How cruel it is for any one of us to judge either woman or to pit them against one another in a failing attempt to validate their own experiences of life. And yet this is what our society does to women in the intensely private and feminine experience of childbirth.
We do not validate the experience of pregnancy and childbirth as an event of unusual and provocative dimensions. In the mountain range metaphor, we must accept the reality of nature, i.e., that the trek once embarked upon is no longer a choice. Our choice lies in the freedom we have in our approach to childbirth. But we do not come to this female experience“pure.” We come with inherited emotional baggage of past generations and the legacy of female inequity in our social system.
PRENATAL CARE: A HOLISTIC APPROACH
There are a multitude of unrecognized factors which ready or frighten us as we approach childbirth, such as:
-- our experience of how we came into the world,
-- our mothers’ and grandmothers’ experiences of childbirth,
-- our relationships to our own mothers and fathers,
-- our expectations about motherhood and the quality of spousal and prenatal support at the time of birth.
How we visualize ourselves in the world after giving birth can affect the labor . Childbirth is a journey towards motherhood and the process of labor can be affected by any of the emotional factors that impinge on this transition. What we fail to include in the delivery of prenatal care in our society, is the fact of childbirth as a part of a larger psychological transformation that is occurring in a woman’s life when she becomes a mother. We do not treat the prenatal process as one of family making, which it is. Prenatal care should include emotional support through the enormous physical changes involved in pregnancy, the birth, and the emotional aspects of becoming a family.