Mainstream Transformation

By Becky Sherman

When I look back at myself four years ago, I am unrecognizable. If asked about natural childbirth and breastfeeding, I would have said it was not for me. After all, I wouldn’t have a tooth pulled without Novocain, would I? Why breastfeed when formula is just as good? Why would I have a midwife and doula when my someday baby would be born in a hospital with all the latest technology?

Then I got pregnant and had a blow to my way of thinking. Strike one: My infertility doctor simply said, “I don’t do birth. Why don’t you visit with our midwife, you might like her.” Strike two: My insurance company said, “We will only pay for a cesarean.” Strike three: Formula, among other things, is expensive!

My response was, “Well, I better learn a thing or two about this natural business because I’m not paying for more than I have to.” It was the first piece in a small, but ever-growing snowball, the first nudge on a brand new path.

We met with the midwife and decided that she was smart, capable, and personable. Immediately, she began educating me about birth. Not just the physical aspect of change, but also the emotional aspect. She encouraged me to take childbirth classes and hire a doula. She never pushed any topics, but simply gave me the facts: pros and cons, statistics, along with bits of experience and time-honored wisdom.

About 3 months into my pregnancy, I “met” two women who would change my entire perspective on birth.  I checked out Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin, and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, by Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler. I was in for a wonderful journey that brought me towards a personal confidence, peace, knowledge, joy, and a sense of strength, concerning childbirth, breastfeeding, and my body.

Five months into pregnancy, we began our childbirth classes. Our instructor guided us through myths, old wives tales, personal fears, and distrusts by teaching us solid information at each class. She is also a doula and because of our growing fondness for her, we decided to invite her to be our doula.

No one pushed me, nagged me, or hassled me to conform to natural childbirth. I was nudged, educated, and pointed towards it love, care, and genuine concern. Through careful guidance and gentle education, a handful of women led me to a new place. A place that values women, supports birth choices, respects the birth process and the power of a woman during birth. A place where I am now very passionate and provoked to greater knowledge as I grow as a mother, doula, and supporter of women.

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