Want a "Perfect" Birth Experience Like Kate Middleton? Read This Book!
I know a lot of people think that Kate Middleton is crazy to call Prince George's birth "perfect." But as someone who feels the same way about her own birth experience, I don't think it's farfetched at all to call what is indeed an insanely intense and transformative experience "perfect."
If all the components of your birth meet your expectations, and you feel informed, cared for, and competent, it's completely plausible to emerge on the other side and deem it a success. In her book A Good Birth, OB/GYN Anne Drapkin Lyerly tackles the myths of the "perfect birth" with a collection of real-life birth stories from women who experienced every type of birth, from scheduled C-sections to natural home births.
What emerges from the voices of the 101 women who Lyerly spoke with is a complex matrix of needs, wants, and fears--all different but all ultimately agreeing on six key factors, which Lyerly breaks into separate chapters in the book. Control, agency, personal security, connectedness, respect, and knowledge, she says, are the variables that ultimately affect whether you feel you had a "good birth" or not.
As a woman who has given birth, I can vouch for all of them. My daughter's birth was something I felt I was a part of. The team that was present made me feel safe, as comfortable as possible (given that contractions can be, well, pretty damn uncomfortable!), and very connected to the whole labor and delivery process.
Knowing yourself and what you need to feel in control, safe, and respected is something that every woman approaching birth should think about. For some, it's the security that a hospital and a full medical staff provides. For others, no place but home feels right for birth. Refreshingly, Lyerly doesn't take sides with doctors or midwives, whose "birth wars" continue to wage. Instead, she asks that those present at births, whether in medical facilities, birth centers, or private homes, give women the security, information, confidence, and care that they need during the emotionally charged and challenging experience that is birth. Amen!
By Biba Milioto