Birthing classes

Hubby and I have been going for our birthing classes..they are fun as we get to spend some time with each other every week and also learn about the overall birthing process. In the last class, we watched a couple of videos of child-birth…one was a regular “info” video which explained the entire birthing process from early labor to active labor, while the second one was a video that the instructor had taken of a client who had used hypno-birthing during her labor. Both videos were very informative…come to think of it, they were a little too informative. When they showed the “crowning”, the baby’s head coming out, I found that a little scary…it looks like an ET/alien kind of thing coming out of a person….totally freaked me out actually. Is that TMI (Too Much Information) for going about giving birth which millions of women do every day (it seems a child is born every 8 seconds around the world)?

Our instructor, an amazing woman, was sharing some of her “doula” experiences with us in the class…if you don’t know what a doula is, worry not – I had no clue about the existence of this word till recently. A Doula is a labor coach, a woman (I think it is almost always a woman) who is a certified child-birthing assistant and who stays with the laboring mother to nurture and guide her through the process. I guess I had my own doula in my last birth – that was my mom (ofcourse, not certified).

So these experiences almost always were about how these brave women overcame pain and did perfect drug-free deliveries…a pregnant woman from the class shared her first experience with us all where she described her experience as “great but I somehow lost it in the end and I was not very proud of myself…I could have done better in controlling my pain”…..our instructor described another woman as being “awesome” as there was not a sound from her throughout her contractions. That got me thinking – is the labor and delivery about me being heroic and behaving in the “right way” or is it about the safe delivery of the baby in the safest way possible?

Am I supposed to behave in a particular way? If there are women here in the western world who can’t tolerate any pain or are scared because of pre-conceived (no pun intended) notions, are they in anyway lesser mothers than women like us who gave birth in Asia and who didn’t probably even have a choice of a drug-assisted birth? When I gave birth to my son in India and didn’t shout or scream, was it not simply because I didn’t “watch” any movies that tricked me into thinking that that behavior was “normal”?

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  1. Ann

    That is a good post. Becuase sometimes I feel taking epidural makes me less of a woman! Why is there so much glamor here for going through pain?

  2. Maya

    I have no clue! When I had my son in India, I didn’t have the option of having an epidural… ofcourse, in my case I didn’t need one as it was a smooth and easy delivery…I did have pain in the last one hour but it was very bearable…however, when I go in for the second delivery, I will happy to ask for something if I need it…would you think of not asking for a painkiller when you go to your dentist for a root-canal treatment?
    Now granted, that child birth is very different for different women..mine was less painful (I think) than my dentist’s visit.

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