Birth-Choice Shaming

Congratulations on your natural, unmedicated birth. You did your research, hired a doula, wrote a birth plan, advocated for yourself and got your OB to agree to your plans. Labor was intense, but manageable. Your moment of triumph came when your sweet baby was placed skin to skin on your chest. It was a perfect end to a beautiful story…well, not quite.

Women are often surprised that they must continue to defend their birth choices and deflect negative comments, even after the birth. One new mom, a labor nurse herself, was mocked and shamed by the doctors and nurses with whom she worked. They taunted her about how she had struggled with her intense labor. They made comments to her that she “wouldn’t make that mistake again,” about refusing an epidural. They even used her as an example to persuade their patients to get an epidural.

This birth-choice shaming is repugnant. Especially when it comes from the healthcare professional that should be supporting mothers and their birth choices. A mother’s decision to decline pain medication, to have an epidural or any of the many other choices she will make need to be respected and honored. Trying to shame someone, about how she could have done better, is not a welcome or productive practice.

Strategies for moms dealing with birth-choice shaming:

1. Interrupt when someone is incorrectly speaking about your birth story and set the record straight.

2. Prepare a phrase to repeat when someone is pushing their opinion on you about YOUR birth experience. For example “I loved my daughter’s birth, even the difficult bits.”

3. Offer to give them information about your birth choices so that they can appreciate your point of view. Most people do not want homework so they will probably not bring up the subject again.

4. Respond: I am glad/sorry that you enjoyed/did not enjoy your birth, but every person has a different experience. I am happy with my choices.

5. When the subject is brought up, stop the conversation by saying that you feel the experience is too personal to discuss and you hope that they will respect you by not speaking about it.

And finally, surround yourself with positive and supportive people. You ultimately shared your birth experience with a very small group of people. Everyone else is a Monday morning quarterback, so go ahead and leave them on the bench.

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You want a Trial Of Labor After Cesarean (TOLAC)? INCONCEIVABLE!!!

Your OB’s response when you tell him you want a vaginal birth after cesarean section:

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What you are thinking when he says you will die if you try a VBAC:

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What your husband is thinking when he sees you cry in the OB office:

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What the nurses ask when you show up in labor before your scheduled caesarean:

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How you react when they try to prep you for a c-section:

who are you

 

How you articulate your birth plan:

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How you feel after listening to the TOLAC consent:

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How your doctor acts when you haven’t delivered before 5PM

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Your response to the 28th offer to give you an epidural:

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What happens when you fall off Freidman’s Curve:

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What they tell you when you decline augmentation:

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How your nurse explains when starting pitocin:

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What you tell your OB after 2 hours on Pitocin:

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What your nurse does to buy you extra time:

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What everyone does until you are complete:

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How everyone feels when labor goes well and the baby is born healthy:

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My 10 Crunchy Mom Fails

And Why I’m Okay With It

 

1. I didn’t save my placenta to plant with a tree, eat,
make placenta prints or to encapsulate

          lone surviver

2. I tried using aluminum free deodorant for exactly one day

sure

3. I can’t bring myself to pay more for Organic

 grapes

4. Does mashing parts of my own dinner count as making my own  baby food?

baby eats

5. I was disgusted by cloth diapers in my childhood and passed on it as a mom.

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6. Never made cute art out of my belly

 belly art

7. Didn’t want to have  a Water Birth

 bath

8. Never even heard of lactation cookies until this year

 lactation cookies

9. Struggle growing an herb garden

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10. Never declined newborn medications

 syringe

I don’t fall neatly into a mom category. I bet you don’t either! I’m a little crunchy, a bit soccer, a lot grizzly and a full time working mama. Sometimes I feel like I am a goddess of natural birth and attachment parenting, sometimes I’m driving through McDonalds for the second time in a week. That’s why I’m okay with my crunchy mom fails.  I don’t need to try to fit in to someone else’s idea of what makes a good mom.  I am a good mom. I’m a Boho mama.

I have the freedom to parent the way that I choose!

Maybe some of the above crunchiness is right for you.  Click on the links to learn more.

 

The Cult of Natural Childbirth

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Response to the uproar over the “cult of natural childbirth”

I am not a cultist.  I am not a home-birth advocate, although I think it can be done safely.  I am not a highly medical intervention advocate either.  Both extremes put our mothers and babies in danger.   I have been witness to some train wreck births on both ends of the intervention spectrum.  Women and doctors can become fixed on an idea and cannot be dissuaded from their perspective despite their current situation.  This can lead to mistakes on both sides, resulting in poor outcomes.

I am a childbirth educator, advanced practice nurse and a mother.  I am passionate about low intervention, natural childbirth and breastfeeding.   I am an advocate for informed parents making decisions collaboratively with their provider of choice.  I am an advocate of the use of the fewest medical interventions necessary for the comfort and safety of mother and baby.

If a mom plans on an epidural, formula feeding and an induction at 39 weeks my job is to educate her on the best way to make her plan safe and effective.  I will ensure that she know that she has alternatives. Many women are not empowered to know that they have choices, relying on what their mother, aunts or friends tell them is appropriate.  Likewise when a mother desires zero interventions, I will carefully explain the risks and benefits so that she can make an informed decision about her and her baby’s care.  Women are influenced by media, social interactions, and past experiences.  Doctors and nurses should not discount those influences, but add to it the knowledge that they bring, as health care providers.

Women such as Elissa Strauss and Amy Tuteur, M.D. have recently shared their outrage over extreme, natural childbirthers that are glorifying childbirth, sometimes at the expense of their baby’s life.  I have seen that type of misguided activism and the sad outcomes that can occur.  Although I agree that some advocates are taking the movement too far, care needs to be taken not to discredit and marginalize the natural childbirth movement as a whole.  There is room in feminism for all of us women if judgmental ladies would move over.

There is power in childbirth.  It is an amazing feat that only women can accomplish.  Some women choose to exercise their power by having a scheduled, medicalized, epiduralized experience.  Good for them!  We should celebrate that we, as women, have healthcare choices and autonomy to demand that type of childbirth.  Women who choose to have a more natural childbirth experience should also be celebrated and encouraged.  I have been moved to tears watching women find strength, that they didn’t know they had, during natural labor and childbirth.  I have also been amazed at the miracle of birth in the operating room.  The bottom line is that women have choices.  Women must not check their autonomy at the labor unit door. Women deserve be informed of risks and benefits to all medical procedures and their choices should be respected.  Women need to respect other women’s decisions about childbirth.  There is not a right or wrong way to give birth. Each woman, baby and situation is unique and options and choices need to reflect the details of each childbirth situation.

Let’s take a step back and remember what is important in this discussion.  If women are happily foregoing epidurals and Pitocin, then why should the media and medical professionals discourage it?  Identify, criticize and educate about the real dangerous ideas that are out there, like completely unattended births or home VBACs.  When women raise such a huff over what other groups of women are doing it smacks of jealousy and esteem issues.  If you are secure in your woman and motherhood then seeing a bunch of crunchy moms blog, about how they are potty training their 4 week old or how they didn’t make one sound in labor, will not affect you at all.

 

 

Live and let live sisters.

 

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Evidence for what we already knew was happening…

Nurses have been talking and complaining and trying to work around this trend for decades. Many, and maybe most, c-sections are unnessary and all are riskier than patients know.

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What Hippies Taught Me About Childbirth

 

I learned a lot about labor from granola nurses and crunchy parents.

 

What Boho advice will you add to your birth plan?

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Feed Moms or they get cranky.

hungry

 

 

 

 

A cervix blooms like a rose.

rose bloom

 

 

 

 

 

It is okay to ask the tough questions

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Don’t assume that all parents want vaccines, baths,

disposable diapers or a pacifier,

unless you want to see  crunchy mom wrath.

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Babies like their amniotic fluid.  Don’t AROM their swimming pool.

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Everyone needs a hug sometimes.

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But make sure you are keeping a safe distance when its pushing time.

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Sometimes a mom will need you every minute.

stay

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes a mom only needs her partner

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Not all moms wear deodorant, have a fan handy.

windy

 

 

 

 

 

It is okay to name your son Red Fox.

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Wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsing to cut!!

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Continuous fetal monitoring is not always necessary.

intermittant efm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always knock on the door first!

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Moms deliver babies, not doctors.

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Watching a  dad and mom look at each other after the baby is born

always makes me cry.

dad gaze

 

Meet Ina May Gaskin

Video

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