I receive many letters of support each week and I appreciate each and every one. This writer gave me permission to reprint her story of “recovery” from natural parenting ideology.
Hello, Dr. Amy.
I am a reader of your blog. I have been reading for 4 months now. I wanted to share a story that I was ashamed to write until now. I gave birth 4 months ago and I believed in all this false ideology from the natural birth/attachment parenting groups.
When I got pregnant with my first child it was after infertility so I was very happy. I wanted to do the best I could for my child and I like to learn and read from the internet and other people’s experiences. I read about the attachment parenting community online and that led me to certain false beliefs. Like breast is always best and don’t let your baby cry.
I also came to believe natural birth was better in most cases. It didn’t help that I was deathly afraid of doctors and needles due to a past experience. It was on a credible mainstream birth board so I figured it was honest and true. I also asked several people about experiences and a lot of experienced moms I knew who even gave birth in a hospital fully endorsed my decisions and said “good for you” … .
I chose a birth center because they told me it was between a hospital and home and just as safe as the hospital. I went to all the B.S. meetings and lactivist groups. There were flashes of intuition in my mind what I was doing wasn’t right like I wondered how a big baby would fit through my small pelvis, but, the midwives reassured me that there was no such problem. I also questioned what would happen to an overdue baby once again they said it was okay until 43 weeks.
I was 39 weeks when my labor pains started. I was relieved the labor started before 40 weeks. That night I called the midwife and she said wait for as long as possible at home. Things went bad from there! I got intense pain. Pain so bad I couldn’t do anything. I called again the next morning at 2 am the midwife said you’re fine come in at 6 am. So I did and I was not dilated at all, yet I had an intense night, I had a feeling something was wrong.
Throughout the day I suffered. It kept getting worse, the pain was in my back and was excruciating, nothing like they had described at the birth center. The midwife kept reassuring me. It was nearing night 2 when they finally said come in at 4am. I came to the birth center they said I was 3 centimeters along. I freaked only 3 centimeters I was in labor over 24 hours; they calmed me and said I would be out by noon and to prepare the room and tub.
From 4 am to almost noon I screamed and fainted and puked in agony. No one should have to suffer the torture I went through. What made it worse was the midwife turned verbally abusive sensing her butt was on the line she lied to me and said pain was in my head and that she gave birth just fine… Then she said she had somewhere to go and I was taking too long.
I was about to drown myself in the tub when I had a revelation… [With] the midwife looking at me and saying, “You’re a coward and a bad mother if you give up on your birth experience. Do you want to go to a hospital and get a c section? Do ya? Huh? Do ya?” right in my face, I snapped. I realized … that I didn’t want to be here I was only here due to societal expectations. I am a spiritual person and in that moment I believe God saved my life and my baby’s.
So I looked at my husband, who was in favor of hospital birth and said quietly at first, “something’s wrong. I want to go to the hospital and get an epidural now.” Then I started screaming as I was led out. “I want an epidural! I want to go to the hospital! God save my baby!”
Long story short I made it. Turns out my baby was big for my pelvis. I had a delivery with the vacuum and even then he barely came out. I had an infection then and was in labor for 48 hours plus. Had I waited longer something might have happened like the women whose stories you tell on your blog. I had the courage to stand up in the moment in question and decide 48 hours was enough and that something wasn’t right… I’m glad my sense, with the help and intervention of God, came back just in time. My son was born healthy my hospital experience was amazing, nothing like they said it would be and I am grateful.
I am ashamed to tell this story because I fully take responsibility for my recklessness. I want others to be educated about my experience and that I would do it all differently if I had to do it over although I am kind of traumatized and am not sure I want to have any more kids. Thank you Dr. Amy as I found your blog while crying over what happened a day after and it simultaneously educated me and comforted me of my PTSD of that incident and to know I wasn’t alone in thinking natural birth was a sham and my pain was real. I lost a lot that day, the ability to enjoy my baby, loss of money, time, my trust in others and I would not recommend birth in a birth center to anyone. I would recommend trusting a good doctor and being prepared for any risks.
Since that day I have now debunked many other myths like only breastfeeding is good. (Due to pain from the birth I could not breastfeed, ironic, huh?) And that you have to cater to your baby’s every whim attachment parenting style. I have learned my lesson … I also fully believe God gave us modern medicine not the voodoo that comes from that movement.
So, I made it out safe and so did my baby but just because I did don’t mean I didn’t take a great risk. I share this story to you Dr. Amy and give you full permission to print it anywhere if you wish, just anonymously … I fully appreciate your efforts on your blog.
Humbled about birth