Why it matters how we are born

“The beginning of life is a very normal and natural, yet specific, event.” ~ Bettina Breunig, TEDx Talk

Much of Western society chooses to view childbirth differences as merely a matter of personal choice. Rather, Attachment Parenting International (API) encourages us to recognize this important beginning in both our child’s life and our relationship with our child. Keeping this in mind, the first of API’s Eight Principles of ParentingPrepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting — is a critical investment in our roles as mothers (and fathers).

In this TEDx Talk video, German midwife Bettina Breunig discusses the role of a birth professional during labor and childbirth — to empower the woman to give the best possible beginning to her baby’s life outside the womb.

Join us as we explore this Everest of a challenge for every new mother:

16 points to consider for your cesarean birth plan

Editor’s note: April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an international observance designed to reduce unnecessary Cesareans, advocate for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), and help women heal from the sometimes-difficult emotions surrounding a cesarean birth. While Attachment Parenting International (API) promotes childbirth options with the least interventions, we also recognize that there are certain situations that necessitate interventions. What is most important is that parents research all of their options to be able to make an informed decision. A cesarean does not need to prevent a gentle delivery:

A family-centered cesarean is a relatively new concept that’s helping to make cesarean births gentler and more positive. In addition to giving a mother control over her birth, a family-centered cesarean — sometimes called a gentle cesarean — may also help facilitate early bonding between parent and newborn. This can help a family to start out feeling attached and connected from birth.

אסטרולוגיה also works on your mind, in matter of surgery like if someone has a fear of surgery and she consults a astrologer to know about their stars.they can give the best advice and faith that all things gone good with them.

Certainly, if you’ve had an unwanted, traditional cesarean or any negative birth experience, it does not mean that you cannot have an attached relationship with your baby. However, having a positive birth experience can make for an easier transition into parenthood and can also reduce the chances of postpartum depression, also maeng da Kratom can help to counter birth stress and depression issues. Red bali kratom is a kratom strain belonging to a plant family known as Mitragyna Speciosa. It belongs to a group of kratom variety known as red vein kratom. The name red vein represents the color of the leaf vein running across the middle of the kratom leaf. Kratom is certainly enjoying a great deal of renewed attention in this day and age. That fact alone has led people from all walks of life to learn more about the potential behind the most euphoric kratom.

What is a Family-Centered Cesarean?

The goal of a family-centered cesarean is to focus on what will make the experience better for all members of the family. Since every family’s wishes and desires are different, a family-centered cesarean can look different for each family. Also, the fact that policies vary greatly from one hospital to another may determine what is and is not possible. (For example, some hospitals do not allow a doula in the operating room.) Also there is a slight possibility that something goes wrong in the surgery. That’s why a company like Hastings Law Firm, Medical Malpractice Lawyers can help you recover in case something like this occurs.

Gentle practices that some families may desire during a family-centered cesarean include having the baby walked out more slowly than in a traditional cesarean, delayed cord clamping, and allowing for immediate skin-to-skin with either parent. For best birth plan, you should know about kratom herb and also about white sumatra kratom. Allowing the mother to nurse in the operating room, keeping mother and baby together in the recovery room, and having newborn tests and procedures done with the baby on mom’s chest are other ways that a family-centered cesarean can support early attachment.

In my own experience, I had both a planned and unplanned cesarean. When my second child was born in 2012, I arrived at the hospital in labor expecting a vaginal delivery like I’d had with my first child. I was shocked to find out that my baby was in breech position, and he was delivered via cesarean less than an hour later. I hadn’t planned for a cesarean and had never heard of a family-centered cesarean.  Fortunately, in my situation, the hospital policies already included having mom and baby together in the recovery room and other early bonding practices. However, had I known what options I had to make my cesarean a more family-centered experience, I would have felt more in control of my birth and less scared and upset upon learning I’d need a cesarean and then to get it covered with the used medical lasers for cosmetic surgery.

When I was pregnant with my daughter two years later, I was hoping for a VBAC but learned early in the third trimester that she was breech as well. I ended up having a second cesarean, but this time I was able to research my options and created a cesarean birth plan. Though it wasn’t the ideal birth that I’d initially imagined, it ended up being the most positive of my 3 children’s births.

If you’re having a planned cesarean by choice or medical necessity, or if you are hoping for a vaginal birth but want to consider your wishes in case it becomes a cesarean, you may want to consider writing a cesarean birth plan that covers both the cesarean itself and the recovery period. Talking to an obstetrician about it in advance can help you understand what is possible at your hospital.

Points to Consider When Preparing for a Family-centered Cesarean:

  1. Practice breathing and relaxation techniques to use before and during the cesarean. This can help you stay calm and manage stress or discomfort.
  2. Play music in the operating room, if allowed. It can help in creating a comfortable and calm atmosphere.
  3. Have an additional support person/doula in the operating room and/or recovery room, if allowed. A doula program services may help with relaxation or be a source of emotional support. Research shows that having a doula leads to higher satisfaction with the birth experience.
  4. Ask to have one arm unrestrained in order to hold the baby as early as possible and facilitate early bonding.
  5. Before beginning, have someone ask, “Are you ready to have your baby now?” This can help you feel a little more in control of your birth.
  6. Have the cesarean performed slowly with the baby walked out slowly and gently which is gentler for the baby than a traditional cesarean may be.
  7. Ask the doctor to explain the process as it is happening. This can help you to feel more present and connected with the experience.
  8. Have a warm blanket available during the surgery for your comfort.
  9. Have the screen lowered or a mirror at the time of delivery, or have a clear surgical drape, so you are able to see the baby’s birth.
  10. Allow your partner to announce the baby’s gender.
  11. Have immediate skin-to-skin contact. This is one of the earliest ways to bond physically with your baby.
  12. Delay cord clamping. Keeping the cord attached longer allows for increased blood flow from the placenta, which has many health benefits for the newborn.
  13. Breastfeed the baby as early as possible, in the operating or recovery room. In addition to being a means to connect physically with your newborn, this has other benefits including improved lactation and less loss of blood. Feeding a baby colostrum within the first hour of birth also increases the chances of a successful breastfeeding relationship.
  14. Keep the baby with you in the recovery room to allow for more opportunities for bonding and nursing.
  15. Delay baby’s first bath to give the baby more time to bond with parents. There are also health benefits to this, as research shows that leaving on the vernix (the white substance many babies have on their skins after birth) can benefit a baby’s immune system.
  16. Have newborn tests and procedures done with the baby on your chest so you aren’t separated.

While having a positive birthing experience is desirable — as it is a part of our initial parenting experience — it’s important to remember that it doesn’t define our parenting journey. If you Want to throw your child an awesome party. E Magical Moment can customise a package that is suitable for your kids birthday party. There will be many more events and moments for us to bond and connect with our children.

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         Additional API Resources on Gentle Cesarean Births:

API’s First Principle of Parenting: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting

Personal stories on APtly Said, API’s blog:

— “A special door

— “I took back control of my cesarean

— “5 lessons learned about Attachment Parenting after a cesarean birth

Professional insight on The Attached Family, API’s online magazine:

— “What Goes Into a Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Plan

— “What to Do When a Cesarean Becomes Necessary

Editor’s pick: Consider a midwife

“Once born, baby’s hormonal control systems and brain synapses begin to permanently organize according to the human interactions she experiences.” ~ Linda Folden Palmer, DC, in “The Chemistry of Attachment

pixabay - newborn handAttachment Parenting International encourages parents to make informed choices regarding childbirth, and that includes selecting your health care provider. Many Attachment Parenting families choose midwifery.

This week’s featured article is “Midwives are essential to global heath” on TIME, written by Jerker Liljestrand of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health program.

“Despite the fact that cesarean section rates higher than 10% are not associated with reductions in maternal and newborn mortality, many countries across the world — including the U.S., Brazil and even parts of India — are seeing rates of cesarean section rise to over 30%,” Jerker writes.

Childbirth has been happening since the beginning of mankind, but it is only in the last century that it has been viewed as a medical event rather than a natural human experience.

It’s true that some childbirth experiences do turn into medical events — that complications do arise that necessitate interventions up to and including cesareans. But as Jerker explains, the vast majority of births are normal, uncomplicated and with no need to become a medical event.

The solution, Jerker proposes, lies in midwifery — a profession that dates back to ancient Egypt when women supported other women in childbirth. Today — and, I’m sure, back then, too — midwives are trained with a focus on natural births, and the way they support birthing women is to facilitate natural births. Jerker refers to research that shows that the use of a midwife leads to fewer preterm births, fewer labor interventions and shorter hospital stays.

In many less-developed countries — like Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, and Ethiopia — midwives has helped to reduce maternal and newborn mortality drastically. Just in Cambodia, midwife-attended births have slashed maternal mortality by two-thirds since 1990!

From API’s perspective, the less complicated childbirth is, the easier it is to establish that mother-infant bond that eventually blossoms into a secure parent-child attachment. API promotes childbirth experiences with the least interventions possible to allow the natural hormone flow in mothers, infants and even fathers to get bonding off to the best start.

What childbirth experience do you want your baby to have? Consider a midwife to help.

Birth education matters

By Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, cofounders of Attachment Parenting International and coauthors of Attached at the Heart

lysa parker

It’s important to remember that a one-time class at a local hospital won’t come close to giving you all the important information you need to be prepared for childbirth.

For the best birth outcomes, parents need to be informed and active participants in all decisions that have to be made, as well as the birth.

barbara nicholsonTo encourage positive birth outcomes, Lamaze International has identified six care practices, adapted from the World Health Organization, that promote, support and protect normal birth. When adopted, these care practices can have a profound effect: instilling confidence in the mother and facilitating a process that results in an active, healthy baby. These care practice include:

  1. Labor Begins on Its Own — Labor is a set of complex, interacting components. Alteration of the natural process can expose a woman and her baby to unneeded risks.
  2. Freedom of Movement throughout Labor — Free movement during labor allows a woman to tolerate contractions and assist the baby’s rotation and movement through the pelvis.
  3. Continuous Labor Support — Current research supports the benefits of continuous emotional and physical support during labor.
  4. No Routine Interventions — Supporting the natural, normal, physiologic process of birth requires clear medical indications prior to any medical intervention.
  5. Spontaneous Pushing in Upright or Gravity-Neutral Positions — Allowing a woman to find the positions of comfort and encouraging her to push in response to what she is feeling is beneficial to the birth process.
  6. No Separation of Mother and Baby, with Unlimited Opportunities for Breastfeeding — When a baby is kept with the mother, there are physiological benefits to both, including the facilitation of breastfeeding.

Lamaze International recommends that care providers, hospitals and birth centers adopt these six practices as standards of care and encourages women and their families to choose care providers and birth settings that employ care practices that promote, support and protect normal birth.

In 1972, a study was published in the book, Why Natural Childbirth? The author, Dr. Deborah Tanzer, was a student of Dr. Abraham Maslow, the theorist who developed the Hierarchy of Needs scale and the theory of the “peak experience,” which he defined what makes life worthwhile and gives it meaning.

Dr. Tanzer was curious about mothers who were delivering babies by the then-“new” method of natural childbirth, which was being touted as a rapturous experience by some mothers.

In her studies, Dr. Tanzer found that as soon as the natural childbirth classes were completed, the women who had taken them showed greatly improved attitudes toward their pregnancies. Five times as many women reporting positive emotions after the birth had taken the childbirth classes.

Another important finding was that the childbirth class takers felt they were much closer to being the type of people they wanted to be. In other words, their self-images were enhanced.

Ironically, the childbirth class takers — most of whom had little-to-no analgesia — reported significantly less pain than the non-childbirth class takers. Almost equal numbers of the two groups reported high pain, but the childbirth class takers outnumbered non-childbirth class takers by eight to one in registering low pain.

The issue that greatly interested Dr. Tanzer was the experience of a peak or rapturous experience. No one in the group that did not take the childbirth classes reported this kind of ecstatic experience, but 10 of the takers in this study did. Overwhelmingly, it was the women whose husbands or partners were with them at both labor and delivery who reported a peak experience.

In summary, here are some of the key points from her research:

  • Certain fears, feelings, fantasies, needs and responses seem to be common to all women.
  • By the introduction of natural childbirth, the character of the total birth experience is changed radically and in a highly positive direction.
  • These differences in childbirth experiences included how the mother viewed herself, the baby and the meaning of the experience. The women in the natural childbirth group emerged happier and healthier.
  • The biggest and most positive differences became apparent in the later stages of labor and during the actual birth of the baby, when the woman could begin to push and thus help to expel the baby.

The act of pushing, sense of meaningful activity, participation in the great drama of the delivery room, ability to welcome her new child in full consciousness, joy in accomplishment — these seem to be the truly important facets of natural childbirth and, for these mothers, were the ultimate in a “peak experience.”

Interestingly, we’ve talked to many women through the years who attended natural childbirth classes, yet for various reasons did not have the “perfect birth” experience that they had wanted. Those women seem to have an easier time dealing with their disappointment than those who wonder what might have happened if they had been more prepared.

It seems to be harder on a mother to accept a disappointing or difficult birth when she was not informed enough about the process of labor and delivery, and the doctor was allowed to make all the decisions.

We feel strongly that birth is such a transformative and empowering experience that each pregnant mother deserves to have the best information, enabling her to make the best decisions for her and her baby. The critical time to gather this information is well before the birth.

I loved bringing you into this world

About two months ago, we welcomed our second child (our first son!) into the world. With all the negative stories you hear about childbirth, I think it’s really important to tell people it’s not always like that: It doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

katelynne eidI genuinely think both my birthing experiences have been really amazing.

After having a natural birthing experience with my daughter, I knew as soon as we found out we were expecting again that I wanted something similar. Except this time, I really wanted to avoid being in a hospital setting.

There is a stand-alone birth center within a hospital not far from us. For me and my husband, this offered us the best of both worlds. While not completely comfortable with a home birth, we wanted our son’s birth experience to be as similar to a home birth as possible. Yet — God forbid anything were to go wrong — we were just down the hall from the labor and delivery unit at the hospital.

Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International does not take a stance on childbirth settings or health care providers, but rather encourages parents to research their options in order to make informed decisions regarding the birth of their baby. Learn more about API’s First Principle of Parenting: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting.

I think one of the most important aspects in planning a birth is making sure you have a provider who not only agrees to your birth plan but understands it. Instead of having to explain why keeping it as natural as possible was so important to us, we had a provider who inherently felt the same way we did. All we had to do was wait for our little man to arrive.

I had contractions irregularly for the last couple of months of my pregnancy, so we were surprised when my due date came and went. One Day 13, with no sign of labor starting on its own, my husband and I headed to the hospital for an induction. My midwife was committed to keeping the medical intervention as limited as possible and assured us that as soon as labor kicked in, we could move over to the birth center and continue as we saw fit.

At 9:00 a.m., my midwife broke my water. We fully expected this to tip my body into labor. My husband and I started doing laps around the unit to encourage contractions. We walked A LOT! Over the next seven hours, we must have lapped the unit 100 times to no avail.  This little man was comfy in there and wasn’t ready to meet us yet.

By 4:00 pm, my midwife sat down to discuss what we wanted to do. Throughout the entire experience, she was extremely knowledgeable and willing to offer her opinion, but she always left the decisions up to my husband and me, never pressuring us to go one way or the other.

She told us that most women were in active labor within 48 hours of their water breaking and that I could continue waiting. Throughout my entire pregnancy and birthing experience, I felt strongly that I should trust myself and my body. I knew my body could do this, but at the same time, I felt that my labor wasn’t going to happen on its own in that time frame. I knew that if I waited, I would most likely need additional intervention anyway.

We decided to try Cervadil, a gel that is placed on your cervix to stimulate contractions. The plan was to leave it in for two hours, after which I would hopefully be in active labor, and could go over to the birth center and get in the tub. Within 15 minutes of it being put in, I went from having almost no contractions to full-blown, active labor.

The problem with this method is that because it unnaturally stimulates your contractions, there is no break in between them, and because of the need to monitor the baby, I had to be lying down in bed. Laying down, for me at least, is the worst possible position to handle a contraction. My husband, being the awesome birth coach that he is, kept me covered in cool washcloths and reminded me that I was strong enough to do this and that our son was almost here.

There is a point in every labor where you doubt yourself. With my first birth, it came in the last few hours before I was ready to push. The intensity can get the best of you, and even though I was committed to having a natural birth, I at least understood why people choose otherwise. It’s in those moments that my husband becomes my biggest hero. He never wavered in his encouragement, reminding me that I was strong enough to do this and that our child was almost in my arms.

This time around, I thought I was prepared for that moment. I knew it would come, but I also knew it signaled that my body was in the final stage of bringing this child to me. I was not expecting it to happen 45 minutes into labor. My husband again became the voice of sanity, reminding me to keep breathing and stay focused.

Truly feeling each contraction, feeling your baby move toward birth, gives me a true sense of what a life-changing experience this is.

Seeing the surprising progress that had been made in less than an hour, we decided to remove the Cervadil and prepared to move over to the birth center. My midwife ran ahead to get the tub filled as my husband and the nurse helped me get up and into the wheelchair. There would be no walking at this point.

As soon as I stepped into the warm tub, my body immediately relaxed. I felt comfortable and knew that our son would enter the world the way we wanted.

A few contractions later and our son entered the world. He let out a quick scream to mark his arrival and then snuggled in on top of me. I have heard stories about babies who don’t cry when they are born since the environment is so calm but part of me was always suspect. We are constantly associating a screaming baby with a sign of a healthy baby, so when our son wasn’t screaming, we had to remind ourselves that it was okay: He was content and knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be.

As I nuzzled our son, my husband helped me out of the tub and the three of us snuggled into bed to get to know each other. Then we introduced our daughter to her new little brother. Watching her face light up when she realized the little baby who was in Mommy’s belly was finally here was a priceless moment.

Going so far passed my due date, being induced, having a two-hour labor — these were all things that I had not planned for. However, none of them caused me to have a negative experience. We may have had to go with the flow a little more than expected, but the experience was amazing.

Instead of saying, “I love you in spite of the labor you put me through,” I can tell my son: “I love you, and I loved bringing you into this world.”

The House of Timothy, an Attachment Parenting Inspiration

karen bradleyAs a mother of seven, and former therapeutic foster parent to 51 children, attachment and Attachment Parenting have been a constant in my life for the last 28 years. My children range in age from 7 to 28. Three of my children were adopted at the age of 4 years, 2 years and 7 months. I am now a proud grandmother to an incredibly wonderful 7 month old.

In February 2013, Service Star, where I had been Director of Client Relations, closed their doors. I found myself unemployed, for the first time in my life; a single mother, with five children still at home. After the initial panic wore off, I realized that if I was going to have to start over, at the age of 50, it would have to be doing something I was passionate about.

While I loved my job — especially the steady paycheck! — it was certainly not something I set out to spend my life doing.

Having spent nine years as a therapeutic foster parent, I knew I wanted to work with mothers, while they were still pregnant, to encourage them to form a strong bond with their babies. I had worked — and lived with — too many children who suffered from attachment disorders and saw very few who had been helped by interventions such as counseling and medications.

I wanted to do something to prevent the crisis and not just offer crisis management. And so, The House of Timothy was founded in San Tan Valley, Arizona, USA, to provide support to families, starting with pregnancy, through labor and into early childhood.

house of timothyThe House of Timothy is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, offering all of our services at no cost to those families in need.

I became a certified labor and postpartum doula, bereavement doula, childbirth and parenting educator, and breastfeeding counselor.

Since February 2013, 27 babies have been born to mothers who have received our services. We have not had a single preterm or low birth-weight baby born to our moms.

We bring childbirth education to them, provide a doula for labor and delivery, and stay connected through a prolonged postpartum period. Our mothers are all given a baby carrier/wrap, and we encourage them to wear their babies. We also provide ongoing breastfeeding support. Our goal has been to make life as stress free as possible for our mothers, many of whom are young, single and without support.

It brings a smile on my face when I walk into a facility housing young mothers and see baby after baby sitting in a car seat and then I spot “my” mom, wearing her baby!

Often, I am the only person in the room while a mother labors and delivers her baby. There is no spouse, no partner around, no grandmother — she is alone. Having a baby can be an overwhelming experience, even when you have support. Imagine life for a young mother who is doing this on her own. By nurturing the nurturer, we enable her to better form a secure attachment with her newborn.

Our mission at The House of Timothy is to continue to empower women, encourage secure attachment and educate families.

Confidence through motherhood

By Sarah Dubé

flowerI suppose when I think about it I have always had a fairly healthy level of confidence even if it was a more superficial sense. I had your basic “Yeah sure…I’m okay” level of appreciation for myself and for my body and never thought I was any less or more than average. In a way, it was good because I was happy with myself but the problem was that I never strived, in anything, to be more than average. I didn’t have the type of confidence that drives a person to accomplish more.

I didn’t, that is, until I became a Mother.

From the first moments I found out I was expecting, something inside me began to change. I looked at my changing body in a different way, realizing that what my body was doing was a true miracle. I gained a newfound amazement in myself and in my body, and this feeling climaxed in the moments of my son’s first breaths. I looked over at him, a brand new life where there wasn’t one before and it was there because of me. All of the possibilities and potential of that life kind of flashed before my eyes and it made me feel like God.

Life as a Mother was a whole new ball game. I was responsible for this whole other person and suddenly being average didn’t seem like good enough anymore. I navigated through the first year doing my best but always knowing that I should be striving to do better for my son and future children. I went through tremendous personal growth during my son’s first year. I learned so much about myself and about life, and came out of that first year with valuable life lessons. My confidence was still growing.

At the end of that first year, I learned I was expecting a second baby. The thought of two babies under 2 was mind blowing. With mixed feelings of a confidence and doubt, I prepared for the arrival of a second precious life to come into this world.

Now, my first birthing experience was actually quite traumatic. It was more like a nine-day-long nightmare. This experience left me slightly terrified but also slightly determined to take a little more control, which is something I didn’t have the confidence to do before. My second birth ended up being a much more enjoyable experience for me, although I let my fear take control and agreed to be induced and eventually have an epidural. I did insist on rooming-in with my daughter even though the nurses suggested on several occasions that I send her to the nursery so I can get some sleep. I also insisted on going home early the next day even, though my doctor suggested I stay in the hospital one more night to make sure breastfeeding was well established. The instincts within me were becoming a little more defined.

The real change within me happened when I looked down at my 1-month-old nursling, all chubby and thriving, and realized that it was my body and only my body that sustained this precious life. My body did just as it was supposed to and produced the milk to nourish my baby–no bottles, no formula, just me. At that moment, I felt a wave of realization come over me: I was extraordinary.

In July of 2010, I embarked on yet another womanly experience: natural childbirth. More confident than ever and armed with more information than I could possibly retain, I began to plan my perfect birth. A lovely, serene home water birth would welcome my third baby into the world. With all that I had learned, how could I walk away from this experience?

All the preparation in the world, though, could not have prepared me for the deeply spiritual and life-changing event. I felt as if I had been let in on a secret kept by all mothers before me since the beginning of time: that I am powerful, primal, connected and creative. That’s heavy! It connects me to them, and now I have that same wisdom to pass along to the next generation of mothers to follow.

The experiences of Womanhood and Motherhood are incredibly powerful, and for some of us, they are the defining moments of our life, as without them we wouldn’t be the fierce women we are today. I believe with all my heart that, for me, this is true. The place of deep understanding and appreciation for myself that I have attained through experiencing motherhood could not have been reached any other way, and I am forever grateful to my children for giving me those experiences.

Sarah Dubé, 30, is a stay-at-home mother to 3 children: sons Hayden and Oliver (who I was pregnant with when the author wrote this), and daughter Lily. Sarah had an amazing home water birth with Oliver, but that’s a whole other story. Sarah and her family live in a small Northern Ontario town called Bruce Mines, which is just a blink along the Trans-Canada highway.  The kids just love it here as they get a lot of freedom and fresh air.  Sarah spends most of her time doing Mommy things, and her husband is a trucker. Sarah’s hobbies include photography, writing and star gazing.

Going Against the Grain: Labor and Delivery

I wrote here about the struggles that arise when your parents disagree with your parenting.  The feedback was overwhelming and I have decided to share my own story of going against the grain and my path to attachment parenting.  I do this in the hopes that you will take a few minutes to share your stories about overcoming prejudice, digging deep to make wise decisions, and sometimes defending those decisions.  In a world where many moms and dads (including me) live far away from most of their extended family, in a world where attachment parenting seems radical, stories and advice from people like you are what inspired me, encouraged me, and ultimately kept me from pulling all my hair out.  Let’s collect stories and be a tribe of support and encouragement to one another.  (Here is my story of going against the grain during pregnancy.)

Can I just get something of my chest?  Going through Labor and Delivery is not the same as going through brain surgery!  For brain surgery you need anesthesia, an operating room, IV’s, and monitors.  You also need to schedule brain surgery in advance.  You do not need anesthesia for Labor and Delivery.  You do not need to be in an operating room for Labor and Delivery.  You do not need to be hooked up to IV’s and monitors for Labor and Delivery.  You do not need to schedule your Labor and Delivery.

Sure, sometimes women make more medicalized choices.  I know several Attachment Parenting moms who hate Fetal Heart Rate Monitors and only have periodic monitoring or none at all.  I also know Attachment Parenting moms who feel confident knowing (via Fetal Heart Rate Monitors) that baby is doing great and they can just focus on laboring.  Women choose hospital births. (I did!)  Women choose homebirth.  Sure, sometimes interventions are necessary.  Inductions (like mine) save mothers and babies from the real risks of eclampsia.  Babies lives are literally saved through C-sections.  But all these interventions that are necessary for everyone facing brain surgery are not necessary for everyone who is in labor.

My extended family and friends have had a hard time grasping this concept.  People thought I was “radical,” “liberal,” even “putting my unborn son in danger” because of my decisions regarding Labor and Delivery.  Many people are raised viewing childbirth as a medical event.  Many people don’t question something their doctor says is safe.

I was pretty open about my plans and hopes for my labor and delivery.  People questioned me, thought I was crazy, didn’t understand.  My mom (while I was 8 centimeters dilated and panting through a contraction) raised a fuss because I had chosen to stay in a skirt and tank top instead of put on a hospital gown.  So just imagine how she reacted when I was considering a homebirth!

The thing that frustrates me the most are uneducated comments.  I can deal with sincere curiosity, incredulity, even open disagreement or the inevitable “Well what if…” questions.  But when people just repeat something they’ve heard or learned from a TV show… I find it difficult to stay calm and not let their comments get to me.

How do you walk the line between respectfully educating someone and just letting a lost cause go?

The best advice I received regarding Labor and Delivery came as a question from my husband: “Doesn’t making a birth plan set you up to be disappointed?”  My husband and I did make a birth plan together.  We researched, talked, argued, agreed, and disagreed.  In the end we had a learned a lot about our choices and possible challenges we might face and how we would face them.  And then we threw that birth plan away.  No really, I didn’t even save a copy of it on my laptop.

This choice has earned me some weird looks even among my Attachment Parenting friends, but going into Labor and Delivery without a specific plan is awesome!  I ended up having a completely different birth than I had expected, but I was able to go with the flow and make educated decisions along the way.  (If you’re a birth story junkie like me you can read my long and detailed story of my son’s arrival here).

Did you do anything against the grain with your labor and delivery?  How did you deal with comments and worries from family and friends?  Do you try to educate people about childbirth choices or do you just let it go?  Did you have a birth plan?  Share your stories in the comments!

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