The 'N' WordCasey Mullins
Hi there. First of all you should know that I don’t get my panties in a twist about much of anything. I wouldn’t even say my pants are twisted on this particular topic, I can just see where there may be a little bit of a wrinkle with a particular word, a hiccup, a sincere misunderstanding.
I’ve sat back through this whole debate, the same way I sit back when it comes to cry it out or breastfeeding (so that’s kind of a lie, call a bottle feeding mother selfish in front of me and I’ll (nicely) set you straight.) I’ve seen wonderful moms hurt by the use of one word in particular when it comes to childbirth, and that word is ‘natural.’
Pardon me for a moment but when you think about childbirth, isn’t natural kind of the farthest adjective from your mind? Amazing? Sure! Awe inspiring? Okay! Really super cool? Yes! But natural? We’re talking something the weight of a medium watermelon with the circumference of a grapefruit coming out of your body on purpose. Often times it comes out of your body where (pardon me) pleasure goes in. I can still remember with each of my pregnancies, staring at my swollen belly thinking “There’s only two ways for this thing to come out and both of them are going to hurt no matter what.”
I had epidurals with both deliveries and they both went astoundingly well with no complications (unless you consider napping through transition a complication.) I pushed a few times and POP! goes the baby. I joked after my first delivery that if they sold epidurals on the street? I’d buy them for all of my friends.
My best friend on the other hand doesn’t do so well with epidurals and after two really rough deliveries she decided to forgo the epidural with her last two babies. Was her birth any more natural than mine? I don’t think so. Different? Very. But natural? Eh, debatable. We both did what worked best for us.
With my second pregnancy I was pestered by dozens of different women to watch “The Business of Being Born.” I finally did, and realized that the biggest issues I had with my first delivery was pitocin. Horrible crap that pitocin. I knew I didn’t want it the second time around so when I went into the hospital I said up front “NO PIT, PERIOD. I WILL WALK AROUND UNTIL THIS BABY IS READY TO FALL OUT OF ME, YOU WILL GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL AND WE SHALL PROCEED AS USUAL.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
There’s something to be said about being fully aware of your options when it comes to birthing babies. I know pitocin is not right for me, however epidurals? WHEE! BRING IT ON! But being told what is right or wrong by someone who isn’t me or my health care provider? No thanks, I’m informed and in the end it’s my uterus, my vagina, my baby, my decision.
Where was I headed?
Oh yes, “natural” childbirth.
Go ahead and use the term “unmedicated” all you want. My labors? Medicated. My best friend? Unmedicated. (that is until the baby came and she
asked demanded narcotic pain relief) I have other friends that have birthed babies at home, in their cars or at birthing centers…we all did what was right for us (well, except for the car thing, that was an error on the eager baby’s timing.)
Some babies have to be born via c-section. Sometimes a vaginal delivery just isn’t an option just as there are occasions where breastfeeding isn’t an option. No matter what your stance on c-sections or breastfeeding, I would ask you give mothers the benefit of the doubt anytime they discuss their own c-section or pull out a bottle instead of a boob, you don’t know their whole story.
And as far as the word ‘natural’ goes, I saw a comment somewhere from a mom (whom I didn’t know) that said “When you call an unmedicated vaginal delivery ‘natural’ it hurts me in so many ways, by implying my birth was somehow unnatural or less despite how badly I longed for an unmedicated home birth, things just didn’t go my way and I ended up with a c-section.”
It’s one little word, chances are it doesn’t come up all that often in conversation, but I would just ask that we all be mindful of each other, the pains we’ve gone through and the disappointments we’ve had on this bumpy road to motherhood.
In the end we are all mothers, no matter how our babies came to us.
While I don’t know about you, the only natural thing about motherhood for me is how much I love these little people through thick and thin.
What’s your stance on the word ‘natural’ when it comes to childbirth?
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