Taking Charge of Your Birth Story

October 22nd, 2013 by Dionna | 1 Comment
Posted in Guest Posts, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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I am so happy to share a guest post today from Shannon, author of Growing Slower and the new book Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth (I’m Chapter 33!). Read to the bottom for more information about Shannon. And please support her by grabbing a copy of her book, available today! $9.95 – make me a happy lady and buy through this affiliate link.

I’ve always considered myself an advocate for natural birth. I’ve been blessed to bring both of my children into the world through two amazing home births. I am passionate about the benefits that natural birth has for mothers and babies. For years I have written about natural birth on my blog. Now I’ve written an entire book meant to empower women to experience their own natural births. I’ve always considered myself an advocate for natural birth, but now I realize…

I’m not.

I am an advocate for women. I believe it is a basic human right of every woman to choose the birth experience that is right for her whether it is a medicated or an unmedicated one. Birth is not a one-size-fits-all experience, yet it is rare that birthing moms get to experience anything but the medical model of care.

The fact is that any pregnant woman in America today can walk into a hospital and have a medicated birth if that’s what she wants. No one would deny her an epidural to help with the pain if she requested one. No one would dare. If she wants pitocin or an amniotomy because she’s tired of being pregnant, chances are she can find a willing doctor. If she wants the Hep B vaccination, vitamin K injection, and eye ointment for her baby, she’ll gladly be given them.

But try and have a natural birth, and your chances of success are just about nil.

While around one-quarter of women plan to have an unmedicated birth, only two percent of women will actually achieve one. What’s worse, 25 percent of women who receive medical interventions like induction and c-section felt pressured consent to them.

While every woman has the right to give birth on her own terms, sometimes we have to stand up and demand what’s rightfully ours.

If I could distill down the most crucial ways that women can take charge of their births, it would be this:

 Shop around and find a care provider that is truly supportive and shares your birth philosophy. Don’t tolerate being bullied or pressured under any circumstances. It may be easy to see doctors and midwives in the role of an authority figure. However, it’s important to remember that we are consumers who are hiring them to do a service.

2  Educate yourself about the process of natural childbirth. For most of us, it is something entirely different than what we have been taught by our culture to believe. Read as many books on natural birth as you can. Take childbirth education classes that are specific to natural birth with your birth partner. Knowledge really is power!

3  Make a birth plan and be sure to discuss it with your care provider and birth partner before the birth. It can be extremely difficult to communicate your wishes when you’re experiencing intense contractions, so you’ll have to rely on your birth plan and your birth team to advocate for you.

My dream is that women will become educated about their options before they give birth. Birth should not be something that happens to us. We should not feel pressured or forced to consent to anything that makes us uncomfortable. We should be able to make decisions from a position of strength and confidence. That way no matter what form our birth may take, we will be able to embrace birth as a positive, empowering experience.

Shannon writes about natural pregnancy, parenting, and simple living at GrowingSlower. Her book,  Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth is available October 22. She and her wonderful husband are parents to one energetic toddler boy and one peaceful baby girl. 

One Response to:
"Taking Charge of Your Birth Story"

  1. Shannon Brown   growingslower

    Dionna, thanks again for the privilege of sharing my passion for empowering women with your readers. I really hope my post will be an encouragement to them!

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