Been meaning to get back to blogging for ages, but there always seems to be something else – children, work, dogs – that gets in the way . However, the report at the weekend about women being able to choose a Caesarean section, regardless of medical necessity was obviously the kick up the bottom I needed to put mouse to mat, because here I am!
Please, don’t think for one moment think I’m disapproving of those with a valid reason for choosing a section. I’ve seen enough clients traumatised by bad birth experiences to know that c-section really is the only option if they want to extend their family. . With those women, I join in rejoicing that an overwhelming fear-factor can be, if not removed, at least circumnavigated, so they can enjoy their pregnancies, births and children.
Nor am I saying those whose births ended as Caesareans, should have fought harder/done something differently. Far from it – birth doesn’t always go according to plan and whether a medical necessity, circumstance or intervention necessitates babies coming out via ‘the sun roof’, the birth of a baby and the start of a new life is always something to celebrate as is the fact that we have the life-saving technology we do.
What I am saying – actually, pleading – to those of you out there considering a Caesarean Section because you’re scared of the birth process is don’t rush into any decisions. I’m not going to mutter about how a C-section is major abdominal surgery – because you know that, nor am I going to say that women are supposed to give birth ‘naturally’, because no doubt you’ve been told that too. What I am suggesting is that you take some time to do some research into ALL your options. And I don’t mean by watching ‘helpful’ documentaries about birth such as those American ones on certain satellite TV channels (come to think of it the English versions are not too confidence-boosting either) because those are enough to make you opt for sterilisation! I mean by reading some of the awesome birth books that are out there:- ‘Effective Birth Preparation’ by Maggie Howell for example, or anything by Ina May Gaskin (I’m a bit of a fan!) Or if it is actual scientific evidence that floats your boat, check out Michele Odent (to be said in a French accent) his vast range of books including one called ‘The Caesarean’ make for some very fascinating and illuminating reading.
Educate yourself by going to a class that gives you specific skills for labour. I teach Natal Hypnotherapy classes (www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk) for example, which explains the importance of keeping adrenaline (our fight or flight hormone) out of the birthing room because it stops the ‘good’ birthing hormones (Oxytocin and Endorphins etc) from doing their job and greatly increases the chances of complications occurring. By learning how to prevent that from happening, the chances of a straightforward birth are much higher. Not wishing to blow our own trumpet here (but what the hell!) the C-section rate of those attending our classes is down to 9% compared to the current 24%.
A couple of factoids for you to get your teeth into:
Giving birth can be painful – it’s true. I’m not going to deny it but it is the pain of a muscle working (yes, the uterus is a muscle) and working very hard to birth a baby. The difference between the uterus and your abs or triceps is that when you work the latter groups, you are doing it voluntarily i.e. you’re choosing (or not, as in my case!) to work those muscles. The uterus does it all by itself. It is NOT the same pain as when your appendix is about to burst or you break a leg. By learning deep relaxation skills, it is completely doable to learn to work with contractions rather than against!
Babies are getting bigger – again true…..but so are we. Our diets are generally better than that of our grandparents (quickly hides evidence of recently consumed chocolate brownie) we are getting taller and it stands to reason our children will be bigger too. You absolutely cannot tell from a woman’s physique what the internal proportions of her pelvis are. I have had the tiniest of tiny clients give birth to 10lb bubbas without so much as a graze! And the fact of the matter is, a 10lb baby is not actually that much bigger than a 6 pounder – they just have more padding and very little of that is on their head!!! Again, educating yourself about positions for birth can help because any baby working against gravity (i.e. the mother lying on her back) is going to require more effort to be born. In addition, a baby’s head moulds to fit the birth canal and the exit to the birth canal, the vagina)) stretches to accommodate the baby’s head – a process more likely to happen smoothly if the woman is allowed to choose her own birthing position.
Labour can last a fair old time and you don’t know when it is going to happen……go on, guess……that’s right – True! Butthat can be a good thing –it gives your body time to build up to the birth of the baby making sure all the hormones required to prepare your baby for birth are in place. Not only that, all the hormones required to love, mother and nurture your baby when he or she does come out are also ready and waiting – think of ‘em as a cheer leading team making sure it’s all ‘Go Mummy’, ‘Go Baby’!
None of this is to say that with a a Caesarean section this doesn’t happen but it is a fact that the cheer leaders tend to turn up a little bit after the game has started because no one told them it had begun!
I am not belittling any fears you may have, because anything unknown (or in some cases is known only too well) is scary. I’m just letting you know an elective C-section may seem like the easy option but ‘natural’ birth can be too. If you are still too scared to even think about how the baby’s going to get out, there are many therapists out there who can help you. I, for example, use EFT (emotional Freedom Technique) and Hypnosis to help women such as you www.theholisticparent.co.uk but if that’s not your bag there are counsellors out there who can help too.
Ok, I think I can gently lift mouse off mat now – – it’s far less stressful to the emotions!!!