from the mouth and nasal passages.
These women understand that the process of giving birth does not damage the body. It is the interventions, the episiotomies, the unnatural birth positions, and the purple pushing that damage the body. Not one of these is necessary for birth. They not only damage the body, but also the spirit. Some women become so phobic, so unable to trust their bodies, they choose not to have more children.
Mothers who give birth naturally understand how their actions in labor affect their birthing. They welcome contractions as the force that brings their baby to their waiting arms. The mother and her child unite in a partnership as each contraction ebbs and flows into the next. They work as one with the rhythmic cycling of birthing until finally the baby arrives.
Natural childbirth empowers women. It instills self-confidence. But this is not why women choose it. They are not trying to prove their worth or be martyrs.
It's not about them at all.
It's about making the safest, gentlest choices for the well-being of their child.