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to think that the 'positive birth' movement has gone too far?

(28 Posts)
Scoutingaround1789 Wed 24-Apr-19 14:57:09

Had a baby last year, was your typical induction-failure to progress-EMCS story. However me and baby ok, I felt well looked after by staff. I did read about hypnobirthing etc and followed 'positive birth' groups on instagram and facebook, but I was very realistic about how birth could go and wasn't fixated on a particular plan. Look back on the birth of my baby positively, but don't think about it that much. It was just one day.

I haven't unfollowed all these groups (yet!) but I was reading some of the birth stories/articles that they were posting a few days ago and I felt really...well, irritated. This idea that you can have an 'empowering birth' that 'how you give birth is the start of how you mother' (if that's true, oh dear, I was off my face on drugs)...isn't this becoming a little...narcissistic? Posting photos of you breathing calmly in your birthing pool...'just gas and air!' comments etc... I mean, why did you get pregnant, to have a baby or to have a birth experience?!?

I mean look - obviously women should be well cared for and I am not saying we should go back to the 1950s where episiotomies were routinely given, women had little to no say etc...just that this whole social media/childbirth aspect feels very uncomfortable for me, and I worry will have a damaging impact on pregnant women approaching labour.

umberellaonesie Wed 24-Apr-19 15:01:45

I think it feels a bit much because it has to be to counter act the fear and terror that is peddled about childbirth.
A positive birth experience is everything from yours to the gas and air water birth. The important thing is that woman feel they had a positive transition to motherhood. For me that means they feel safe, listened to and supported appropriately. That's what a positive birth is not how they baby left your body.

Cbatothinkofaname Wed 24-Apr-19 15:05:39

Probably best to unfollow those groups then. You must have followed them because you were interested though...
Don’t sweat it, stay off those groups and let them talk about it
FWIW I had a natural birth and I found it amazing and yes it was empowering because I’d never have believed what my body could do. But this was in the days before social media which was perhaps a good thing!

laurG Wed 24-Apr-19 15:25:51

It depends how ‘positive’ birth is interpreted. A lot of the positive birth stuff is about taking the fear out of birth which is a good thing. We hear a lot of horror stories about labour but positive experiences are harder to find. The better parts of the movement focus on educating women on what happens during birth, how to stay calm and relax during both birth and pregnancy and are very clear that you cannot control the sort of birth you get. They will not say that you can breath your way out of a c section or that tears are your fault for not finding the right position!

The problem is that more damaging elements of the movement frame pain relief free, natural births as the be all and end all. They try to insinuate that you can get this if you just try hard enough. This is of course rubbish!

I only had gas and air but only because there was no time for pain relief and because I had a very straight forward delivery. I’m not super tough! I’d say my friend who went through three days of stop start labour, an epidural followed by a section is a lot tougher.

outpinked Wed 24-Apr-19 15:29:49

The thing is, absolutely no one gives a fuck how you gave birth and it really doesn’t matter once your child is older anyway. No one turns to their Mum as an adult to ask for their birth story, it’s just not relevant in anyone’s life. The main thing is both Mum and baby make it out alive and well, that is truly all that matters.

I’ve had varying birth experiences from traumatic to calm and serene. The best one was the ELCS by far, if I had another child I’d definitely opt to have another CS.

Prequelle Wed 24-Apr-19 15:30:11

I would like a show like One Born Every Minute but what shows the actual realities of birth. They make it look very easy on there. They don't show women begging to be taken outside and shot, they don't show women in crazy transition period trying to get up saying they've decided they've not had a baby, they don't show most things that make labour what it is for a lot of women; an undignified brutal affair that we were not made to do - contrary to belief - because we have not evolved in line with the babies we carry. Some women have lovely births and im always so pleased but the reality for many women is not like that. And we don't talk enough about what comes afterwards. How many urinary and faecal incontinence clinics are jam packed with women post birth.

Honeybee85 Wed 24-Apr-19 15:36:40

I understand what you mean.

I am currently pregnant and I feel that this whole positive birth movement is putting pressure on me, and that I should make a birthplan which has to go my way from a to z otherwise my boundaries are not respected, I didnt have the experience I deserved etc. Like its a spa day instead of a major medical ‘thing’.

I do think we shouldnt go back to the 50’s mentality as a PP mentioned but this pressure to be 100% in control and have a great experience also can be stressful to some women.

Foxmuffin Wed 24-Apr-19 15:36:45

I think it’s a bit like the formula vs breast debate that goes on.

I would have loved a totally natural birth but needed some assistance and am so disappointed I didn’t get the full birth experience and was totally out of it. Nothing empowering for me!

Crunchymum Wed 24-Apr-19 15:59:29

Its not just the positive birth, its the whole "fourth trimester" narrative that upsets me as this doesn't account for women who have neonates.

Having a neonate is one of the most frightening, lonely, emotional times a parent can face and the extra guilt of not being able to BF / baby wear / have constant skin to skin / bond naturally makes me feel a bit ragey.

I don't like anything too rigid or prescriptive. You birth how you birth and you parent how you parent.

PregnantSea Wed 24-Apr-19 23:16:34

I don't really care how I give birth. I honestly never think about it. I'm so anxious about my baby being safe that I honestly don't care how I give birth. As long as we're both alive and safe at the end of it then I'll be very happy.

ZippyBungleandGeorge Wed 24-Apr-19 23:25:12

I always said birth is just a means to an end and if DH could've done it I would let made him. I was upfront about wanting drugs/epidurals etc and that it was not fun. Some people have been shocked about the blunt way I will respond to questions about my labour, but I think the most positive thing we can do for ourselves and our women is to be honest. Childbirth is ugly, painful and not suitable for Instagram, the way you give birth has no bearing on anything else.

MimiSunshine Wed 24-Apr-19 23:26:23

I dont understand what your issue with it is?

Do you not believe in the ‘idea you can feel empowered by birth’ or do you feel they are saying it’s only possible if you deliver in one certain way?

If the former well I’ve delivered two babies and not had a drop of pain relief (including gas & air) for both. Using just hypnobirthing to support me and I can tell you, I felt like an absolute warrior afterwards.

I still feel immensely proud of myself for it and don’t think that makes me a narcissist.

Anyone woman who goes through pregnancy and delivers a baby should feel the same way too in my eyes because it’s a tough experience no matter how baby gets here and the start of just another set of challenges and hopefully proud moments to come for the rest of their lives

Marchinupandownagain Wed 24-Apr-19 23:28:03

DSes are 28 and 30. Honestly, this is nothing new, it's all social media puffed now though instead of just at NCT competitive coffee mornings.

Ohyesiam Wed 24-Apr-19 23:30:05

Neonate means new born baby

ZippyBungleandGeorge Wed 24-Apr-19 23:35:27

NCT competitive coffee mornings.
After droning on about her doula and spiritual life coach a woman I met at NCT finally asked me about my 'giving life plan' (not a joke). I told her I wanted as many drugs as I could be given without the medical staff being struck off, a hospital bed with doctors available and that I'd be quite happy to have a general anaesthetic if it was medically possible, as I didn't fancy sitting around in a luke warm paddling pool humming to myself, I just wanted the baby out quickly and safely. I was pretty hormonal and really struggling with pelvic tendon injury and still working full time, she really got my goat.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Wed 24-Apr-19 23:42:54

Doesn't neonate just mean newborn? Do you mean a premie?

Tbh I agree with the very first poster. It is trying to counteract a very powerful narrative. Yes birth hurts for most women. Yes it can go wrong.

But the way that birth is done in most UK hospitals is basically designed to maximise the pain and fear of it. Strangers in the room, bright lights, people coming in without warning, no room to move and get into different positions, procedures done without consent, invasive procedures pushed "just in case" like labouring with a cannula in...... the tension was really palpable during my hospital births and it definitely affects labour negatively.

Crunchymum Wed 24-Apr-19 23:44:11

@Ohyesiam. Apologies for my misuse of the word neonate.

Just to clarify I meant I had a baby who was in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Is that better???

Tolleshunt Wed 24-Apr-19 23:46:08

Women are entitled to feel however they do about their own births, I just wish it hadn't become yet another thing to compete about on social media.

harper30 Wed 24-Apr-19 23:46:51

I still don't get why anyone gives a shit.

Every birth is different, every baby and woman is different.

If you don't like the whole 'empowering birth' thing on social media unfollow it all. Honestly why does anyone give a fuck about how anyone else gave birth, or fed their baby, or raised their child, it's mental.

Like someone else said, women have been having these same bullshit conversations forever, since before social media came along and made it worse. Why don't we all give it a fucking rest.

Prequelle Wed 24-Apr-19 23:50:03

I think there's a vicious circle of 'giving a shit'. Some people give a shit so much it creates unnecessary social expectations on others, and then it's hard for them not to give a shit because they're bombarded by it and tbh especially for first time mums it's a scary time and they're trying to seek information but end up with the same shite being thrown at them.

Jasging Wed 24-Apr-19 23:52:32

I have had two natural apparently medically uncomplicated births. Both fucking horrendous. Nothing empowering about them at all. People talk utter shit.

Prequelle Thu 25-Apr-19 00:08:24

I might have to have a c section as I have previously had a condition that can be exacerbated in labour and if it happens there's a 40% mortality rate. I've still had people say a c section is cheating.

Moralitym1n1 Thu 25-Apr-19 00:35:00

Competitive birthing - they can fk right off.

NameChangedNoImagination Thu 25-Apr-19 00:40:37

It's just another way for women to compare each other and outperform each other and be a better mother than everyone else. It does not matter one bit how you have the baby.

Mary112 Thu 25-Apr-19 00:49:59

I have 5 healthy children. All through c sections. Not positive experiences at all. In fact I nearly died with my twins and they nearly did too. I have lost a baby too at 36 wks. Natural birth but still born. As long as baby and mum survive, that's the main thing.
Competition over birth is ridiculous. We would all prefer a calm natural birth. But does work out that way for many.

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