instinctive vs Compliance

My niece had a baby this weekend. She considered childbirth classes late in the game I am guessing since she told my sister she could not find a class- they were all full… So she went into labor- sorta- lost her plug and her doctor listened to her breathe on the phone and said come in. But she was only 1.5 cm dilated so they had her walk… eventually they put her on the medical roller coaster- not sure what happened when but she had her water broken, had an epidural and got pitocin I am sure. Well thank the dear Lord, she did end up with a vaginal birth. She told my sister she was sure the nurses would help her in her labor. She originally thought she would go natural. She was unprepared and did not.

Nursing was not going smoothly- so since she also did not take any breastfeeding preparation class, she again told my sister that she was sure the nurses would help her. Well- they convinced her on day two after the birth that she did not have enough milk. They encouraged her to give the baby some formula. Then one nurse told her that was a good thing since she obviously was not causing the baby to be full and he had been screaming! So, although her plan was to breastfeed, the formula is something she now sees as the thing that her baby will need due to her deficiency.

She felt this would all come naturally- instinctively. It does when you are around women birthing naturally- you grow up around it- you see your cousin birth naturally- you see your friends do so. But when you have never seen a normal, natural birth- then it is not instinctive any more. The media and medical model has done a great job of redefining normal birth. Indeed she had a normal birth!

She felt breastfeeding would just come naturally- instinctively. It does when you are surrounded by women feeding their nurslings. But I bet she has never seen a woman breastfeed. So, I am sad for her.

I am not judgmental at all. I totally understand the fallacy she fell into. She believed that the medical staff would only offer her things that were best for her and her baby. They failed her. But she also has to take responsibility. Classes that teach you choices are essential if you are to have any choices at all. Seeing women nursing their babies and hearing about how they overcame difficulties is important. That is why I loved La Leche League. Shoot her mother in law- my sister- nursed four babies after giving birth normally and naturally. But she was banned to the waiting room.

We need to help women find the questions they need to ask and then encourage them to find the answers that are right for them. I am afraid this is not what my neice did. She did not know the questions to ask- she did not have any answers and she believed in the medical model protecting her and her baby. Sadly who suffers? We all do. Society suffers since this baby is subject to more illness and possibly a lower IQ than would have been possible- ten points according to the studies. The parents do- they do not realize how rewarding the different choices would have offered them. The mom could have reduced her chances of osteoporosis and breast cancer. And the little man suffers for many reasons.

Could this have been avoided? Yes- but unfortunately the importance of these classes and the preparation needed to help her succeed in her initial choices were not impressed upon her. It makes me sad.

I am sure that this little boy will be great. I am sure his parents will be awesome parents. I am just sad that they will not even understand the things that were missed.