About two years ago I took a class called "pyschobiology of women." Basically this class what about female biology and the psychology that sometimes goes with it.
I absolutely LOVED this class. When you take biology classes and learn about the human body, really you are learning about the male body. Male is often the standard becuase they aren't on a cycle like us and if something changes for them it usually signifies a health issue. For women on the other hand, well we are cyclical. Our hormones change every month and so we are a little harder to track and learn about.
So often they just don't teach us about our bodies. So I was very glad to learn. I was amazed at what I did and didn't know. This class has really informed a lot of my views on pregnancy, labor, and life.
It helped when we were trying to concieve (if you really want to know email me: firstname.lastname@example.org). But mostly I feel that it gifted me with a realistic and beautiful view of pregnancy and childbirth.
But you never really know until you are there right? I have been having to watch my iron intake because I am borderline anemic. Basically the symptoms are the same as pregnancy but boy oh boy. I am tired. Every now and then I get that so called, second trimester energy but really my body just wants to sleep. Constantly. I am short of breath (baby pushes on diaphragm) and just plain sore. Turns out stretching skin and muscle is like when you stretch your muscles. But it's a constant stretch. No 30 seconds here. All day baby!
But pregnancy has been happy. My heart flutters when I feel the flutter in my abdomen. I can't get enough of looking down and seeing my belly protrude. It really is a beautiful thing to create life, to feel and watch it in motion. I feel very blessed. Plus I love that I don't feel awful for wanting specific foods. Smoothie? No problem. Pho? Heck yes. Chocolate? Don't mind if I do.
I have been asked by numerous people if I know the gender, that doesn't come until next week. But the reality is we are not going to find out. I get a lot of stares and "really?!?" I have a couple of reasons behind this, mostly selfish and prideful.
1. I don't really want a plethora of baby clothes at my baby shower
2. I want to align myself with all the women of ancient history. They didn't know. I want to know what that feeling is like.
3. In women studies we talked a lot about how gender stereotypes start before a baby is born and although I think a lot of gender stereotypes are based on divine gender qualities, I still don't want to bombard my girl with pink and princess or my boy with blue and transportation options.
4. My real reason is one that was explained to me by my mother who didn't find out any of the genders for us 6 kids. She said that not knowing helped her in those final moments of labor when she just wanted to quit. She would give up in despair and then think, "but I want to know the gender!" I can totally see my mind working like that. Not completely logical but I want everything in my favor for that day : )
Which brings me to labor. In taking this class I had to do a research paper about the medicalization of women. My focus was on labor. I was fascinated by the statistics and research done. I had grown up believing that birth was a natural beautiful thing. The feelings I get from many women is that of fear of birth. A fear of the pain that is taken to a point where they often seem to distrust what their bodies were meant and created to do. Now I am a believer in modern medicine and I realize that not everyone can perform a natural birth. Cesearean sections are a blessing and have saved many lives. But I dislike that so many births end up in cesearean when it is not necessary, or could have been prevented.
Really I think it is about knowledge. I feel grateful that I had the opportunity to take a class and learn about the science behind this. The beauty of our bodies and the strength that lies within.
So yes my "plan" for labor is have it all natural but within a hospital. I say "plan" because I don't want to set myself up and be upset if it doesn't turn out how I imagined. Sometimes emergencies happen, but I do want to place myself in the hands of a person I trust, who has my best interest at heart. My best interest includes my health and my desires for birth. I want them to support me in my decision to attempt it naturally and let my body feel the pain and joy of birth.
So those are my plans. I am excited for this journey ahead. I hope that no one reading this takes any offense. Really this is just what I have decided for myself, but I do encourage all to study it out for themselves and look at the language that surrounds our childbirth culture. I know that it doesn't have to be scary, yes I fear the pain but I am ready to embrace it as well. Because I know, that in the end the joy will be greater than any pain endured.