Grandparenting Classes Reveal Just How Much Pre-1970s Mothers Were Removed From Birthing Process
Much has changed since your parents were taking care of infants and so some hospitals have taken to offering “grandparenting 101.” These courses seek to update soon-to-be grandparents on the latest childrearing practices to ensure that baby will be safe when being cared for by the elders. But as many grandparents learn about the best sleeping practices and the importance of rear-facing car seats, some grandmothers realize how starkly different their birthing experiences were.
Some grandmothers will actually begin to grieve in class, said Janet Bowen, who leads a grandparenting seminar at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Wash. Until the 1970s, women were often given a cocktail of morphine and scopolamine to induce â€œtwilight sleepâ€ during birth. Babies were delivered by forceps, and women were all but removed from the process.
â€œWhen they realize that their daughter is going to have memories and participate in the birth, and itâ€™s not something thatâ€™s being done to them, that is amazing, and sometimes, a bit overwhelming,â€ said Bowen.
Modern mommies may not realize it, but their mothers had very little say when it came to choosing a type of birthing experience. Handed over to doctors and literally drugged out of their minds during delivery, mothers of the Kennedy era and before were not only unprepared, but also not consulted. And although there is research suggesting that today’s mothers aren’t quite so informed on birth either, there are still a variety of choices when it comes to what the mother wants. From elective c-sections to homebirth to who to choose as your doula, many contemporary women have the opportunity to ask themselves how they want to remember and experience labor.