Home Birth Advocacy, Motherhood

Becoming An Approachable & Empowering Natural Childbirth Advocate

7 Comments 26 April 2010

Natural birth can be a touchy subject.

Natural birth is a childbirth philosophy that attempts to minimize the use of medical intervention.

Those in favor of natural birth, also known as Natural Childbirth Advocates, support birthing without labor enhancing drugs or pain medications whenever possible. Natural childbirth is deemed healthier for mom and baby and advocates see their encouragement as bettering the birthing world.

Not all see it that way.

Women on the other side of the fence, (those who have no problem accepting  pain medications or other forms of medical assistance) see NCB advocates retelling their drug-free experience as boasting, as if they are better than women who ask for an epidural.

To some extent, that might be true.

An advocate, by definition, is someone who argues a case for, or on the behalf of, another.

We do it all the time, thinking our way is the right way…

We talk about how much more awake and alert a newborn was after a natural childbirth as opposed to an epidural…

We describe the important of the first feeding and lack of bonding that can take place with cesarean sections…

Who signed you up for that?

Maybe you did. But maybe you didn’t. If not, I don’t want to scare you away.

One cannot ignore there are situations when the use of an epidural may be necessary, such as getting mom to relax. And in the case of deciding between having to get an epidural or c-section (opt for the epidural).

When it comes down to it, maybe I don’t know how to be a natural childbirth activist. I can’t bring myself to say how things “should” be done.

Maybe I don’t have to. Nobody likes to be told what to do.

How to empower women by NOT giving advice.

We can be advocates not by telling women how they should be birthing, but informing them on the many different ways they can birth, and explaining the pros and cons to each.

After that, they can make their own choice (I always say, own your birth).

A guest writer at The Unnecesarean, said it brilliantly in her post this past week,  The S-Word (she says what I am trying to say here a zillion times better).

“Empower other women to succeed; don’t bully them into submission. Our goal should be to make sure that every woman has the information, accessibility and the encouragement necessary to reach her goals…”

So true, so very true.

All I can really do is support women in their choices, even if I don’t agree.

I am not better than anyone else for achieving the kind of birth I thought was healthiest for myself and my child (repeat 10x). <wink>

There are plenty of women who aren’t comfortable with the idea of birthing at home, and that’s fine. But I don’t want to be judged or told I am ignorant for my choice to birth at home.

The most I can do is provide information for women who might be interested in home birth and natural birth. It’s the least I can do.

And if the advocate in me says, “I hope they _________,” well, I’ll just keep that to myself.

Your Comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Jenn says:

    This is definitely something I need to be better about, I have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut and not telling women the BETTER way to birth. Thanks for the thought-invoking post.

  2. goddessjaz says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for expressing these sentiments because I feel it does a huge disservice to the natural childbirth movement (and the work of midwives and doulas) when we do not look at the real crux of our work…supporting the mother to have the birth experience she desires. We can only offer information for her to make decisions for herself. Otherwise, we are no better than hospitals enforcing their ideas and rules on mothers.

  3. Okay, I’ll come back to comment on the rest when I’ve had time to read it – I just wanted to say that first picture is HIGH-LARIOUS!

  4. Earthdweller says:

    I have to say that I really enjoy this. I think a lot of people are closed to looking at what Home Birthers say merely because they think Home Birth is going to be pushed down their throat.

    I am hugely supportive of birth how Mums want it but for them to have the access to choice about whatever birth they may want. For some, that may be a Caesarean. I am hugely supportive of Home Births and that women have the access to resources to choose that although sometimes it seems I am not taken seriously because I am not one of the ‘Home Birth’ crew, not being in a medical situation to be able to achieve this myself and having had Caesareans for all my children.

    It would be lovely as well for others to realise that we don’t have to have had a natural birth to support it and to think that yes, it is best physically and psychologically for all if it is achievable.

  5. Kat Fagerlie says:

    As an home birther myself it was a major step for me to learn how to approach a hospital birth with my doula clients with all the same excitement/calm/faith/love as I would a home or birth center birth! And it seems when I and the mom don’t have a mistrusting attitude of the hospitals- the births seem to go better with less interventions!

  6. Kate Donahue says:

    I love the way you have worded this – I feel like we can really always be reminded of this:

    We can be advocates not by telling women how they should be birthing, but informing them on the many different ways they can birth, and explaining the pros and cons to each.
    After that, they can make their own choice (I always say, own your birth).

    Strength and confidence come from informed decisions.


  1. uberVU - social comments - April 28, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by toniraquel: Becoming An Approachable & Empowering Natural Childbirth Advocate | Via @BringBirthHome http://bit.ly/a7Pe6A

Share your view

Post a comment


Post Archives