A common question comes up when I tell people I teach women how to have a ‘natural’ childbirth, and the question is WHY. Why would someone want a natural childbirth? When we look at other mammals (remember, humans are mammals), when birth gets messed up so does bonding. It has been said that if we want to fix some of the problems associated with postpartum depression we must first fix birth. Natural childbirth matters in a profound way.
When I was a child, my dog had a litter of puppies. I thought they were the cutest puppies I’d ever seen and went to pick one up. I wasn’t allowed too…because everyone knew that if I touched the baby puppy and took it from her mother the mother might reject it and the baby could die. Humans have brains with great reasoning skills and we don’t typically reject our babies when the nurses take them off to be examined and have other “normal newborn procedures” done to them. The point is still the same. . . our births in the western world have become so medicalized, so far from natural, we don’t even recognize birth interventions as a valid reason for postpartum depression and other complications during the birth itself.
Other mammal mothers labor in a quiet, dark, relaxing place, with as much food/drink as they like – without bright lights, stressful surroundings, medications, and time constraints. They immediately touch, or nurse their young after birth. And when their babies are taken away, or when birth interventions are done, there is a high rate of rejection, breastfeeding problems, and even death.
Contrast this scene to a common birth in the west: in a hospital, lying down in bed in a hospital gown, monitors on, with IV in arm, an unfamiliar setting, bright lights, stress of time constraints and medical staff doing “routine” checks and coming and going. Deliveries many times involve forceps or vacuum extractions, episiotomies, or even C-sections. No chance to soak in such an amazing experience and bask in the wonderful hormones of love, attachment, and bonding during those critical minutes/hours after birth. A typical hospital birth today is about as opposite to a natural birth as possible.
Well, birth really does matter! And birthing practices definitely have an impact on you and your family. Choosing your birth place and your care provider wisely is one of the most important decisions you will make to having an amazing, family centered birth. So, that’s why I teach natural childbirth. 👣