These days of OBs, midwives, epidurals, natural, birth plans, hospitals, home births, c-sections, silent births, water births…my goodness the modern birth experience can be almost whatever you choose for it to be. It makes me think about what it was like for my mother and grandmothers to have babies. Have you asked them about your birth story?
My grandmother labored in her rural stone house in Northwestern Spain for days with my mother. Someone had to send for the doctor. Days. She climbed onto her kitchen table and gave birth to my mother, who had the cord wrapped several times around her neck. Born blue in the face and not moving, the doctor rubbed and coaxed my mother into her first breath. They cut the cord with a string. My mother would be my grandmother’s only living child. It was old school stakes and old school rules.
My mother had one of the first epidurals in the nation at a prestigious east coast hospital while in labor with me. She could hardly feel anything. It was her only epidural birth. She went on to have three more children. The middle two were born in Switzerland, with their incredible combination of social and private medicine, the nurses insisted that she stay in her hospital suite overlooking Lake Zurich with the down comforter and fresh meals. Once they heard she had two other kids at home, they insisted she stay for two weeks. The only problem was that they didn’t believe in any kind of pain relief and tried to feed her babies formula when she wasn’t looking.
I contrast the incredible difference in the thirty years between when my grandmother birthed and when my mother did, let alone my panoply of birth choices in this new millenium.
This year for Mother’s Day, and for the sake of your own children, why don’t you ask your relatives what their birth stories were like? We’ll be celebrating many other birth stories this April with our virtual baby shower. You can submit your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
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