Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birth is Not to be Trusted

It's just not. That's what I've learned. It's not society, it's not culture, it's not hospitals and eeeevil doctors, it's not a lack of support or education that ruins our births for us... its birth that ruins birth for us. Period. Birth sucks and it will kick your ass, and potentially kill you or your baby, and that's just how it is. Birth doesn't care. Birth can get away with killing many many many babies and women because there are many many many more to take your place. It's all the same to Birth.

Same for breastfeeding. None of these booby traps made breastfeeding suck for me. Breastfeeding made breastfeeding suck. There is no one to rail against because I had thrush and pain and misery and blocked ducts and all manner of suckiness associated with breastfeeding.

Nature and natural childbirth without drugs or outside help is a religion for these women. These processes are their god. To call these into question is blasphemy. That is the problem - that is the source of all the mommy tension in the crunchy/uncrunchy dynamic. Problems are someone's fault. Nearly without exception. If you're not experiencing the divine joy that is crunchiness, you're doing it wrong. Or, more generously, your support system or your culture is failing you. Couldn't possibly be that complications happen all the time in childbirth. Couldn't possibly be that - newsflash - breastfeeding actually DOES hurt for some women, despite a good latch...

What I've learned is that even though I wanted a natural birth, what I wanted MORE was a healthy baby, and that trumps everything. I did not blindly follow the religion of crunch so fastidiously that it kept me from the hospital when I needed it. Other women seem so willing to sacrifice their children on this altar, and I don't understand it. Their children die and they continue to worship. Others have children die and they see the light. So tragic. I'm glad my baby is here and healthy, and I cannot continue in a cult that would blame the people that helped me get him here that way....

However, thank god for the crunchy community because, honestly, without them I don't know that I would have felt brave enough to even get pregnant and go through all this to begin with. They made me believe it would be OK, that it would even be beautiful, pleasurable even. I wouldn't have to step foot in a cold, sterile nasty hospital. I was so convinced... I was wrong, but I believed so strongly. But this was one error that was rewarded with a beautiful, strong, silly baby who is the light of my life. And even though I now know the reality of birth, I also know that its worth it. And I'll do it again. Next time without naivete, and without misplaced fears.