The other morning, I was standing with a group of moms talking, we were all either pregnant or had had a baby within the last year. One thing I’ve observed since becoming a mom is that you usually cannot escape a conversation with other new moms without hearing the words: natural, epidural, midwife, Pitocin, dilated, and so forth mentioned at least once.
There seems to be such a freedom in talking about the ‘logistics’ of birth. Even towards the end of my second pregnancy I was struck by the oddity of the question “Are you dilated yet?”- Especially when coming from an acquaintance or, even more uncanny, a stranger. Do they realize the true meaning of what they just asked me? Why is it socially acceptable to ask a late-term pregnant woman: “How far open is your cervix?” Plus how many American mothers can truly visualize what ‘3cm’ looks like anyway? We just know that we want that number to get to 10 as quickly as possible. I digress.
In these conversations, it has become apparent to me how birth is profoundly personal yet universal. It is a shared experience among mothers but each journey leading up to conception; each pregnancy; each birth is completely different. It’s beautiful. It’s scary. It’s exhilarating. It’s natural.
With my first child, I was naïve and stubborn in that I felt very decided in the ‘right’ way to give birth. Probably attributed to watching ‘Business of Being Born’ one too many times. However, while that thinking was close-minded, I do strongly believe that we need to recognize the birth process for women as equally important as the final outcome of holding that baby in your arms.
Our bodies are designed to do crazy, amazing things and childbirth is easily one of the most remarkable. The birth process, whether euphoric or frightening, will have a lasting effect on the mother.
I look forward to sharing the rest of Kristin's insights next Monday. Please give your insights in the comments too. As mentioned, it's freeing to talk about pregnancy with each other.