THURSDAY THOUGHTS

My thoughts on child birth

I was on the phone to Courtney the other night and we were laughing about how people can have such different attitudes towards child birth. There is a world of difference between the hippie town of Byron Bay and inner city Paris!

Here is my theory: for me birth is a bit like a long-haul flight, and what really matters is the destination. Now everyone has different coping mechanisms to flying (just like birth). Some people meditate, some do stretches and drink water, others take a sleeping pill, knock themselves out and wake up at the end of the journey (that would be me)! It is not the most comfortable moment in your life, so you need to do whatever it takes for you personally to get through it. All methods are personal and none are better then the other and the end result really is the same.

I have zero judgement if people want to have an elective C-section or have their other kids attend the natural birth of their sibling. I say whatever rocks your boat and obviously as long as the baby born is safe and healthy, all is good.  Whilst it is important to concentrate on the birth, it is just a journey to meeting the new member (or even members) of your family.

I for one did not realise that with my first daughter. I had taken courses on breathing and labour — but I literally had no idea what to do with my bundle of joy once I was out of the hospital. That was a huge learning curve and it was a challenge I was happy to take on with all the tears and laughter that came with it. But I did learn that what happened after the birth and has been happening for more than 11 years has been so much more important than the birth itself.

Emilie


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Comments (22)

Sofia
March 23, 2017

Exactly what I feel – it’s the day after day with our littles that most matter. Thank you, Emilie, for this post.


Catherine
March 23, 2017

Agree! I’ve just started reading ‘French Kids Don’t Throw Food’ – would love to hear your/anyone’s opinion on it? x


Emilie
March 23, 2017

Here is a funny story about that book. The author is actually a good friend of mine. A few of the stories mentioned are events where I was present at as our girls were in the same playgroup in Paris. I would take this book with the tongue in cheek perspective that I think Pamela intended it to be taken with. I can tell you, French kids are not better or worse than any other kids and I have seen plenty of tantrums around Paris. It is a great read, funny and very well written, but I don’t think it is intended to be a child rearing guide, rather a observation of different cultures.


Catherine
March 24, 2017

Thank you for the reply – funny to hear that you were around while she was writing it! I’m pregnant and have avoided any actual parenting books, but enjoying this one because it is more anecdotal, so a bit easier to digest without being told ‘you must do this!’


Duba
March 23, 2017

“I did learn that what happened after the birth and has been happening for more than 11 years has been so much more important than the birth itself” – everybody who has a healthy child can say that but what about those who had let’s call it bad luck that something went wrong during the birth itself and that everything what has been happening after the birth is the way it is because of the birth itself.


Emilie
March 23, 2017

Duba, you are absolutely right. I was being a bit general in my post. I apologise if this came across as insensitive.


Pauline
March 23, 2017

I could not agree more, thanks for this great post!


Enirak
March 23, 2017

I could not agree more with you especially with the last sentence of your post. Thank you!


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Emily Gunnels
March 23, 2017

So, so true Emilie! My father is an OB-GYN and delivers babies and takes care of women each day, and he tries to remind all of them…especially those that are particularly nervous or have massive birthing plans or who have been given loads of “advice” from friends…that no matter what, everyone gets the same prize in the end!!! What a gift it is to be a mother!


Annie from Brimful
March 23, 2017

Yes. Yes. Yes! Let us be kind to each other, celebrate what’s worth celebrating (a newborn baby!), and appreciate the fact that we have so many options and choices when birthing + raising our children.


Agustina Ge
March 23, 2017

I absolutely agree with you, Emilie! I would not judge how other people choose to give birth as long as it works for them. We are all different, and can have different choices.


MelTown
March 23, 2017

I agree that judgment has no place in childbirth, but I do wish there was more education around the subject so that women can truly make the best informed decision for themselves. I’m speaking from the United States, so maybe it’s less of an issue in other countries, but we have a serious lack of education when it comes to reproduction in general so people often make a choice that they might not if they had more information.


MARISA
March 26, 2017

Yes, absolutely! Zero judgement from me for an elective C-section vs. orgasmic birth, BUT I feel that in the US people are often uninformed of the benefits and risks of different kinds of births. As a general rule, people are not very open to more natural options simply because they are not talked about or because people (not just women) fear childbirth. I think an informed decision is hard to make here, and that there isn’t always a lot of support for different kinds of births. For example, the cascade of other interventions that you may need because of an epidural are very rarely discussed. Sometimes there are long lasting issues because of a traumatic childbirth, so while a healthy child is certainly the most important thing, the mother’s physical and mental well-being is also very important.


Shay
March 23, 2017

I completely agree!

When I gave birth to my daughter in a hospital, my only goal was to keep the noise level low. I wanted a mellow, calm environment. I had an epidural and loved it! I still birthed my child just like non epidural mothers.

I live in Eugene, Oregon. Beautiful hippy, hippy community that thrives on all thing au natural. Giving birth is natural with or without drugs. We live in a time of modern medicine and thank goodness for it. whatever way you choose to give birth is the perfect way!

x Shay


Lina
March 23, 2017

You just made a summary of my experience, although mine is 7 years old. I had envisioned a natural birth and extended breastfeeding… boy has she thought me how to navigate life with its own flow. I ended having an emergency c-section and bottle feed there at week three. When I bottle feed her exclusively for the first time I fell in love with motherhood!


Regina Michael
March 23, 2017

what a perfect statement! nothing more to say…


Anna
March 23, 2017

@Catherine: I read it, some things I agreed with, with other things I did not. I gave it away soon after that and think: forget the book and trust your instincts, you do not need anyone elses confirmation for that. Good luck!

Btw: the only parenting book I would recommend: Alfie Kohn’s “Unconditional parenting: moving from rewards and punishments to love and reason”.


Fiona
March 23, 2017

Thanks a lot, Emilie! This post is so much more grown up than trying to display one’s opinion on this very personal topic as the only one that counts! It’s such a personal choice how to give birth that there is not much of a point in discussing it in public with strangers (maybe unless you are a narcissist).


Lisa
March 24, 2017

Hi emilie! Love this. I had Five c sections. I have a friend who gave birth naturally with no drugs at all at home and was rightfully very proud of herself. However she now has full time
Nannies and is a relapsed coke addict who once slapped her child hard in front of me (We are no longer friends). Yes, be proud of your strength in childbirth.
But don’t think that makes you a wonderful mother!!!
Xo


Nellie
March 24, 2017

Catherine – I have lived in Paris for many, many years and I loved the book. Whenever Anglophones come to visit me in Paris, one of the first things they ask is: “how are the women here so thin?”. The second is: “why are the children so well-behaved?”. I have to say that I am still surprised when the kids in my building politely say “bonjour” to me when we cross each other in the corridors. What I loved most about the book and have found to be very true (in fact, it rather shocked me when I first arrived!) is the relaxed way in which French women approach parenting. The decision to try to fall pregnant and everything after is far more relaxed than among my upper middle-class Anglophone friends. And this seems to lead to a far less judgmental atmosphere.


se7en
March 25, 2017

Would you look at that delightful photograph of all your babies!!! I can’t believe how they have grown and how totally adorable they all are!!!


Mrs D
March 26, 2017

Thank you for writing this post. The birth of your child is an incredibly personal and intimate moment. My friends all have different stories from the amazing, to the traumatic, to the natural, to the ones booked in, to the sad, to the incredibly quick, to the ones that lasted days. I have a friend that lost her father to cancer a few months before her baby was born, after the birth she was simply mentally and physically exhausted that she was ill for a long time yet, I have friends that recovered quickly and also ones it has taken years. My mother delivered me and my 3 siblings in hospital and bottle fed us all. My mother in law home birthed her 3 on a farm and breast fed them all until they were 2. Now as adults, on both sides, we are all pretty well grounded and healthy! I have two children, I hoped my first child would be the amazing natural birth I had hoped it to be, it wasn’t and I felt a failure and incredibly guilty I couldn’t bring him in to the world in the way I had hoped for him. I am obviously over this thought now though and soon realised that the birth doesn’t define me or my children and thankfully I now understand and appreciate all the wonders of raising children.


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