My Yahoo! News feed is full of labor and delivery articles and opinion pieces. The feed has become adaptive in predicting what articles you are more likely to look further into and it knows that I am a developing birth junkie/aspiring, hopeful, eventual L&D nurse so it plugs a lot of those types of stories into my feed. Unfortunately there is a lot more in regards to opinions pieces than good, traditional, researched articles.
I'm going to be honest here.
And this isn't about anyone in particular because I hear it all the time. I have read it at least once a week from various news feeds, forums, commentary, or "articles". I have heard it both in direct conversation with several people in numerous and varied settings.
When you are having a baby, the ultimate goal is to have a healthy Mommy and a healthy Baby. All else is secondary. There are times that birth experiences are less than ideal. There are times that things we want in L&D don't or quite simply can't happen. It is challenging, from my perspective, to create an ideal setting when you are talking about humans assisting humans giving birth to humans. All those humans mean a whole lot of variables. Childbirth is difficult and can be dangerous and can be deadly times two. So ultimately, the goal is healthy times two.
I think our society has started to get so caught up in the "ideal birth" that we lose sight of that goal. When a woman is pregnant, she is flooded with information and opinions about what is right and what is wrong in all different aspects of baby growing and baby raising with many of those opinions being related to the actual labor and delivery. Most women just want to do what is right by their kid and somehow, the birth experience has become a part of that. Do I think that birth experience is important? Absolutely it is. I was very caught up in birth experience for all three of my labors and was happy with some aspects and not so happy with others. Do I think there are improvements that could be made in hospitals across the world in making this process better? Yes. No medical service should stagnate in their service to others. Do I think that birth experience is the end all be all in determining whether that birth was a success? Absolutely not.
Do you know what a bad birth experience is? One where you end up dead. Or where your child ends up dead. Or where you are permanently injured. Or your child is permanently injured. Do you know what a less than ideal birth experience is? When you leave the hospital without your child because they are too sick or too little or not doing what they need to be doing. Or when your child leaves the hospital without you because of an unexpected illness or infection. Or when an unexpected/at delivery diagnosis leaves you with worry and research and hinders the bonding time needed with your baby. Any other outcome is a good birth experience. Any time Mommy and Baby are healthy, is a good experience. I appreciate women wanting to invest in making a special and amazing day even better. I appreciate women making decisions about their L&D that requires research and preparation and will help them do good work the day they meet their kids. But let's not lose sight of the fact that we are very fortunate to live in a time and country where we can be picky about the type of Labor and Delivery we want. Let's be grateful that we are so blessed that we can choose much about our baby's births and that for most, the outcome is great.
Let's refocus our perspective into what a good birth experience really is and remember that big picture goal, healthy, is what we need and anything else is just extra.