written on April 12, 2015 on The Unassisted Baby
As a natural mother, you already make informed decisions about raising your children. Between cloth diapering, organic foods, breastfeeding, and gentle parenting, you have probably realized there is a lot more to being the mother you want to be than you could have ever dreamed about before having kids. There’s no question that you will be busy taking care of your children for many years to come. But natural mothering begins with birth.
Many first-time mothers don’t give their childbirth experience as much thought as they could. You may have read a certain month-by-month guide to your pregnancy, but that doesn’t really mean you know how you want to bring your baby into this world. But if you really care about your children (and I’m pretty sure you do), then you probably want to give them the best possible start in life.
For doctors and midwives, the predominant goal is to help you deliver your baby safely. And while you want to have a healthy baby, too, you also want to bond with your baby at birth and make a few non-mainstream choices. This might include refusing the Vitamin K shot or giving birth vaginally without the use of an epidural.
If you want to make your own decisions about the process of labor and childbirth, then the easiest way to do this is at home. Unfortunately, midwife-assisted homebirths are still not legal in every state. But did you know that a growing number of women actually choose to give birth unassisted at home? This is a very small trend, but dissatisfaction with the medical system isn’t the only reason for the increase in unassisted births. Many women, including myself, don’t think of birth as a medical event. On the contrary, it’s as natural as conceiving a baby, which doesn’t generally require medical assistance, either.
For me, giving birth at home without any medical professionals present was the most peaceful way to welcome my babies into the world. Compared to giving birth at the hospital and at the birth center, my two unassisted homebirths were amazing. Instead of listening to a doctor or a midwife telling me what to do during labor and birth including when to push, I was able to follow my own instincts and intuition.
Giving birth is and should be very empowering. While your body is meant to give birth, it still feels like a huge accomplishment to do it naturally. After all, it’s not just a walk in the park. Fortunately, your body compensates you for your hard work by supplying you with a huge rush of hormones after you give birth. If the natural process of birth is not interfered with, the emotions can be so intense that you’ll want to do it all over again right away.
The best thing about giving birth at home is that you get to hold your baby skin to skin after birth. It’s the gentlest way for him or her to transition from living inside you to living in our world. Being in the surroundings of your own home also allows you to breastfeed when you and your baby are ready. There is no rush to measure or weigh your newborn baby. Instead, you have time to get to know each other.
After your baby is born, you can birth the placenta when your body is ready to let go. You can cut the cord when it stops pulsating, or you can wait a lot longer (some never cut it at all). You can touch and examine the placenta that your amazing body produced for your baby.
Giving birth at home allows you to slow things down. There’s no reason to go anywhere for a few days or weeks. The longer you can stay at home and rest, the better. You will have plenty of opportunities to introduce your baby to the world. This precious postpartum period is just for you and your family.
I find that there is a connection between how we give birth and how we parent. I now strive to follow my instincts when parenting. I also have more confidence in my ability to make the right decisions for my family. And while I seek out parenting advice at times, I don’t follow it blindly. Ultimately, I am responsible for my children and who they will turn out to be. I now research all my major decisions where before I looked to other mainstream people for advice on what to do.
The good news is that all of the information you’d ever want about giving birth at home can easily be found using your local library and the Internet. Additionally, new resources about unassisted childbirth are propping up, including Facebook groups, new books, and websites. If you want to give birth at home, then you can certainly figure out how to do that. But you have to make the decision first. Most importantly, you have to do your research and have the guts to stand up for what you want for yourself and for your children.
It can be difficult to figure out what kind of mother you want to be until you have a baby. If you’re anything like most mothers I’ve talked to, you’ll end up making some choices for your first child that you later wish you hadn’t. Whether or not you have more than one child, you’ll most certainly grow as a mother over the years. But my wish for you is that you’re able to start the mothering journey off on the right foot. That includes calling the shots at your birth.
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