I don’t often watch Loose Women but today a reasonable dissection of the insidious ‘cult of natural childbirth’ which it’s clear still exists in society and unfortunate still in some areas of NHS.
Really grateful they have today publically discussed and exposed the harms of restricting pain relief during labour, and also moralising breastfeeding, in particular to those mums already experiencing anxiety and/or pain.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard from women who then feel a failure for not having the ‘true’ experience if childbirth or doing the ‘best for baby’.
Natural is not always best in so many cases and for so many reasons. The advent of medical care means we have the lowest mortality rates in history.
We also don’t use the phrase ‘unnatural childbirth‘ as interventions vary and have their place in safely delivering babies and often saving lives too. So why the continued focus on ‘natural‘ and resulting lack of education and support around assisted births?
People seem to forget that it’s the mum who needs to be fit and well enough to look after the baby post birth, there are no brownie points for eschewing help during labour or managing without formula either for that matter.
I am aware that I react strongly to all this. My experience of NCT classes was excruciating in more ways than one. When I remember listening to onesided and inaccurate info about the horrors of medical interventions, my memories are tainted further but the pain I was already in during pregnancy, which was already being medically managed.
Then hearing mothers obsess over whether to take a paracetamol for a headache, and later if they should risk trying one bottle of formula, as if it were poison!!
Grrr. Still gets my goat years later. I wouldn’t wish my experience of pregnancy and lack of support perinatally on any new mum.
I have never written about this, it all seemed too difficult to acknoweldge. Part of it is that I do feel cheated, the promise of a pregnancy I can be proud of and a birth I can endure yet enjoy, evaporated months before delivery.
This left me breaking point post-partum as I coped with a slow physical recovery, mental breakdown and a newborn. That time still haunts me still and affects greatly any decisions to have further pregnancies.
I realise I can’t go back and change things. Going forward surely educating medical professionals, childbirth specialist organisations and other social caregivers to primarily help parents to make informed choices without such bias gives all mums the best support during labour and the early years?