Thursday, May 14, 2009

entering controversial territory

I am so very annoyed with a certain book I’m reading right now that I don’t know quite what to do about it. You see, I have always fully intended on receiving an epidural during labor. I still do, but because I like to be over prepared, I signed my husband and I up for birthing classes using the Bradley method. The teacher recommended that I read a book entitle Husband-Coached Childbirth, written by Dr. Bradley himself, who developed the Bradley method way back in the 1940’s.

I fear I have made a mistake investing in this book.

I’m sure that the breathing techniques I will learn, and the coaching techniques that Brett will learn will be helpful, but I can’t quite stomach the premise the dear Dr. Bradley gives us. You see, he begins his book talking about being raised on a farm and witnessing many a farm animal birth and wondering why those births seemed so pleasant and unassisted, where as human births need assistance and seem a lot more painful. He thinks it’s because we are not listening to our animal instinct. I think he should have watched PBS a little bit more.

I, admittedly, have not studied biology since (embarrassingly) high school, but I do know a couple of things: (1) Human babies have enormous heads, way bigger proportionally than any other mammal; and (2) Humans stand upright and therefore our pelvises had to change shape and size as opposed to animals who walk on all fours. These two factors make human childbirth a very different experience than any other animal. A much more difficult experience, in fact. You know where I learned this? Watching Nova, that’s where.

I also happen to know that many a time, cows need help in the birthing process. In fact, my husband was part of a calf birth that required the use of scary looking chains and I’m betting that that poor cow would have preferred the aid of an epidural and was not silently breathing, but instead mooing her pained head off.

All in all: F you Dr. Bradley.


Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD I KNOW. I have such a problem with people putting their agenda's on my in regards to how I'm going to push a roast pig out of my pringles can.

So I'll push mine on you. I would DEFINATELY recommend "The best birth" by Sarah McMoyler. It jived with all the things I felt, made sure to include your partner as an important part of the process, and their whole premise is "Healthy Mom, Healthy matter how you get there" (it was also a REALLY easy read, only took me a couple of days to finish it)

I hope in my pregnancy brain I have not recommended this to you already, but if so just take it as a reiteration of how much I liked it and you may too.

artemisia said...

I would have a knee-jerk reaction to any MAN telling me birth shouldn't be painful. RIGHT.

desperate housewife said...

Yeah, I think a lot of people have issues with Dr. Bradley, atually, whether they are proponents of "natural" childbirth or not. Many of his premises are pretty unfounded, and there are also lots of rumors that he was all about encouraging privileged white women not to fear childbirth or pregnancy because he was concerned about the declining birth rates in upper and middle class America and the rising birth rate in what he deemed inferior ethnic communities around the nation.
I mean, this is all just hearsay; I don't have documented proof. But I did read that somewhere.

Flibberty said...

I guess I should have done my research on dear ol' Dr. Bradley prior to signing up for this damn class. My neighbor delivered naturally after taking the class, and my regular doctor (not the OBGYN) recommended it, so I didn't really do my due diligence.

I guess I'll be going in to this with a "take it for what it's worth" attitude.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

Hmmmm... well, I signed up for an epidural the day the line showed up on the pregnancy test all four times. I'm allergic to pain, though the actual insertion of the epidural is not a barrel of laughs. I never took a birthing class either, because I figured, hey, it's coming out one way or the other - how I breathe isn't going to change that. I know, I know, I suck as a potential mother. That's OK, I can live with that - none of the four births hurt at all. :)

Jess said...

Ugh. This makes me want to smack this guy. I am impressed that you are able to keep taking the class on his techniques.

amber said...

Yikes! I wonder if Dr. Bradley also realizes that sometimes for no good reason (we can see) that animals EAT their own young after birth? Sort of makes the whole giving into our animal instinct business seem like less of a good idea, right?

Alice said...

dude. i feel like you've been very rational and non-yelly about this, because i suspect if i were pregnant and reading a book by a man telling me i need to listen to my instincts more and "enjoy" the feeling of giving birth because it's not actually painful? that i would be VERY YELLY.

Penny said...

Yea. having undergone two births now that both ramped up to those "transition contractions" in minutes flat, I can say this: the unmedicated/farm-raised/fairies dancing in the moonlight/"natural" birth idea might work for SOME people, but they are far from the ideal for everybody. I think I strained an eye muscle reading Ina May Gaskin's books on how, if you just relax, your cervix will just dilate on its own and you might even smile and orgasm during the process. F you, Ina May.