How can you tell someone that they are missing something? That they may know so much about a subject (birth in this instance), they may well be an expert, but they are missing something. They are missing the magic, the utter joy, the orgasmic (yea, I said it) quality of birth. Over and over again I have women in my life (nurses and others) make what to my mind are radical terrible decisions. Elective primary c-sections, inductions, bottle-feeding, et. To them, my decision to have out-of-hospital birth is radical, but which is further from normal? Which takes the biggest risk? Which one has the least amount of trust in one's own body?
I just looked through an online album of a friend (someone who is very knowledgeable about birth) who had a primary elective c-section. Too posh to push. Too posh to breastfeed too as evidenced by all of the bottle-feeding pictures. I became overwhelmed with sadness. Sadness for her, she would never understand. Sadness for her baby, once again she would never understand. Why am I struck with so much pity for someone who choose this? Someone who is perfectly content with her birth experience and with her mothering choices?
I don't believe that homebirthing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, or any of the many other gentle parenting choices that I made make me a better mother. But, I do think that it make me a stronger person with a richer life. I do think that it gives my children an edge of happiness in this world that can be so difficult. I do think that it gave me an opportunity to connect to the womanly energy of the universe and of my ancestors in a way that is otherwise impossible.
What I wish is that one by one I could take the birth doubters in my life and have them sit with me through a labor. Have them rub backs, moan with a laboring woman, feel the energy of a labor that is left to progress on it's own. What would they do if they saw a baby caught by her own mother, or father? A baby born with siblings present? A baby who is left alone to transition in her mother's arms? See a mother whose face is filled with utter joy and the immense wonder at what she just did? Would the tears come then? Would they know the beauty that birth could be? Would they know what they missed?