April 9, 2012

Hypnobabies & Childbirth

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.)


  1. As you know, I've experienced drug-free and drugged-up childbirth. As you know, I prefer the drugged-up version.

    1. Yes,I do know. I still feel bad that you had such a hard time. Leah was definitely stubborn about coming out.

  2. I love this post Lisa because you are so non-judgemental about it. As you know, I am quite a bit older than you and I will tell you now that the "judgement" (almost exclusively from other mothers) begins at how you gave birth and NEVER ends. So many women love to tell other women how it is all their fault that their baby is not sleeping through the night, that their baby is too old for the bottle or a soother. They begin school and then it's "your child is ONLY reading level 3? MY child is reading level 28" etc. etc. etc. I got so sick of all the judgement that I just learned to tune it all out. I always think it's sort of sad that we face this kind of judgement from other women at this very new and challenging time of life. It should be a time women are reassuring one another - not putting each other down for their choices. For the record, it was epidural all the way for my first son. I had to have a c-section with my second due to a situation with my placenta which would have had me bleeding to death should I go in to natural labour. Believe it or not there were even die-hard "natural birthers" who even had an issue with this! Crazy! Just follow your heart always and close your ears to others who have nothing better to do but judge. :)

  3. I did hypnobirthing with my first and I did find it to be good experience. The second time around I wanted to try the epidural to see if it would make my birthing experience better...it didn't. Both experiences were torturous in their own way. Basically I have come to the same conclusion as you in that giving birth to an 8lb baby is difficult regardless of how you do it. I didn't do pain meds with my 3rd either, but I plan to with my 4th. I guess consistency isn't my thing.


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