Unlikely inspiration

I got Chinese food for lunch today, and my inspiration for today's blog entry is my fortune cookie fortune!


"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence."


Good, isn't it?


It got me thinking about something I read a few days ago. It was a podcast interview (http://sciencebasedparenting.com/2010/07/31/exclusive-interview-skeptical-ob-dr-amy-tuteur/) with Amy Tuteur, OB, the infamous anti-homebirth doctor.  Dr. Tuteur was commenting on the opinion of many natural birth proponents that birthing without pain medication is empowering. Here is a quote from the podcast transcript:

Colin: What do you say to mothers who feel empowered by natural birth? Mothers who consider birth to be sacred and life altering?

DrAmy: One of the interesting things is that people have lost perspective on child birth. The concept of something being empowering, that it’s unusual that you would have an unmedicated child birth… the fact of the matter is that 99% of the mothers who have ever lived have had a natural child birth or died trying, and most of the women everyday around the world have had a natural child birth or died trying.

It’s actually no big deal. Anybody can do it. In fact, the big deal is being able to survive without doing it. It’s funny that people have decided that it’s some sort of achievement when it’s the default mode. If you want to avoid pain medication, fine, especially if you don’t need medication there’s no reason to have it. But, the idea that it’s an achievement is like the idea that having a root canal without Novocaine is an achievement. You want to do it, OK good, but I don’t know how it makes you better or different, or makes it a more spiritual experience to do it that way.

How does accomplishing a difficult, strenuous, physical trial make you better or different? How is it a spiritual experience? Because you have performed your work with excellence. Why do people run races? Because they are accomplishing a difficult, strenuous, physical trial that affects them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Why do people challenge themselves in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives? Because facing a challenge makes them realize who they are deep down and makes them better and different.

Should the sense of accomplishment and empowerment be the only reason a woman would strive for a natural birth? Only she can answer that. But to question those motivations simply because you don't understand them is like asking the marathon runner why he or she just doesn't give up when it gets tough, because it would be easier.

Choosing to give birth without pain medications is a complex decision that has many motivations. The sense of empowerment and accomplishment many women experience following the birth of their babies is only one of the contributing factors.

Joyce Dykema