Sometimes, and often by well-meaning individuals, I am silenced from telling my birth story to others. When in the room with certain individuals and a newly pregnant mother-to-be, I am sometimes told, “Don’t tell her your story, you might scare her.” Aside from being condescending to my entire being, that statement is one that is pretty much in tune with the way things can be in the birth world.
The truth is, I “might” scare her, but more importantly, I “might” educate her about very real issues that were a result of childbirth for me, and, potentially, could be a result for her. Too often, we paint childbirth as a time to be strong, to be courageous, to be natural…when we really need to paint childbirth as a time to be educated. Not only do we need to be educated about the choices we “want” to happen, but the choices that “may” happen during the course of a child being born. It is not enough to research and only validate one set birth plan. It is not enough to think that nothing else will happen, simply because you are “strong.” You need to be educated, educated in all possibilities, not just the ones that you think, or desire, to happen.
Sometimes, people like to qualify my birth experiences, often pointing to different points in my birth story as the “why” to “what went wrong.” The truth is, I was not educated enough before going into the birth of my first child. Sure, I had read EVERYTHING I could about childbirth, had attended birth classes faithfully, brought a list of questions to each Doctor’s appointment, engaged in conversation with my colleagues, friends and family. But, that wasn’t enough. Because the pervasive societal push is for natural, unadulterated, childbirth, omitted in mainstream literature are the gritty, nasty, true, and possible emotional and physical ramifications of a birth gone awry. Too often, these stories are looked at as outliers, and sometimes even, scare tactics, where mothers are blamed for choosing too many interventions, or babies are blamed for malposition.
Yes, I might scare you, and if I do, good. Maybe then you’ll seek to find out more.
Thanks for reading,