Motherhood, Pregnancy

You Deserve a Medal for Birthing Naturally

19 Comments 07 April 2011

This post is dedicated to every single birthing woman out there, no matter where or how you gave birth. While I do stress natural birth in this article, I understand that any way you bring a baby into the world is hard work, and you should be proud of yourself for the achievement.

I am proud to have given birth naturally.

Having a natural birth is something I set out to achieve.

I did it for me, and I did it for my daughter. I did it for no one else.

I didn’t give birth naturally because I had anything to prove to anyone else. But I did have something to prove to myself.

I didn’t do it to show everyone how strong I was, but I was very surprised to discover my own strength.

“No is going to give you a medal for giving birth naturally.”

When I hear that statement, I feel incredibly sad for the person saying it.

When did they lose their power? When did they learn to feel so powerless that speaking that way to another human being became acceptable?

For those of you who had have this said to you, remember that people speak in projection. She was talking about herself, her own experience and what she has learned about birth.

It has nothing to do with you.

Just as important to remember, if not more-so, is actually the reverse is true.

You DO get a medal for giving birth naturally!

We get medals for running marathons. BIRTH IS A MARATHON!

The pride you feel from going through the experience of natural birth will live inside you for a lifetime. Your strength and confidence in yourself will only continue to grow.

You award yourself that medal when you choose to believe there is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself for accomplishing a positive and empowering birth experience!

No, you are not better or stronger than the next woman.

No, you do not condemn her for birthing differently than you did.

That’s not what it means to be proud. Being proud of yourself has nothing to do with other people (just as how you choose to birth has nothing to do with other people).

Hold your head high honey.

But we don’t always hold our heads high, do we?

It’s not always easy. Positive birth stories are not the norm in our society and we literally cater to the horror stories that so many women feel compelled to share again and again. Not that I blame them for wanting to talk about it!

But there also needs to be a space created for sharing the positive stories. You prepared for birth -literally studied it – learned about your options, chose the location and had a rewarding outcome.

You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Do not cower. Do not stop talking about how beautiful your birth was.

Of course there is a line, and therefore naturally a code of conduct we should all adhere to when discussing birth. It’s a very sensitive topic.

This is why it is imperative to understand and truly believe that you are no better for birthing naturally.

We have b.s. detectors for that.

Put your shoulders back and down and hold your head high.

You will never know what kind of response you’re going to get for sharing your plans to give birth naturally or sharing a beautiful birth story.

But for those of you who have accomplished a natural birth, you do know that you’re strong. You’ve proven that to yourself already.

Your Comments

19 Comments so far

  1. Hell yeah!

    I get many people tell me how lucky I was that my birth went well. I’m sure some of it was down to luck, but dude… I prepared, researched, STUDIED, I worked freaking hard to get the birth I wanted. And now I feel like I have to apologise for having a good birth, like, I talk about it and say “Well, it was very quick (~4 hours), I was very lucky” etc. But why should I apologise for my experience?

    Thank you for this post xox

  2. Hannah says:

    *sniff* What an encouraging & empowering post! Thank you!

    I home/water birthed 5x. My last one (6 months ago) was a lotus birth. Never have I felt more confident as a mom & woman.


  3. Heather says:

    THANK YOU for this!!! So beautifully put!! I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to share this!!!

  4. MichelleD says:

    Great post. I agree, Imogene@Alternative Mama. I worked really hard preparing for my birth too. I read tons, did specific exercises, learned breathing techniques, etc – whatever I could do, I did. And my birth went really well. When I read, “don’t prepare for your labour because its so unpredictable” I think you get train/prepare for it and aim for the birth you want. I certainly did. And no, I didn’t anticipate a few things, but it did go really well and I have no regrets.

    Best advice I had read was that you wouldn’t wake up one day and run a marathon – you train for it – just as you should for labour. And I did. :)

  5. renée says:

    right on! i almost forgot about how much work i put into having a natural birth. we chose to go that route at 32 weeks, after switching practices several times.

    my blood pressure was up in the end and i listened to my midwife and stayed on my left side for a week.

    i gave birth at home! i was so close to that not happening, but i worked hard so that it would. how could i have almost forgotten that? looks like i’m ready to type up and share my birth story so that it’s not forgotten.

    thank you for this site and the facebook community. you have been so helpful to me.

    • bringbirthhome says:

      @Renee – Please do type up your birth story! It sounds like a good one! I’m glad this post reminded you of your power. You deserve a medal! :)

  6. Leigh says:

    Thanks for that! It really bugs me when people say things along the lines of ‘oh well, some women pop them out, just like that!’ My first was a hospital birth, but I laboured at home for the first 6 of 12 hours, had a LONG transition, but quick pushing stage, and a small tear.
    I’m planning a home birth for my second, due in 10 weeks, and it is hard work! Numerous times I’ve thought to myself ‘It would be so much easier to phone the hospital and book a bed.’ But I’ve decided I’m not going to take birth lying down (again). Yes, we’ll have to clean up afterwards, yes, I have to do more preparation, because I feel more responsible for looking after my mind and body to make sure I’m in good shape to give birth, because I have decided that my baby is not going to be ‘delivered’ – birth is not something that is going to happen while I drink tea and watch a soapie. I will be there, involved, active and engaged.
    It really bugs me when people and medical staff have this idea that natural, minimal-intervention birth happens to a lucky few, but 70% of women are just somehow defective (the current c-section rate in the private hospitals nearby). It’s that attitude of ‘We’re here for when (not if) things go wrong.’
    In short, I don’t believe in luck.
    **ROAR** :-)

  7. Honey says:

    I HATED the book What to Ex…. because she says no one gives a medal for natural birth. I actually give my mommas little paper medals after their births. I’m a doula. I wanted someone to give me one ’cause seriously…you work harder than a marathon runner and even a walk a thon gives you a shirt!


  8. Marlene says:

    Medals, no, but the ecstasy and birth high (which I’m still on almost 17 months later), is so much better than the feeling any medal can give you. I took Bradley classes because I wanted the best thing for my baby. I had two standard medicated hospital births before, which resulted in the first baby being born limp and not breathing and the second was pulled out with forceps because I went suddenly numb from the saddle block right when I needed to push. Both ended up fine but I always felt bad about the second (it wasn’t until I learned more about birth and epidurals with my third that I realized getting the the epidural and laying on my back all night was probably why the first one was born like he was). Taking the classes and having a natural birth was what was best for my baby, but until I had my baby I had no idea how awesome it was going to be for me! It was the best feeling in my entire life (and I have a talented husband). I knew I had to do it again as soon as I pushed him out.

    • Love it, Marlene! I felt the ecstasy too. Other mothers I know always talked about how hard it was to get up in the middle of the night; it took a LONG TIME before it became difficult! I just wasn’t that tired, or I was so in love with my daughter I didn’t notice! Love the husband comment. LOL. ;)

  9. Annie says:

    “even a walk a thon gives you a shirt!”
    Ha ha ha!! I love it. so true. I just re-read this post Kaitlin, and it’s a good one. I too fall into, “yeah, I had it really easy, quick labor, comfortable, I was lucky…” just because I feel that is what people (meaning women who have given birth) around me need to hear for whatever reason. I was fortunate that my body and brain worked well together, but the preparation and plans for birth and environment I chose supported a smooth process. I was lucky in this day and age to be exposed to the idea of natural birth as desirable, THAT is something that was up to chance since it’s not the norm around here in most social circles (which gladly I’ve expanded from, to add beautiful circles of birth-loving mamas and supporters).
    Anyways back to the point, I do speak proudly and glowingly of my natural birth, but I find myself quick to tone it down when I’m not speaking to someone else who is not on the same page. Bleh.

  10. Sarah says:

    Oh, but we DO get medals-maybe not shiny gold, round metals, but soft, squishy ones with 4 appendages! We get the best medals of all at the end our birth marathons!
    I got a lot of “Yeah, good luck with that!” when I spoke of wanting a natural birth with my first. Since then, I have had 3 natural births, the last one born at home.

  11. heather says:

    I wish more people really understood this. My first birth felt like something that happened to me instead of something I did. With my second I had ideas but I caved on things that were important to me and I regretted it. So I had my last two out of the hospital with people who were there to support me not control and work on me like I’m a faulty car. My third birth was a water birth and one of the best experiences of my life and a much better introduction to the world for my baby.

  12. Jeff says:

    I came to this site looking for a medal. My wife is planning a natural birth for our daughter in May. One of my wife’s friends told her “you don’t get a medal…” I’m determined to find one for her and give her that medal (whether she makes it all the way through, or if for some reason she doesn’t…). I agree – you DO get a medal. If you actually offered medals, I would buy one. Anyway, off to keep looking.


    • Kaitlin says:

      That’s really awesome, Jeff. Thanks for reading this post and commenting. You’re rad. My heart goes out to you and your wife on your journey toward natural childbirth.


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