Sunday, 15 November 2009

Au Natural by Kate

I blame Beans' lovely mum primarily, although my sister and my friend Natascha also have to accept their fair share too. I probably would have accepted every drug offered to me during labour and would have been content to lay on my back with my legs in the air to give birth. That's all changed now.

When Beans' mum heard I was pregnant she presented me with a much-thumbed copy of Sheila Kitzinger's The Experience Of Childbirth, apologised for the dated quality of some of its advice but said it had been invaluable in helping her have three children naturally and enjoyably.
"My mother looked at me while we waited in Bournemouth Nursing Home and said pityingly 'she really doesn't know what she's going to go through', but do you know? I was so relaxed! And it was wonderful! I think my mother was quite disappointed," she said.

When I asked my sister for advice on the best way to have babies (let's face it, she's had four, all at home, all without trauma and using nothing stronger as pain-relief than a warm bath and a paracetamol) she promptly said, "Janet Balaskas," and hunted through her book-shelves for New Active Birth, which she failed to find. When I asked Natascha (two children) the question, she gave me the same answer, so I figured this was well-worth following up. My mother kindly bought me Janet's book for a birthday present and I read it avidly.

As a result of Sheila and Janet's influence, I'm now very keen to try and have the baby sans pethidine, epidurals and all the rest and ideally while remaining in a generally upright position, if possible. So I've been doing loads of undignified yoga positions, practising relaxation techniques and rehearsing breathing methods for contractions and earnestly trying to discover if Spanish delivery suites will be open to this hippie earth-mother stuff or if I will have to consider forking out two thousand or so euros for a specialist private clinic just for the privilege of having a baby without being forced into unhelpful and painful positions or subjected to all sorts of unnecessary medical procedures. Of course, if things get complicated or there's any genuine danger to me or my child, I'd let them do anything they wanted to ensure we both got out of the experience in one piece. But I like the idea of getting through the birth process using only my own efforts, if possible. Having said that, I may wimp out and scream for analgesics, despite all the Taylor positions and Sun Salutes I've done. But I'd like to have a go. And I think there's an element of sisterly competition there too. After all, if Becky can do it...

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