Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Caution: may offend on multiple levels.

"scrape... scrape... scrape... bump" Soapbox now in place... "Thump thump" I climb on.

So there's this monthly magazine of sorts that gets placed by the bulletins at my church. It's called Faith for All of Life. Now I have no idea who decided this was a quality publication for our church members to read. I have no idea if anyone reads it ahead of time. I just know it's been there ever since we started attending.

After a few months, we started picking it up just to critique the articles.

That's horrible, I know. But it's the only use we could find for it. We don't have a fireplace.

Basically, it seems to make a saint out of this fellow named Rushdooney. He is/was apparently a theologian. Neither the Mechanic nor I had ever heard of him prior to coming to this church. So why he gets an entire magazine devoted to him every month, in which every article must quote something he said, I will never know.

This magazine features a lot of articles about a variety of subjects. I don't tend to read the purely theological ones. I'm not comfortable enough with theology to pick out the good from the bad, but based on the articles that I do understand I don't want this person's ideas to impact my beliefs. There are quite a few articles about training children. Read: home schooling. We purposely did not go to the church that implied home schooling was the only acceptable method of training your children. There is a reason for that. So of course we have problems with these articles. There are quite a few articles about the USA and politics/constitution/regaining America. Read: America was a Christian nation and must be re-made into one. The articles make statements implying that we should act like a theocracy. The problem is, we're not one! I believe in a recent edition a statement was made that we must make people act like Christians even though they're not Christians. Not sure where in the Bible they got that idea... Once again, we're not a theocracy.

Shortly after Ladybug was born, there was a two-part article concerning childbirth. After all, the title is, Faith for all of Life. Childbirth is part of life. I have no problem with a theological magazine discussing this subject. But not how this magazine handled it. This was offensive. This was offensive to every woman in that church who has had a child by c-section. Basically, the article stated that women who have c-sections can not bond with and love their child like someone who has an unmedicated natural birth. And ultimately, the article implied that I am a lesser Christian because I did not have a natural birth. They also did not put much in the way of a medical necessity disclaimer, which might have taken the offensive edge off.

Let me tell you. The fact that I did not push my child out my vagina does not mean I love her any less than if I had. We bonded just fine, thank you very much. I love her plenty. I care for her. I would protect her. Don't you dare have the nerve to tell me that I don't love my child as much as the woman who had her child at home, simply because my oxytocin came from an IV bag instead of my own body.

I watched The Business of Being Born, a documentary filmed in NYC. This contrasts the hospital birth that is so common now against births attended by a midwife, either at home or at a birth center. I believe the lady who wrote those articles previously mentioned must have watched it too. Or, she read similar literature. Because, sure enough, a doctor is quoted as saying "where would the world be without love?" At the end of a long discourse about how oxytocin is the hormone of love and bonding, and it is what causes mammals to bond and protect and care for their helpless newborn. About how Pitocin (artificial oxytocin given through an IV) acts differently in the brain than natural oxytocin produced by your body. Basically he's saying, women who are induced and fully medicated, or women who have a c-section, do not love their child the same way a woman who pushes them out her vagina does.

Okay. There are so many flaws with this argument. The first being, how do you quantify love??? You are saying that birth-at-home mom loves her kids more than I do mine? Loves them better? How are you measuring this? So I didn't scream "oh my God" when my child was pulled out of me like they did when the head came out their privates. That means I don't love her like they do? So I didn't agonize for hours in pain before birthing my child? So does that mean the women who went through 36 hours of labor loves her child more than the woman who labored for 6 hours?

Have they done studies showing higher rates of abuse for c-section babies? Have they done studies showing poorer school performance? Have they shown more cases of failure to thrive? Abandonment? Drug use among mothers? How are they proving that having a c-section affects the relationship between mother and child? So the mother who gave birth at home can scream "I gave birth to you! I labored for 36 hours with you so you will mind me!" That's going to be more effective than me screaming "they cut my stomach open to get you out! I stood up and felt like my guts were going to hit the floor! You wanna see the scar? You will mind me!" Yeah...

I believe the best method of birth is natural. I think it's best for mom. I think it's best for baby. In MOST situations. NOT ALL. Some moms can't bond with their child after going through that much pain... they look at it initially as the cause. It happens. Some moms have multiples that can't safely be delivered naturally. Some moms have breech babies. Some moms have diabetes and therefore large babies that are likely to be injured in a natural birth.

Here's the other thing. They quote all these numbers about the rise of c-sections, fall of home births, and say that we must believe in the woman's body and ability to do this. Women have done it for years. True. BUT. And I'm not going off any scientific study here, this is purely an observation and my opinion. I believe God works through nature. There are infertile women. There are women who have great difficulty getting pregnant. I know, I know... it's not always the women's fault. That's fine. But what I question is this: what's the likelyhood that those who can't get pregnant on their own, can't give birth naturally either? I'd like to see stats on C-sections for those who had IVF, or fertility drugs. I'm not saying that women who need fertility drugs or IVF shouldn't be having babies; that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm simply saying that we are assisting women who normally couldn't have children, to have children. And their inability to conceive just might be tied to their inability to give birth naturally. I think God works like that when He created us; I think he did the same with the animals.

I missed out. I will never experience the "orgasm-like" feeling that those women experience during childbirth. I will never get that feeling of "I did this, I can do anything" the midwives talk about. Do I regret it? Depends on exactly what you mean. Do I regret having diabetes? Yes. I wish I had taken better care of myself over the years and maybe it could have been avoided. Do I regret not being physically capable of delivering an 9lb baby (cause that's what they were predicting)? No... I don't know if I was physically capable or not. I can't regret what I don't know. Do I regret not trying? A little. Maybe I could have done it. But, do I regret my decision? NO. I do not. I chose to have my baby in the safest manner possible, for the baby. Not safest for me. Safest for my baby. Who is asleep in the swing next to me as we speak. If I had tried... the induced contractions might have been too much for her and her heart rate and O2 might have dropped. She might have gotten stuck and had to have her arm broken or shoulder dislocated to get her out. She might have pooped in the canal and inhaled meconium and gotten pneumonia. She might have been fine. It wasn't worth the risk to me.

If I had had a complication-free pregnancy and if my baby was measuring between 5-8 pounds, I'd have gone for it vaginally. But that wasn't my situation. It's not a lot of women's situation. Don't tell a woman that she doesn't love her child as much as another mother because of the way she gave birth. Don't make it into a spiritual matter when it's not one. You trust God to take care of you and your baby. And you trust Him to give you and the doctors brains to figure out the best way to do that.

*stepping down from my soapbox*

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