Is ‘Natural’ Really Better?
We’ve made a lot of progress over the years for getting women and birthing individuals more power and choices around how they have babies. There is still more room for improvement. We can expect to cover more ground, particularly with consumer feedback and choice of facility and care by growing families.
The internet makes a lot of information readily available about choices in labor and delivery. The option to give birth without medication, surgery, and other interventions has been of particular interest for many in recent years due to a growing number of people using their voice to spread the word about this option that is reasonable and safe for most. This should be celebrated, because choices should be ample and of great variety when they have the potential to positively influence the lives of all the unique individuals who will bring life into the world. A one-size-fits-all approach is not likely to serve everyone well.
But what happens when we start to see this positive movement become yet another tool for shaming women and people who birth?
You’ve seen it. It happens at mom groups, play dates, yoga studios, the comment sections, the coffee house and a dinner table near you. It is now hip to judge someone or assume they are uneducated for getting an epidural, scheduling an induction, or choosing a cesarean birth. It is now common to hear someone reflexively say, “Oh, I’m sorry,” when someone else shares they gave birth by cesarean, whether it is known if the speaker was happy with their experience or not. It is now apparently acceptable to many to see a facebook status that reads, “If you are going to induce for convenience, maybe you shouldn’t be having kids.”
There are legitimate and numerous reasons to choose an epidural, to choose to augment with Pitocin, to schedule your induction or a cesarean birth. For those who have past trauma that could be triggered by the sensations of labor and birth, these tools can be utilized to greatly improve the experience. For those who simply prefer a scheduled induction or any of the interventions and tools available to them, if they are most comfortable and happy with these options, why should we wish to deny them? When parents are satisfied with choices they have made, it is incredibly out of line to suggest that they shouldn’t be.
The healthcare decisions of other women and individuals are never your business. They are not up for comment. Outside opinions have no place in the matter.
Many can empathize with those who have experienced birth trauma by way of an unwanted medical procedure. So if someone does not want to give birth without medication or intervention, how is it anything less than cruel to suggest they should have to go without it?
There is no best birth method or outcome. What is important is that individuals have choices, are listened to, and are given excellent care and support that is cohesive with their needs and decisions. Let’s shift our focus to what matters.