Wanting a Natural Birth Is Not an 'Obsession'

For every woman who wants a natural, drug-free vaginal birth, there are 10 more women waiting to tell her she is wrong, crazy, judgemental, sanctimonious, and will choose the epidural as soon as she can. The desire for a natural birth is still a long, long way from being the socially acceptable way of giving birth. But that doesn't stop the medical establishment from trying hard to scare women away from them.

A recent story in Daily Mail tells the horror story of a woman so blinded by her "obsession" to give birth naturally that her son was a stillborn thanks to stubborn midwives who ignored her doctor.

To be sure, it's a tragic story, one no one would ever want to see repeated. But wanting a natural birth didn't cause the death. Bad midwives caused it.


The fact is, drug-free vaginal birth isn't going to be for everyone. Any good midwife knows when to send her patients to the hospital or to involve a doctor. This idea that every midwife is obsessed with making sure her patient gets the birth she wants regardless of who lives or who dies is simply off-base.

It makes midwives and women who want natural births look insane. Big shock. At a certain point, can't we all just get along? Women can want epidurals and C-sections without that saying anything about their character or sanity, so why can't women NOT want either of those things without the same respect?

There are bad doctors who push C-sections and bad midwives who push for natural birth at any cost, but the latter is much rarer. And this idea that is so pervasive in pop culture -- that the natural birth movement is for fringe hippy freaks -- is really sort of offensive.

I had two completely drug-free, natural births, both of which were uneventful, quick, and relatively easy. It's possible and doesn't have to be a big deal.

Medical intervention is great if a woman wants it or needs it, but pretending like it's always necessary is just misleading. There are tragedies in birth sometimes. It's much rarer than it used to be, but it happens. Women also die -- and lose their babies -- after C-sections sometimes.

It's horrific and tragic any time a mom or baby is lost, but their desire to have the best birth for themselves didn't cause it. There are bad midwives just like there are bad doctors. It's imperative to trust yours and to know when she will say when. But it isn't the natural birth movement's fault.

Do you think natural birth is an "obsession"?


Image via birthersage/Flickr

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