So the other night I watched Knocked Up, which is one of my favorite movies (love Katherine Heigl, she’s so sweet and girl-next-door) and saw the birth scene through new eyes! I realized how much of what I thought I knew about childbirth was based on TV. And I can’t believe I just admitted that to the blogosphere! But since really digging into the options available and making decisions about what I hope to have in a birth, I’ve realized how much my thoughts have changed. Now for years I’ve watched A Baby Story, 18 Kids and Counting, Knocked Up, Four Christmases, and all manner of birth-related productions that present childbirth in one light or another. And I was a rapt student. Thanks to Hollywood and popular culture, here is what I had ’learned’.
Natural Birth: The choice of masochists, women who don’t shave their armpits and have children named Moon Flower, and optimistic first-time mothers who don’t know any better. The first-time mothers will see the optimism wear thin once labor really gets rolling (when its too late for an epidural) and have to endure labor screaming and writhing. The women who are lucky enough to get an epidural in time are so relieved to have escaped the horrors of natural birth. Those who claim to have had a pleasant birth through water birth, hypnobirth, or orgasmic birth are lying. These are also the people who may do weird things with the placenta.
Birth with Epidural: This is the smart woman’s choice. This is what she does for the second birth, after going through the above ‘Natural Birth’. However these are not foolproof because lazy anesthesiologists will occasionally be unable to arrive in time, and despite threats to be strung up by their testicles (because the anesthesiologist is inevitably male) some women are forced to endure the horrors of a natural childbirth without the lifeline that is the epidural. This is the normal birth, and the messiah that is the epidural should never be disrespected.
C-Section (Emergent): These are completely normal, and happen all. the. time. And the doctor always knows best. So if you’re induced, had your membranes ruptured, and the birth isn’t progressing, resisting a C-Section is your failure as a mother and not because the doctor pushed interventions unnecessarily!
C-Section (Planned): This is the choice of the truly enlightened woman, the Real Housewives of Orange County type who view pregnancy as an invasion of their body. The term too posh to push (I laughed hysterically upon finding out what that meant) is used by their detractors, those who don’t understand how wonderfully convenient a C-Section can be. Besides, the surgical pain is just a pre-cursor to the pain of the tummy tuck they’ll be having soon after the birth anyway. This view is alternately applauded and viewed with contempt by the Epidural mothers, seen as a cop-out to some, as the woman’s right to others.
Now obviously this is sarcasm, but this is what I knew about childbirth thanks to popular culture….what about you?