And then there was that article in the Volkskrant | Mom & co

And then there was that article in the Volkskrant

Volkskrant: “A primal birth looks great on Instagram, but gynecologists have their reservations.”

De Volkskrant immediately unpacks and states in the article that so-called ‘momfluencers’ have a too romantic image of childbirth, and denigrates doulas as herbal women. Unfortunate. The article then takes a different, actually very interesting turn: Important themes such as communication and trust are addressed and reference is made to how valuable a doula or a well-prepared pregnant woman and partner are.

There is one important element that stands out to us after reading this article. Namely the trend that something is going on in the world of birth. There is a culture of fear surrounding childbirth, birth is too medicalized and interventions are performed too often. This is because there is not enough information and communication. And that has everything to do with a flaw in the obstetric system; there is too little time and attention during the process. That is why sometimes hasty decisions are made. If the gynecologist or obstetrician, together with the pregnant woman and partner, are well aware of each other’s wishes, have time and attention for each other to make the best decision, then the chance that the birth will be experienced as traumatic is at least small.

The culture of fear surrounding childbirth is the product of the so-called malleable society we live in. And that’s such a shame! Women are afraid to give birth and caregivers are sometimes afraid to intervene too late. This reduces the chance of a natural birth. We often approach the birth from the negative side, while in every birth there is so much positive to be gained, regardless of its course.

A nice, safe and familiar environment, relaxing music, soft light from, for example, such a salt lamp (which are also very nice in the months after birth during the night feedings) contribute to more relaxation. And relaxation is important for the correct hormone production during childbirth. In addition, good preparation for childbirth through, for example, a pregnancy course is essential. Although this is not a condition for a positive birth experience, because every woman is different, a well-prepared couple who dares to be critical is 3-0 in any case.

Look at me, Aline. My son Kobe was born in the operating room under bright white LED light. There was a lot going on in the operating room, but soft light or soothing music was not part of it. I had a caesarean section because I had the medical indication placenta preavia. The birth of Kobe was therefore an exciting situation on paper and that is how it often felt for us, but nevertheless I and my friend René have had a very positive feeling about it. We felt heard during the pregnancy and were well prepared. We received time and attention from our gynecologist and we felt there was room for discussion, especially as we took this space ourselves. This allowed us to move along in the process, even though it turned out to be a completely different adventure than we had hoped in advance. The medical interventions were necessary for my and my baby’s health and we felt part of the decisions made in this.

Births come in all colors and sizes (check our podcast Breathe in Breathe Out   just once) and a positive experience is not in that ‘primal birth’, because you can also look back on birth very powerfully with an epidural or a caesarean section. The Volkskrant article mentions that 80% of all deliveries are under the supervision of a gynaecologist. This high percentage reflects exactly what the problem is, overmedicalization and acting not from trust but from fear. Moreover, this percentage says nothing about how childbirth is experienced. We are convinced that, regardless of the course and location of the birth, you can create a positive birth experience. Provided you are well prepared, approach the birth in a realistic way with confidence, feel supported by your healthcare provider and know what the options are – including any medical intervention.

In our pregnancy course we learn to ask questions about medical interventions, but also explain why and when these interventions are necessary so that you do not have to mistrust. Long for that primal birth, if that’s what you want. Buy that salt lamp or that essential oil, if that’s what you want. Prepare yourself, know your wishes and your choices, and no is also a choice. Make sure you feel safe with your healthcare provider. Do everything that helps you to have a positive birth experience.

We think it’s wonderful that ‘momfluencers’ like Nina Pierson, Rens Kroes and Kassandra Schreuder and many others, including ourselves from Mom & co, empower couples and create more awareness that you can have the birth that suits you. We don’t pretend it’s for everyone, and we don’t think the momfluencers do that either. We do pretend that with good preparation and good teamwork you have a much greater chance of that wonderful experience. Who knows what all this ‘fuss’ will bring! Who knows, maybe we will all dare to trust more and not to start the birth out of fear anymore.. Who knows…. We dream along!

(Note: The article ‘A primal birth looks nice on Instagram, but gynecologists have their reservations’ appeared on 5-12-2020 in de Volkskrant and can be read here)