Well, obvs. I've twice given birth. I wonder if any participant who has birthed babies will not choose this experience. It's sort of a life-altering one. Certainly body-altering.
Both times, I chose to give birth at home, sans meds. As my sister once asked, with utter mystification, "But why?" I don't have a great answer to that question.
There is a romance to giving birth at home, in a comfortable environment with your husband behind you, providing, with his thighs, just the right spot for you to dig in your elbows with each contraction. I bet I was better able to relax there, in my own bath or my own bed with my own things about me. Our babies arrived in their home, not in an impersonal hospital room. You think of things like that as your prepare for the experience, as you sanitize towels, sheets, and washcloths and seal them in bags, as you buy items like a goldfish net and a large stainless steel bowl (and wonder why).
I am not one of those women who claims childbirth is not actually painful or who manages to make it an orgasmic experience (oh yes, that is what some people claim--I remember the flyers). BullSHIT, I say. Childbirth is horrible, mentally and physically. I remember calling out to my mother and crying to my husband, "I don't think I can do this," while knowing I had no choice, feeling that strange sensation of my body taking over, leaving my brain totally out of control. I remember the midwives reminding me over and over, "Try not to scream; try grunting instead. It will help you keep your energy up." I remember shouting my husband's favorite line from the two experiences, "I think my anus is going to explode!" (To which the midwife replied, "Good, good. That's exactly how it's supposed to feel.") I remember the "ring of fire," a term I learned during my daughter's birth and that really could not be a more apt description of the experience. And I also remember when it was over, it was immediately so.much.better.
I'm also not one of those people who advocate for this choice above others. I don't know what's right for anyone but me, and that means my choice is no better than yours (if yours was different). I don't think epidurals or pitocin are bad things. I think doctors and hospitals are wonderful.
What's more, I never had those horror labors you hear about. Along with the unfortunate traits of asthma, strange toenails, and ready tears, I inherited from my mother the positive trait of relatively short labors. I had six hours of active labor before my daughter was born, and my son appeared three hours after my water dramatically broke (with not a contraction in sight at the time).
|(Sorry for the gratuitous boobage and blood.)|
I think, in the end, I wanted to see if I could do something truly hard. I think that has been a factor in many of my life choices. Can I follow through on this truly hard thing? Can I really see it all the way? I have, and I have not. But when I have, the outcome is immense personal satisfaction that justifies all the pain and hardship. I find I am not limited to the typical choices. I can rise above pain and perform. I can find my own path and see it through.
And if you ever want to come visit, the bed I birthed my children in is in our guest room. I never fail to remind my guests of this special experience.