Right after I had Ivy, I wrote this Hypnobabies review on Amazon. I'm reminded of it now and then because I still get emails notifying me of comments on my review. It's considered the most helpful review on there. I still stand by what I wrote, but I have slightly different thoughts on birth now than I did at the time.
Childbirth is a fascinating topic to me. I think it's the kind of subject that doesn't interest a lot of people until they find themselves pregnant and in need of some decision-making guidance. I know I was that way. I researched and researched everything I could find, wanting desperately to make the best decision for me and my baby. This led me to try Hypnobabies because I kept reading good things about it. I believe it was helpful and did influence my ability to have an epidural-free labor with Ivy.
HOWEVER, I've since come across many women, and even men (mostly online, some in person), who are die-hard natural birthers and believe that any other way is the wrong way. This attitude is wildly unfair and just plain wrong.
A lot of women, including myself, have had different experiences between one baby's birth and another's. I chose to avoid pain medication with Ivy because I felt like it was the route with the lowest risk. When I had Maren, however, I chose to get an epidural (almost too late, I might add, right when I was ready to push her out). Which birth was better?
The answer is both, or neither. Both were equally amazing experiences. Both were painful. Both babies were beautiful and perfectly healthy. Both times were fulfilling and empowering. Neither were something I'd want to do again in a hurry.
Also, neither were without interventions. In fact, looking back on Maren's birth, I see that as being more natural and laid-back even though I got an epidural. Ivy's was induced because I went two weeks overdue and it became the best choice for us. So, you may argue that I've never actually experienced "natural" childbirth and I'm no authority on the subject. Fine. You may be right.
But . . . you can't shake my belief that one is not superior to the other. I hope that no woman feels inferior or bad about her birth experience because of the judgmental people out there. As anyone knows who has had a baby, it's about so much more than what meds you did or didn't have. Rather than a birth experience being the ultimate triumph, I believe the real reward comes the moment you start to fall in love with your child, whether or not you even gave birth to that child.
I still believe in the lower risk benefits that a childbirth with fewer interventions may bring, but I don't buy the philosophy about it being better. Like most everything else in life, there is more than one right way, and judging others for their choices is never the answer. I don't know yet what I'm going to choose if/when I have another baby, but I believe it will be wonderful, just like before.
(Here are Ivy's and Maren's birth stories if you're interested.)