Monday, December 9, 2013

    This has got to stop. I mean, excuse my language, but are you fucking kidding me? This morning this article came up in my newsfeed.

I honestly don't know where to start. I am so tired of seeing the same shit over and over and over again.
    "The computer program is limited in that it doesn't include movements of the perineal muscles of the mother's pelvis, nor does it include movements of the fetus." 

So basically it tells you diddly squat about whether or not you can birth your baby (here is a hint: you can). It can't tell you what your body or your baby will do during birth. All it can do is kind of guess if two static estimates of two very dynamic entities may or may not be compatible at a very specific moment in time that  likely in no way resembles real life conditions. So, for the last time...

  • How much you are dilated/effaced at any given moment tells you NOTHING about whether or not you can birth your baby. (Same goes for the position of your cervix) You could be at 6 cm and anterior for months before birth or you could be at 1 cm and posterior hours before birth. The only time you know for sure that birth is eminent is when you are crowning. 

  • Ultrasounds tell you NOTHING about how big your baby is or when he/she will arrive. After 20 weeks, estimating size off of ultrasounds is incredibly unreliable. 

  • Knowing how big your baby is tells you NOTHING about whether or not you will be able to birth your baby. This is coming from a size 2 woman who delivered an almost 10lb. baby. Your body changes during labor. Your hips spread, your tailbone flexes, your ligaments loosen up. The baby is squishy and rotates during birth. None of these things can be determined before you are actually giving birth.

  • Your due date tells you VERY LITTLE about when your baby will get here.  All a due date will tell you is when you are 38 weeks past ovulation (40th week of the pregnancy cycle). That is assuming you know when you ovulated. If not, it's based off of your last period, which means it's even less accurate. "Normal" gestation is anywhere from 38-42 weeks, which means even if you know exactly when you ovulated you still have a 4 week window of when to expect your baby, and that's on average. It could still be more and less and you and the baby still be perfectly healthy. 

So for the love of everything holy, stop. Let's all just STOP trying to medicalize birth. Birth is not medical. It is biological. So is sex. But you wouldn't want a hundred different tests and procedures and screenings to take place every time you have sex, right? And sometimes sex is risky. But you take precautions and if and only if there is a concern to seek medical help for sex related issues. Birth SHOULD be no different. You can birth your baby. By yourself. In the middle of nowhere. If you were stranded on a desert island, you would still give birth to your baby and the odds are highly in your favor that you would both be hunky dory. I get it. I know a lot of women feel more comfortable birthing in a hospital "just in case". And that makes perfect sense. IF something goes wrong, you will want a medical intervention. What does not make sense is turning a normal, biological act into a medical nightmare for no damn reason at all. The testing, the estimating, the guessing...for what? For a cesarean section rate twice the level considered safe and normal? For the worst mortality rate in the developed world? How is that working out for us? If you want a safe birth for you and your baby, the best thing you can do (supported by medical research) is to just stop and trust your body. Your body knows what it is doing. We would not have survived as a species if that were not the case.

    All these products and gadgets exist now- breastfeeding screening kits, birth-assisting apparatuses, and now computer simulations- to feed off of the idea that we are not good enough. Just like the beauty industry, the birth industry has made trillions off of the idea that our bodies are somehow less than. That we are lacking and just can't quite live up to what is demanded of us. Listen to me now and repeat this to yourself. Write it down. Tape it to your mirror. Put it in your car. Say it to yourself before every OB appointment.

You are enough.

You can birth your baby.

You can feed your baby.

And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, get the hell away from that person. Do not let anyone bully or scare you into believing anything else. But what if?

Well, what if? What if you couldn't pass college math and didn't get your degree? What if that interview went really horribly and you'll never get that job? We don't let  people control our lives with this kind of negativity in any other area, so why birth? Because in birth they tell us we need to "think about the baby." Let me tell you something- you are that baby's mother. You are thinking about that baby every second of everyday. You care more about that baby than any other person on this planet. You will NEVER make a decision that doesn't take that baby into consideration and for someone to assume otherwise is fucking insulting.

You fucking matter. YOU matter. Just as much as that baby who matters more to you than any other thing you've ever known in your life. And all that negativity- the fear and the self-doubt- is just as poisonous for your baby as it is for you. Get rid of it.  Let go of this pervasive idea, this culture of misogyny, that tells you that you are broken.

You are enough.

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