At the tail end of middle age,
here I am.
My eldest child, just now expecting her first child.
I am a grandmom twice.
This child having her own will complete a circle that I have waited for quite sometime.
My girl China, who made me into a mother.
Seeing her now take the place as mother to her own,
now that’s something special.
I will attend her at birth as I have with the other daugher and daughter-in-law,
and have done with hundreds of other babies over the past 18 years or so as a doula.
I have attended hypnobirths, Bradley births, c-sections, stillbirths and of course medicated births.
In hospital, at home and at birthing centers.
I have given birth 6 times myself plus one stillbaby born too soon.
All unmedicated births.
The last 3 using hypnotherapy.
I won’t claim to be an authority but I have a bit of experience under my belt,
so to speak.
China, invited me to her hypnobirth class.
A few couples sat in a semi darkened room with a candle lit.
The instructor sat cross-legged on a footstool with a pashmina across her shoulders like a prayer shawl,
and her hair hanging loose to her mid back,
a good look when you are 30.
Not so much at 55.
She proceeded to speak on birth without pain of any kind.
The contractions as “surges” and pushing as “so yesterday”.
Now as I mentioned I am all for Hypnobirthing.
I think it’s extremely helpful in attaining a natural childbirth if that’s the woman’s wish.
I held my tongue as she led the women through the “full dilation” (or pushing stage of labor) breathing.
“Ladies”, she quietly sang, “You gently breathe in, and breathe out,there is no drama of pushing ,or people coaching you to push your baby out, your baby comes out all on its own with no more effort than your gentle breath.”
Okay, I was done holding my tongue.
I can tolerate varying opinions and means to an end in getting babies born, but telling a group of first time expectant mothers that they won’t have to push their babies out, and that the experience will be pain-free is just plain horsepee.
It will be a sad day for these women when their babies descend low into their pelvis towards birth.
The time when the tendons stretch, and tissues, (it doesn’t matter if you massage in a gallon of evening primrose oil) stretch and often tear with the scope of the coming skull.
I’m not talking perineum here I mean the vaginal canal.
Never mind the “Ring of fire” (straight from a hypnobirth training manual to describe when the head emerges from mom’s body).
“Ring of Fire”
It’s not called that for nothing!
Hypnobirthing can absolutely get a woman through labor and delivery with much “less pain” then just muscling through the contractions.
But pain-free it ain’t.
“Madam”, I said,”I have attended hundreds of births of all kinds and the disservice you are doing to this group of women appalls me.
Never in all my experience has even the most calm,the most ‘in control’ woman who has used hypnobirth didn’t say post-birth that it was the hardest thing she had ever done.”
I felt my daughter’s hand on my arm.
I was embarrassing her in front of her teacher and classmates.
“With all due respect”,I finished.
We left the class into the cold of the Silver Spring night.
I apologized to China who walked arm-in-arm with her husband.
“I couldn’t abide seeing you lied to,” I said,” Having a baby is going to be the greatest day of your life, a day you never forget, I won’t have someone build you up ridiculous expectations that may leave you feeling afterward like your body failed you.
That if you do end up choosing to take an epidural you will have failed at childbirth.
You are going to have 18 years to raise this child.
This is only one day in your life. Whether she comes natural, by epidural or section she is going to be the same baby. ”
“The truth is giving birth hurts.”
There I said it.