Fed up with natural childbirth

Birth “activists” dominate the conversation about childbirth in the US, giving the erroneous impression that they speak authoritatively and for a large proportion of women. Nothing could be further than the truth.

They dominate the conversation for several reasons. First, birth has a profound hold on their imagination. While most women view birth as a way for the baby growing inside to get outside, there is a small group of women for whom birth has an outsize importance. These “birth junkies” will cheerfully admit to being obsessed with birth, and get a great deal of their apparently limited self-confidence from their belief that giving birth vaginally without pain medication counts as an “achievement.”

Second, the internet and social media have magnified their voices. As in the case of vaccine rejectionism, natural childbirth advocates have created an alternate world where facts are fabricated, scientific evidence is ignored, and there is no context for understanding the information presented because the advocates lack basic knowledge of childbirth, science and statistics.

Third, it is a money making industry. Natural childbirth advocates love to accuse obstetricians of making money from the care of pregnant women. Those accusations generally ignore the current realities of reimbursement for medical care, and grossly exaggerate the purported “economic benefits” to health professionals of childbirth interventions. Meanwhile they carefully neglect to mention that natural childbirth represents 100% of the income of natural childbirth educators, homebirth midwives, and doulas, not to mention natural childbirth authors.

Fourth, they feel compelled to proselytize. It is not enough for a “birth junkie” to have the birth that she desires. YOU must also have the birth that she desires in order for her to feel validated in her choices. And, as is often the case with proselytism, natural childbirth advocates aren’t content with selling the virtues of their beliefs; they feel compelled to criticize everyone else’s beliefs in the strongest possible terms. Birth choices are not simply choices; they represent an epic battle between the forces of the purportedly “educated” and uneducated. They symbolize a conflict between “good” mothers and bad mothers. Perhaps most offensive of all, they are portrayed as a Manichean struggle between those who love their children and those who don’t love them enough.

I, for one, am fed up with the posturings of natural childbirth advocates, and there’s no question that I’m not alone. The vast majority of American women do not subscribe to the central beliefs of the natural childbirth philosophy: that vaginal birth is superior, that epidurals symbolize weakness, and that all women can and should breastfeed their infants for a year or more.

I am fed up with the assertion that vaginal delivery is the only way “real” women give birth.
I am fed up the the claim that C-sections are the avoidable result of not trying hard enough to have a vaginal delivery.
I am fed up with the canard that C-sections are “unnecessareans.”
I am fed up with the belief that pain relief in labor is dangerous and that forgoing pain relief is an achievement.
I am fed up with the claims that labor pain is “good” pain, “pain with purpose” and the remarkably hateful claim that “less pain equals less joy.”
I am fed up the idea that childbirth educators are qualified in any way to give medical advice on any topic.
I am fed up with self-proclaimed natural childbirth “experts” who lack basic understanding of science and statistics.
I am especially fed up with anyone who dares to assert that childbirth choices separate those who love their babies from those who don’t love them enough.

I’ve created the Facebook group Fed up with natural childbirth for “women who don’t need labor pain to feel authentic, don’t need a vaginal delivery to feel like a woman, and don’t need sanctimommies telling them how to feed their babies.”

Join me if you feel the same.