Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birthing like a peasant.

To Posh to Push

Putting the Placenta aside now, I felt I needed to throw this in here as well.

I'm talking about birthing positions and how there is this idiotic mindset about how one must be a lady even while in labor.  This was something that drove me bananas while I was in labor with my son. The only time I was allowed unrestricted movement and position was when I had to use the bathroom. Other than that I was laying on the bed, fetal monitor attached, IV dripping and me feeling like even rolling over to my side was a hassle. They'd come running in frantic because the baby's heartbeat had suddenly vanished, only to find me just trying to get more comfortable.  Epidural or not, staying in one spot just isn't very logical, even for the non-pregnant.
I remember wishing to walk around and how when I switched to in a position I had learned in the Lamaze class I had taken at the same hospital, it was such a big to do. "Hang on we have to get the portable fetal monitor." Having to wait while that was hooked and they found the heartbeat again.

There are a lot of things about labor and birth that we instinctively know to do in our animal brain. But for some reason we don't do them because we have been programmed that "It isn't Ladylike." So what is with this being a lady crap and where did it come from. Well, it didn't take much digging to find out.

Birthing women used to deliver their babies in whatever was the most comfortable position for them and in the position that would provide optimal room for the baby to pass. When Queen Victoria was giving birth, she asked her Dr to administer Chloraform to her while she was in labor. This knocked her out and she gave birth on her back. This caught on. Not only did women want to be administered Chloraform to protect them from any pain, they also wanted to be ladylike, like the queen, and birth on their backs. The only ones who birthed in any position that was comfortable and effective from then on, were the peasants, who could not afford such a luxory.
This mindset carried on into the Womens Sufferage movement and hasn't slowed since. Women still view it as ladylike to birth on their backs and want their choice of pain relief in childbirth. There is just a few major problems with that. Birthing on your back causes you pevlic bones to be the smallest position and the most inefficient pushing position. You must push the baby up and out. This results in long, hard labors, tears, burst blood vessels, and one very freakin exhausted mama who may then be told she needs a c-section. Then there is the wonderful history of medications given to women in labor.

For some reason that I can't understand, with all the forward thinking women in the world, why in heaven's name would you chose to give birth in the worst position? You would think we would google this on our Ipads and 4G cellphones. Why are we still thinking backwards about birth and accepting that this is the way it is done?  I'm pretty sure Mary wasn't worried about being ladylike when she gave birth to Jesus in the stall and I'm sure Joesph wasn't telling her to lay on her back. (Had to throw that in with Christmas having just passed.) Sure you can say she would of thought differently if she had had all the modern convenience. Yet, how women thought about birth in those days compared to now is very different. Women used to be considered healers and holy vessels. We alone have been given the power to nourish a life within us and have been given breasts to feed this child when it emerges from us. So, why with all this perfection would birth be the one thing that puts fear into our very hearts?
Men have their jokes to compare the pain of childbirth to passing a kidney stone or having your bottom lip stretched up over your head. The trouble is that these are body parts not meant to stretch. Where the baby emerges from is designed to stretch as much as needed for the baby to come out. We are also given a cocktail of hormones that rush through our bodies while in labor to dull or completely eliminate the pain.

It makes me sad when I stop and think about it. How we went from being these strong women who were considered our most fertile and beautiful while pregnant to beings who are weak and need to be saved from what makes us women. This mindset isn't doing anyone any good. We are all able to kick being "ladylike" and birth like a peasant, we just have to kick fear and have a little faith in our own bodies.

You would think Dove would jump on this with it's project of helping girls accept that they are beautiful and strong without makeup or being a size 0. But I guess that's too much of a stretch even for corporate giants.  Oh well.

4 Great Quotes by Grantly Dick-Read
A brief history of Grantly Dick-Read a Pioneer in the Victorian times
Anesthesia and Queen Victoria

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