Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Do The Ends Justify the Means?

How are labor and childbirth going to help make you a better mom? After all, in the end, isn't just about having a healthy baby and a healthy mother? It doesn't really matter how you get there, right?
Wrong. Research shows that a mother's experiences in birth - how much she feels supported, listened to, and respected; and the amount of control she has over decisions being made and things being done to her - have a much greater impact on her overall birth experience than the clinical aspects of the birth. In other words, a mother could experience a 36 hour labor filled with various interventions and still have a positive experience with birth if she felt nurtured and empowered throughout the process. And this is important - not just because we want all moms to have positive birth experiences - which we do! - but also because mothers with positive birth experiences are more confident mothers, more affectionate with and responsive to their babies, more likely to breastfeed and breastfeed for longer periods of time, and less likely to experience postpartum depression. All very good reasons for us to be concerned about the way that women give birth, and not just clinical health statistics.
So what is it about how a mother experiences labor and childbirth that would effect her confidence and feelings towards her baby, her success with breastfeeding and the likelihood that she would experience postpartum depression?
Pregnancy, Labor, and Childbirth are all part of the journey into motherhood. It is a rite of passage.  An experience that is so intense, so out of the realm of our daily experiences, so unlike anything else you will experience - that it will transform you in the process. Transform you into a mother.

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