I am home again after leaving last Wednesday to head to Orlando, Florida for a training workshop to become a Bradley Method birth instructor. This method of natural childbirth was named after Dr. Bradley who was responsible for getting husbands allowed back in the labor/delivery room with their wives. For women, he gave them a chance to be free of the influence of drugs which makes the delivery process harder and more likely to need medical intervention. Women learned how to relax and work with their bodies so that they and their babies could be alert at the birth and start bonding and breast feeding immediately.
I still have to finish up my academic requirements, but should be sending in my completed course work by the end of the week. I am excited to start teaching, especially because I think many men take a back seat to the mom once she becomes pregnant. Mom gets all the attention. But with Dr. Bradley's approach, the husband gets trained as the coach. The husband becomes a vital partner in the process. Personally, I don't know how I would have gotten through my first birth without David's help. He provided counter pressure for my back labor and helped me relax muscles I hadn't realized I had tensed up. But with his help coaching me, I was able to labor rather than be in pain. It was absolutely hard work, but not painful. Through the thorough education on the birth process given in Bradley classes, David never had to worry or wonder what was going on. He could recognize the emotional signposts of each stage and be prepared for what lay ahead.
We watched many, many birth videos over the weekend and it was very frustrating to realize that the majority of women don't realize that their birth will be much less painful if they choose to have a natural childbirth. (preparing for it, of course! You would take swimming lessons before you jumped into a swimming pool, so you should equally prepare to give birth!) On my plane home yesterday, I was talking with the passenger next to me. He and his wife are expecting their second baby next month. His wife had an epidural with the first and had to have her pancreas removed due to complications from the epidural. He said that afterwards, they researched it and it turns out that it is not that unusual, but "they don't tell you that before you have it." So I asked him what they were going to do with this birth. He said she was planning on having the epidural again.
Jamie Oliver may be having a "Food Revolution" but we need to have a "Natural Childbirth Revolution." What most women know about giving birth is what you see on t.v. or in the movies and that is mostly women screaming in pain and wanting their drugs NOW! Those of us who have had unmedicated natural births need to get the word out that there is an alternative to drugs and elective cesareans. If you see a pregnant mom, be sure to share your story with her. If they don't know, they can't choose. And last time I checked, a lot of people in this country are very concerned with women having a choice when it comes to their reproductive health. That choice should be between natural birth and medicated, not just which cocktail of medications will they be taking during labor.