Although writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner had a traumatic experience with numerous medical interventions when she birthed her son, she is considering a more natural and holistic approach for her upcoming second childbirth. In an open and honest look into her painful experience, Brodesser-Akner asks the important question: Who controls childbirth – expectant moms or doctors?
In addition to reading the ‘bibles’ of intervention-free childbirths (Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Your Best Birth), Brodesser-Akner also sought the sound advice of celebrity mom Mayim Bialik, who is a spokesperson for the nonprofit Holistic Moms Network.
We wanted to do everything we could to reduce the possibility of intervention,” Bialik said of planning her first delivery, a home birth. “A culture that encourages you to let someone else tell you when to push instead of feeling it yourself scared me. I wanted to have power over my experience. Not to be a martyr but because my body was made to do this.”
Bialik went on to describe her first birth. After three days of labor at home, she was transferred to the hospital where she birthed her son. Her newborn spent four days in the neonatal intensive-care unit. “My son was born with a low temperature and low blood sugar, which isn’t unusual in light of the fact that I had gestational diabetes,” she explained. “I understand doctors need to err on the side of caution, but there was nothing wrong with my child. All of our plans for bed sharing, nursing on demand, bathing him — gone.”
The experience was scarring for the actress. “I felt a sense of failure that I had to call my parents from the hospital,” Bialik continued. “Yes, I know vaginal birth in the hospital is the next best thing to a home birth.” She added, “Everyone is allowed her own sense of loss.”
But isn’t medical intervention necessary in some cases? Bialik responded to this question without doubt:
There are those among us who believe that if the baby can’t survive a home labor, it is OK for it to pass peacefully. I do not subscribe to this, but I know that some feel that … if a baby cannot make it through birth, it is not favored evolutionarily.”
Tell us your birth experience. Did you have a traumatic or a peaceful birth?