Motherhood has humbled me in a million ways. All jump-started by the day my son was born – the most humbling experience of all.
I definitely had a plan for his birth. I had seen all the documentaries and read all of the literature. I believed it all. I knew that New York City had a pretty high c-section rate. I was prepared to go into battle and fight for my right to a natural birth.
In the months leading up to son’s birth, I became a self-proclaimed natural birth advocate. I tried to impart my knowledge on any pregnant woman who would listen. I believed that women everywhere were being duped into not having the births of their choice, and I wanted to do my part to turn the tides. I preached endlessly about refusing an epidural, delayed cord-cutting, the negative effects of pitocin. I longed for a home birth. If I hadn’t happened to live above a really loud bar on a main street in Brooklyn – I probably would have planned for one.
I thought the women who expressed no desire to go for the natural birth experience were selfish and uninformed. Don’t you know this is best for your baby? If you’re not willing to experience some pain for the benefit of your child, what kind of mother will you be? Those were real thoughts that were actually swimming around my head. I wasn’t even a mother yet, I hadn’t even experienced giving birth — yet I was still so comfortable judging everyone around me.
I left the gynecologist that I loved in favor of a midwife. I was certain that he was a part of the “establishment” and if I left my birth in his hands it would end up rushed and surgical. I opted instead for the only free-standing birthing center in Brooklyn and put a faith (that I refused to place in a doctor who knew me) in some midwives I had never met.
We took hypnobirthing classes and configured a birth plan just in case we ended up in a hospital. I would be refusing the epidural, insisting that I be able to move around the room, demanding delayed cord-cutting and refusing inductions of any kind. We were ready for everything.