Choice

I love my mother very much, and we are very much alike. But one thing we do not have in common is an occasional strong desire for argument. I’ve never been the best debater, and I only get upset and frustrated when I find myself inadvertently involved in the kind of talking back and forth where there really is no back and forth at all. So, when my mom is itching for an argument, she usually knows to call my sister or my brother instead of talking to me or my father (because my dad is like me this way).

But sometimes, though it’s probably unintentional, she starts with me. The other day, we were on the phone, and I was kind of annoyed that my cell kept dropping the call. That is, until it dropped the call right in the middle of one of those frustrating “debates.” When I called her back, the topic changed, and we went on with our lives, to my relief.

The discussion topic, however, is one that I have been thinking about a lot. And not even just now that I’m great with child. The subject matter at hand happens to be giving birth without unnecessary intervention. Some refer to this as “natural childbirth,” but most would argue that there are no “unnatural” births, with the possible exception of a surgical birth. So I will use “drug-free,” instead.

My husband and I are planning an unmedicated birth for our first child. I am wholeheartedly committed to this, as is James. We will be using HypnoBirthing to release fear and work with my body in a way that should allow us to have a positive and fulfilling experience bringing this baby into the world and adding to our family. This is our choice, and we have made it. Period.

I do find it sad that, despite the fact that women have been giving birth for as long as we have existed on this planet, a woman who wants to work with her body without being treated like an ill patient seems to be quite the oddity these days. But even though I am a strong advocate for drug-free birthing, every woman does need to make her own decision based on what is best for herself and her own family.

This will probably be the only post in which I mention our birth plans. And I will probably refuse to go into detail about it in person if asked. The reason for this goes back to that talk with my mother. But it’s not just about her or that particular conversation. It’s about everyone who uses words of support but doesn’t mean them. It’s because of anyone who has heard someone make this same decision and said some variation of, “Don’t be a hero,” “They don’t give you a medal for refusing relief,” “Don’t feel disappointed if you ask for the epidural,” or offered up gruesome tales of everything that could go wrong and did go wrong with some friend/relative/acquaintance that they’ve heard. This is neither support nor encouragement in my book. And it is not productive, however good the intentions.

Look, every pregnant woman will be going into labor eventually. And I’m sure that to whatever extent, the anticipation of labor brings some level of fear to her mind. We don’t know what will happen, how we will proceed, what choices we might make or how we might change our minds when we’re there. We have heard the horror stories. Sometimes we do even seek them out. And we know it doesn’t matter whether we take a needle in the back or just breathe, only that our babies are born safely and left to rest in our welcoming arms when it’s all over.

I am confident in our decision and plan for a drug-free birth. And my choice from now on is to shut up at the first hint of negativity I encounter surrounding this particular plan. I am happy to share more information about my reasons and our childbirth education with anyone who is truly interested and open to listen. But if all you’re going to do is argue, call my mom. I’m done.

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