Hospital births seem so boring nowadays. Heck, not even a homebirth is that thrilling -- you're home, where you most often are. Women are giving birth in swanky hotels, showing us that it is sort of about location, location, location.
After hearing about a woman giving birth in a Barnes & Noble on Friday just outside of Los Angeles, it got me thinking about the circumstances of this incredible birth story this book lover now has. And about how perhaps natural birth is all about location, location, location.
This unnamed woman was out shopping for books but went into labor. Sure, we can talk about how the baby just decided it was time to see what the world outside the womb looked like, but can we also note that the woman was out doing something she enjoyed doing and gave birth to a healthy baby boy without any medical intervention or drugs?
What do you think about when you think about hospitals? Sick people, right? A hospital is typically the last place you want to go because it means you are going to be poked, prodded, possibly cut open, and operated on. It's where you go when something is wrong with you. Oh and it's where we go to have babies, too. But that association with hospitals is still there, in the back of our minds, living, breathing, and causing us to have more anxiety about birth than we should.
If we look at this woman's birth in a bookstore -- we see how she's out and about, potentially stress-free and walking through the aisles looking to see if she's read all of Junot Diaz' books or if she should pick up that Jennifer Egan one she's been eyeing. She's relaxed. And then along comes baby! We birth best when we are relaxed, when we trust our bodies to do what our bodies know how to do. We don't need drugs to relax; nor do we need drugs to block any "pain" -- our oxytocin takes over and that feel good hormone allows us to birth without as much fear, anxiety, and pain as we would if we were hooked up to machines in a hospital with nurses coming in and out of the room constantly checking on us and thinking we need to hurry it up.
I'm not saying we should never give birth in a hospital -- some of us have to (I did), but I am saying there are things to be learned from these natural "spontaneous" births in unexpected locations. And it's the state of the mother's mind moments before baby came knocking. That anxiety wasn't there, the nervousness, the pressure. One minute she's shopping, the next minute she's having a baby.
Or maybe what we learned here is that there should be a SkyMall type catalog in all labor rooms. Or a videogame unit. Or a manicure station. Or whatever it is to help mom-to-be relax so they can have the best birth possible. Nah, I'm sticking with location. Maybe what we really need is more birth centers.
Do you think hospitals just make women more nervous and anxious about birth?
Image via Janie Coffey/Flickr