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To cringe at this article (free natural birth)

(162 Posts)
boogiewoogie Sun 12-Jul-09 16:47:28

I couldn't help but feel envy but also sad when I read this article.

For a start, whilst sexual intercourse is often a necessary prerequisite although not always for birth to take place, giving birth itself is not a sexual experience!

She also says that a free birth is an open celebration of love and understanding but surely there are other ways and isn't having a child that has been conceived through love a celebration itself?

At the end she says that she has a fantastic relationship with this child and that it is different from her first therefor implying that her relationship with the first is inferior.

Am I also being naive in thinking that birth plans do not always go as planned? Okay, perhaps some of this is probably sour grapes but I am happy with the natural births that I had as they required little assistance.

The birth of course should be a pleasant experience and whilst it is nice to hear that she has had an amazing experience given her first birth, I just feel that a lot of women already feel stigmatised for having C sections and that articles such as this puts a lot of pressure on mothers to have a certain type of birth amongst other things to be a "model parent" whatever that may be.

flamingobingo Sun 12-Jul-09 16:57:43

YABU - it sounds lovely and that it went well. Should people not tell people about alternative ways of doing things just in case it might upset someone? How else would anyone ever learn that they don't have to do what the HCPs tell them to if no one ever said so?

It's not about not having c-sections, it's about being in charge of your body, your baby and your birth.

violethill Sun 12-Jul-09 16:58:19

What a load of self indulgent claptrap! Sexual experience my arse!

When you take out all the gush and fluff, what it boils down to is that she had a natural second birth, without drugs. Well, whoopie doo, so do lots of us, and some of do it first time around too! The idea of doing it without a midwife is bizarre IMO, but a natural birth in itself is hardly big news.

I find the most disturbing thing is the comment at the end, suggesting that her relationship with her first dd has suffered due to the birth experience.

PrincessToadstool Sun 12-Jul-09 17:05:02

Do you really think an article like that puts pressure on women?

I think the majority would see her as irresponsible to shun any medical support, even an independent midwife and/or doula in the next room - I don't think freebirthing gets much support as a concept.

Lulumama Sun 12-Jul-09 17:11:21

i don;t like the school of thought that tries to shut down discussion of vaginal birth/water birth/home birth/ free birth / trauma free/ orgasmic birth in case it upsets anyone who has had a far from ideal or traumatic birth or unwatned c.section or homebirht that ended in a transfer in.

these articles do not put pressue on mothers to have a certain type of birth.. free birthing - which is not something i agree with - accounts for a tiny %age of births.

the article is a tiny bit smug/self satisfied.. but she achieved in her mind her perfect birth and she is delighted with that

it is not the sort of birth that would suit everyone , and indeed most people would not attempt a free birth.

for some women, birth is sexual. have a google of orgasmic birth.

oxytocin is released by orgasm and it is integral to labour and breastfeeding

sex and birth are linked

sabire Sun 12-Jul-09 17:11:57


Her birth is whatever she believes it to be. Her experience. Not yours.

And she's not alone in seeing birth as a psychosexual event. Try googling 'orgasmic birth' and you'll see that other women have had similar experiences.

As for the birth experience affecting a woman's relationship with her child - it's well known that women who have very difficult births are more likely to have PTSD and PND, both of which things can impact on their relationship with their baby. Why shouldn't it be the case that a very positive birth has the opposite effect?

violethill Sun 12-Jul-09 17:14:56

I think you make some fair points there Lulu, and I know from previous posts that you have a lot of knowledge on these matters.
And from my posts, you'll know that I am very pro-natural birth, so i have no particular axe to grind there.

I think what irritates me is the smugness though. She had a bad experience first time round, and then gave birth naturally, and seems to be trying to shove it down our throats. It just doesn't seem such a great deal to me. Loads of us give birth naturally first time around (far more painful than subsequent births too!) and don't feel the need to indulge in this sort of thing.

boogiewoogie Sun 12-Jul-09 17:16:36

I am not criticising her choice of the type of birth she had.

I just don't agree that birth should be compared to sex and that I feel sorry for her first child.

flamingobingo Sun 12-Jul-09 17:18:02

It doesn't seem a big deal to you, violet, but it clearly is to this mother.

I had four fantastic births, on paper - all home waterbirths. DD2's was very traumatic, though, for me, for various reasons, despite looking like 'the perfect birth'.

Experiences are different for everyone and how we feel about them should be respected IMHO, not moaned about for differing from someone else's feelings about similar experiences.

Lulumama Sun 12-Jul-09 17:19:29

i do remember that evangelical urge after i had dd to tell everyone, but everyone about the deliver.. becasue it was so different and so much better than with DS. i probably would have done a magazine article about VBAC if asked, that probably would have have come across as smug. luckily, i found a channel for my positivity ( doula-ing)

flamingobingo Sun 12-Jul-09 17:19:41

Birth is very like sex in very many ways, so she's not wrong about that at all.

And she probably feels sorry for her first child too - I doubt very much that she has chosen to find it harder having the sort of relationship with her that she has with her second DD.

violethill Sun 12-Jul-09 17:24:57

I think that's a good point lulu. You found a positive channel, and are able to utilise that experience for others' benefit. This article seems pure self indulgence to me. Maybe we've all just had too much of this kind of soul-bearing stuff rammed down our throats in the papers over the last few years. Maybe she should have written the article and put it away in her bedside drawer, as a kind of cathartic experience.

Of course, it's great that she had a good experience, I'm just not sure of her motives in wanting to tell us all, it seems unbearably smug to me, and I also find that last comment about her relationship with her first child very sad. Yes, I know birth experience can contribute to PND, and affect relationships etc, but that's a serious issue worthy of proper discussion. If she had centred the article on that, and remained anonymous for her dd's sake, I'd be more interested. Instead, she raves about her natural birth, and then drops in at the end that 'of course, her relationship with the second child is so much better' hmm

saintlydamemrsturnip Sun 12-Jul-09 17:25:13

What on earth possessed her to write this:

"Ophelia – who is now 14 months old – and I have a fantastic relationship; it's amazing how different it is to the one I have with Aurora, who is now five years old."

I mean did that need to be said? The birth experience could have been shared openly (and it does sound good- nice for them etc etc) and she could have had therapy for her relationship with Aurora, but to say that in a national newspaper is cruel imo. Poor kid.

boogiewoogie Sun 12-Jul-09 17:25:51

You will find flamingo that it's a matter of opinion, you can compare many things with sex even if it's an inanimate object.

Surely by having something like this in the public domain, then one is entitled to have whatever opinion they feel whether anyone else agrees or not and obviously not everyone agrees with me but I'm not going to attempt to convince them otherwise.

HollyBunda Sun 12-Jul-09 17:26:16


why shouldn't she be able to tell her story?
Are only women who have more difficult births allowed to write about their experiences?

saintlydamemrsturnip Sun 12-Jul-09 17:26:31

I mean I'm sorry but that one comment is enough to send Aurora into therapy for years. In a national newspaper. Dear God.

flamingobingo Sun 12-Jul-09 17:28:09

Ok, both events require the same hormones to be released. Both events work best when done in private, in darkened rooms, in an environment that feels safe.

Sorry, but it's not just a matter of opinion, it's a well documented biological link.

violethill Sun 12-Jul-09 17:28:55

Exactly saintly. She hasn't considered her children's perspective at all, which is what I meant by self indulgent.

As much as I personally thinks she is bonkers I do believe that everyone should be able to share their birth stories and I don't particularly find her tone smug. However I think she is complete bitch for typing that last line about her relationship with her first daughter, just for that she should be pelted with rotten tomatoes.

flamingobingo Sun 12-Jul-09 17:30:15

And, yes, I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that she has completely violated her children's privacy. That is the really awful thing about this article.

tbh violating your childrens privacy seems to be the fashion at the moment....

saintlydamemrsturnip Sun 12-Jul-09 17:33:22

I quite like birth stories (3 c-sections- 2 disastrous labours but am fascinated by this sort of story- met someone who free-birthed alone- no-one else present at all and it had clearly been very liberating for her), so I don't mind what she is saying about the birth, but I can't understand why she would do that to her elder daughter and think it OK to say that about her relationship. It really is the sort of thing which can have lifelong consequences and needs to be dealt with without the child ever having an inkling.

saintlydamemrsturnip Sun 12-Jul-09 17:34:21

Oh not denying people have those feelings, if you have them you have them, but you don't need to plaster it in a national newspaper for everyone (including your daughter) to read.

Lulumama Sun 12-Jul-09 17:34:24

agree that the kind of birth can affect initial bonding etc... but the way this is written sounds much much worse

wonder if it was edited to read like that....

boogiewoogie Sun 12-Jul-09 17:34:37

The same hormones are also released for breastfeeding but I for one do not want to consider it a sexual experience although I know that others do but that's another debate.

You're not going to convince me about the birth/sex thing. Yes, I know about orgasmic births and believe it or not, sex is what triggered ds's birth for me but for me the actual birth is not sexual.

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