These Unassisted Birth Message Board Posts Will Make You Never Want An Unassisted Birth

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Unassisted Childbirth

Nicole Cliffe over at The Toast has rounded up a selection of stomach-churning posts from an unassisted birth message board, and boy is it a harrowing read. I pride myself on being open to all women, their choices, and different birthing paths, but I just can’t bring myself to get behind unassisted birth for the simple reason of it sounding straight-up unsafe for all involved.

I labored in a birthing center (that was in a hospital) with my first daughter, only to discover when it was time to push that she had flipped in labor and become breech (this is a story I shall tell some time, I promise). Because she was rocketing out of my body like a comet I was rushed to a c-section and she was born 30 minutes later. But what if I had been alone? What if I – like the doctors and midwives at my birthing center – had felt around in my vagina and mistaken her butt for a head? (This happened, ya’ll. Medical professionals.) What if I tried to push a transverse breech baby out? What then? The thought of it gives me a serious case of the nervous voms.

Unassisted Birth Cord

I had a vaginal birth with kid #2, in the hospital. My doula, the hospital midwife, and a hospital nurse coached me through it – it was incredible. After she slid out I had a lot of bleeding and had to be put on pitocin to slow it down. What if I had been alone in my house with no support? Would I have shoved cotton balls up there and hoped for the best? I mean, I just don’t get the logic here. It’s not like scientist solely created pitocin to ruin women’s labors, as some might have you believe. It actually has a purpose and — surprise! — can help you.

Unassisted Birth Vagina

I recently was present at a friend’s home birth, and watched the detailed care given to her by her midwives and doula. If home birth is for you, I am all for it. It was an amazing thing to be a part of. But please don’t try to get a baby out alone. Even if your midwife comes over and then hides in the closet for 26 hours while you do your thing – at least SOMEONE IS THERE WITH YOU.

After reading Nicole’s post I started Googling unassisted birth; the first website that pops up is for this woman Lauren Kaplan Shanley. She’s a UC advocate, and gave birth to her four kids unassisted. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are a lot of black and white photos on the site of women gently clutching their pregnant bellies. She speaks a lot about the natural process of birth, saying that leaving women alone to birth how they want empowers them and frees up their birthing process. Okay.

“When a woman gives birth at home, she is free to eat what she wants, assume any position she wants, and push or not push depending on how she feels,” she writes on her site. “When no one is telling her what to do, she is able to ‘tune in’ and listen to ‘the still, small voice within.’ The same loving consciousness that knew how to grow her baby inside her perfectly, knows how to get her baby out safely and easily, if only she will let it.”

That stuff all sounds good to me, and if it can be a part of your birth – great. But she also says this: “No one, however, regardless of their ‘expertise,’ can guarantee that a baby will be born safely. Some babies die. It’s simply nature’s way.”

Excuse me while I rage-hit my head to this desk.

Yeah, sure – some babies do die. But why not do what we can to prevent this from happening? Isn’t that the goal of every woman giving birth? I am all for empowering women in their birthing process, but there is nothing wrong with safety being a big part of that. In fact, it should be a HUGE part of it. Midwives at home, midwives in the hospital, doctors all up in your vag – do what you want, but please, do it with someone who knows what’s up. Nothing is more empowering than that.

View more at The Toast. Be prepared to cover your eyes.