My friend the nurse recently became a mother. Becoming a mother is a beautiful, scary thing. I became a mother two and a half years ago. When I was pregnant, I read everything I could about the medical practices and procedures surrounding childbirth. I was terrified and knowledge is power.
I asked my friend where she planned to give birth. I’d toyed with the ideas of a home birth or a birthing center and relished the thought of a lively discussion of alternative birthing practices and the risk of commonplace medical interventions like epidural and episoitimy. She said, matter-of-factly that she would give birth “in a hospital with an epidural.” She stopped me cold. I do not dispense unsolicited advice, and it was clear by the definitive finality with which she spoke that the matter was not up for discussion.
But why? I thought. Aren’t all matters up for discussion? I am not denying that some deliveries present serious medical risks and require intervention. I question the idea, however, that every pregnancy requires intervention. I question the purveyors of this thinking’s motivation. I wonder why the fact that Labor and Birth were a women’s affair, sans medical intervention, for thousands of years never seems to arrive on the table when such is up for debate.
My thinking is, why mess with a good thing? Any medical procedure, even the most benign, comes with its share of potential side-effects and risks. When a nine-month pregnancy has gone off dazzlingly, it is maddening to me that so many women embrace the notion that a doctor has something to add—especially when that thing comes with a laundry list of potential dangers and requires a knive, needle, I.V. or anesthesiologist! To me, even a one in a million chance of injury is too high.
We live in a culture that aggressively judges pregnant women who consume a glass of wine or anything caffienated in public. There have been court verdicts demanding that a pregnant woman act in the best interest of her baby. Why then is the same pregnant woman encouraged to get shot up with drugs or narcotics when she’s in labor?
My daughter was born without the assistance of narcotics, knives or needles. But my physician was so intent on sticking me that she insisted Pitocin be administered to birth the placenta. I was too pooped and blissed out to argue, but several hours prior I might’ve argued that I know somebody who hallucinated on it and mightn’t we try it without? Fortunately, I experienced no side effects with the Pitocin. But the next time I have a baby, I hope he will be born at home with a midwife attending. I hope to stay as far away from a hospital as possible.
I am by no means dispensing medical advice. Nor is my mind narrowed to exclude an opposing view. But my friend’s ideas and unwarranted trust in the procedures seems to be pervasive enough that someone should say something. I am that someone and this is that something.
On blogging, for print.
I made a resolution about it and I began a blog. The third to be truthful. But this one’s gonna stick. I hear blogging is a good way to get attention. Blogging is something I must do. Everybody I know has a blog.
Everybody I know has different literary savvy, so the blog content is as varied as my friends are. Carlos writes about his new son. Sharon writes about infomercials and pet peeves. Mike writes letters to the people of Brazil. Carolyn reviews books.
Still, each time I sit down to add to my blog, I can’t stop thinking about how incredibly vain it is. I typed in all of the poems I’ve recently begun tinkering. I added links to my other online presences, my daughter’s website and to my side job. Who cares? I ask myself. Why? What’s the point?
The point is that it’s now. It’s here. And what’s that old adage? Misery loves company? So does company. A blog is a way to do something you’re not ready to do. A blog is proof that cosmic feelers seeking camaraderie will not return empty, it shows that other people like the same stuff I do. A blog is affirmation for my narcissism.