Okay, so our site logs lead me to it…a breastfeeding.com thread in which a link to an Imperfect Parent column sparked many tangents on a debate board. Kelly Cunningham’s essay, “Don’t Even Bother: The Case Against Childbirth Education Calsses” was the target of scoff in a thread entitled: Everything wrong with birth in our birth culture. Basically, the old “natural birth vs. assisted birth” debate made for old-school debate fodder when it took a surprisingly sharp turn into the bowels of maternal control and rage, accusing doctors who intervened during the sacred process of birthing and interfering with their birthing desires, as a crime and psychological significant of being raped.
Then they argued as to whether it was rape or assault and who had actually been raped and who was qualified to categorize it as “rape”.
Yep. They call it “birth rape”.
So to all the fine, imperfect people out there, can medical intervention be classified as “rape”, if it is against the implied, specific or vague birth plan of the mother? If you wish to read where the “birth rape” started, go to page 33, post #323.
During hour thirteen of my 24-hour quasi-medicated labor, I remember having one distinct thought: There is no way in hell I will EVER do this again.
While I was pregnant, I would often ask women to tell me what labor was like, what a contraction was like. Mostly, they all said the same thing???‚¬???that it was hard to describe what a contraction felt like (you???‚¬?„?d just know when you had one) and that labor wasn???‚¬?„?t really that bad.
They were right about one thing. When I had my first contraction, I sure as heck knew what it was. But they were lying when they said that labor wasn???‚¬?„?t that bad. Or if they weren???‚¬?„?t lying, then they all had some?‚? pretty high pain tolerances compared to my wimpy self. Because for me, labor hurt. A lot.
But more than that,?‚? it?‚? was a dark place. A scary place. A place where I felt helpless, confused, and alone.
Not to say that my labor was uniquely difficult. I had a failed epidural, lots of Pitocin, and contractions that were ineffectual and unusually long, lasting up to 7 minutes. Yet, I know that there are women out there who have had it worse. Much worse. And my intention here is not to compare labors. It is just to say that labor was hard.?‚? And I expect that it is hard for many. So if that???‚¬?„?s the case, then why do women tend to?‚? sugarcoat it?‚? it when they???‚¬?„?re talking to moms-to-be? I think I’d rather have known the worst-case scenario, not the best case.
At one point, the pain was so bad that I remember looking at my husband and pleading for him to do something to help me. I was literally writhing in pain and felt like I was going to completely lose my mind. He was the only one there with me. The only who could possibly help me. And yet, he felt helpless too.
???‚¬?“I don???‚¬?„?t know what to do???‚¬??, he said.
The thing was it wasn???‚¬?„?t his fault; he really didn???‚¬?„?t know what to do.?‚? But in that moment, I felt completely, utterly alone. Just me and the pain. It would be 12 more hours until the baby was born.
In hindsight, I realize that my own fear, my own helplessness in the situation was making my pain worse. What it came down to was that I was not prepared. Not in the slightest. I hadn???‚¬?„?t read any books on labor techniques. I hadn???‚¬?„?t hired a Doula or practiced my breathing exercises. I hadn???‚¬?„?t demanded that my mother be present during the labor to help us. I had gone through one day of Lamaze class and that was it. I didn???‚¬?„?t fully realize what I was headed?‚? for or really respect the process I was about to undertake.
Now that 14 months have passed since the birth of our son, I???‚¬?„?ve finally reached the point where I feel that I can do it again, and?‚? recently?‚? we???‚¬?„?ve decided to start trying for our second baby.
And I have no problem admitting that I???‚¬?„?m scared as hell. But we???‚¬?„?re going for it anyway. Only this time we???‚¬?„?ll be more prepared. We have to be.
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