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Sunday, June 28, 2009


More doctors are coming out now in favor of the idea that c-sections may be safer and better for mom than a normal vaginal delivery. This is a hard one for me to swallow. Now, research has not shown this to be absolutely true, but it got me to thinking. What if it was? What if c-sections were safer? What would I choose? Would I have a choice? Something deep down within me wants to run away from those ideas. Birth has become such a part of me that if someone were to tell me that I would be making a bad choice to give birth vaginally, I'm not sure how I would react. My births have helped define who I am as a woman, a mother, and a person...would that have been the same if I wasn't given the choice. I wonder if something sacred would be taken from us.

Now, I am grateful that we have c-sections. There are times when it is absolutely life saving to have that, and those who give birth that way are not any less mothers. I just don't see that as being the optimal way in normal circumstances. Of course, some disagree and more and more people are being led that way. I hear doctors who much prefer c-sections, and moms who are afraid ro give birth any other way. I just wonder, are we losing something here? And if we are, what is it? Or maybe I'm just unable to face reality...progress is progress. Technology is here to stay, and it is useful and lifesaving. I'm just not certain we always understand what progress means....


Cherylyn said...

It's not the kind of progress I want to see. I feel that c-sections are a medically necessary surgery in certain cases, but I totally disagree about it being the optimal way to birth a baby. Why would we choose to ignore the body's design and ability to carry and birth babies without intervention? Why would we choose major abdominal surgery (and I could go on about the risks involved, but I'll spare you that) over something that's naturally simple and relatively easy to recover from? In his book Childbirth Without Fear, Dr. Grantly Dick-Read states that only 5% of births are actually high-risk and require medical intervention, so why are we apparently trying to make every pregnancy and birth out to be a problem waiting to happen? You can tell I have strong feelings about this, and I'll spare you more ranting, but this is something that's really important to me.

Rachel said...

This is a comment from Kami...

i couldn't figure out how to comment on your c-section note...but i just had to say that i think that is crazy! our bodies were made to birth babies vaginally for a reason...of course we should be grateful for c-sections because when necessary, they truly are a blessing, but i definitely think that something would be lost if women turned to c-sections as a typical way of birthing (which it is becoming that). i have read that babies born by c-section have a harder time breathing because the "stuff" isn't squeezed out of their lungs like it is in a normal birth (excuse me for my lack of medical terminology, hehe). that's just one example. anyways i know you feel passionate like i do about birth so i thought i'd share my is an interesting trend that is happening!

Rachel said...

You know I hate to sound alarmist. There are many doctors who don't believe this, but I have talked to some who do. I think part of the problem comes because birth is not controllable. You never really can predict what can or can't happen. C-sections, on the other hand, are very controlled. But my main concern in this is for the psychological well being of women. Emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, do c-sections pose a problem in these areas? If medicine decides that that is the way to go, where do we stand as women who feel like birth has offered us great meaning?

Again, I'm not sure how many believe this. Obviously our c-section rates are climbing and there are numerous factors involved in this. I just wish more women could find meaning in a normal birth also and not see it as a hassle, or gross, or annoying, or just a means to an outcome.

Christina said...

I hope I never have to have a C-section and even if they were "better," I'd stick with vaginal. After all, some studies have shown that daycare is "better" than being at home with mom. I think they just measure the wrong things.

Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.