Some people have lists of things to do before they die: travel to India, complete a triathlon, make an appearance on an NPR show...I am one of those people. In fact, the above items might be on my own list of things to do before I die. Also on my list--item #3.2--is the following: "Give birth naturally." Yes, it's true: for all my cynical talk about natural childbirth, and all the acclaim I give the Holy Epidural (blessed be its named forever), I must confess that I really, really want to experience a drug-free birthing.
I want this for a number of reasons: First, it seems like a neat way to connect with my own womanhood as well as with the billions of women--from all time periods, from all cultures, from all belief systems; big, small, medium, ugly, beautiful, and in-between-- who have borne children. Second, I like to do hard things. Third-- well, maybe I should move to a new paragraph for the third reason...
Third, I feel that the way that pregnancy and childbirth have been medicalized in this country is ridiculous. I'm not going to go so far as to say that the "medical model of childbirth" is a horrible thing, or that it's doing irreparable damage to women or babies, but I do believe that it has overly complicated a simple and natural process, and that it does harm women and newborn infants to some degree on a regular basis. Many unnecessary C-sections are performed every year because of medical interventions that complicate labor and delivery...and because of medical personnel who are impatient with some people's naturally slower birth processes. (Click here for more information about rising Cesarean section rates in the United States.)
But, anyway, I bring this all up to make a confession that I find a little bit embarrassing: I'm taking a Hypnobabies class. Yes, that's right. I plan to use self-hypnosis to eliminate/reduce any birthing-related "discomfort" (I'm not allowed to use the "p" word that rhymes with "rain") and speed along my beeaauutiiiifulll (this is the way the lady on my CD set says it) "birthing time" (I'm also not supposed to use the "l" word that rhymes with "neighbor.") Less parenthetically, I'm learning techniques that will help this childbirth experience move along more quickly and comfortably.
Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I'm still a little skeptical about the whole thing, which bothers me. I feel that there is no room for skepticism when you're using your brain to alter your physical sensations. But take last night, for instance: I was sitting in the passenger's seat on the way back from a drive to SLC. I was tired, which means that my RLS was making my feet all twitchy and crazy, and my back was really bothering me. I thought to myself: "I know! I'll just use my hypnobirthing techniques to "breathe" my "powerful anesthesia" to the parts of my body that are uncomfortable! If I anesthetize my feet/back, I won't twitch/ache anymore!" So I tried breathing that powerful anesthesia, but my feet still twitched and my back still ached. This made me a little bit sad. It made me feel that I maybe should have saved the $140.00 I spent on the course and just put it toward an epidural.
Beautiful Birthing Time, here I come? I sure hope so.