Natural Childbirth is Not as Crazy as it Seems

Why any woman would choose to have a baby unmedicated is an oddity to some.  I think this lack of understanding stems from a general misunderstanding of the birth process; the idea that birth is unbearably painful, and the only way through it comfortably is to medicate the body.  Some even have a hard time accepting that the baby will fit through the exit safely.  Where there is misunderstanding, there is bound to be division among people.  The particular misunderstanding I am pondering at the moment is the idea that women who decide on a natural birth are trying to prove something.  That natural birth is pointless given modern technology’s greatest gift, the epidural. Now don’t get me wrong.  I received an epidural during my son’s birth, and that was the one drug that I felt was necessary given the circumstances.  The reason this notion bugs me is because I find it quite unsettling that anyone would ever misread me, or anyone for that matter, as trying to prove something for no good reason.   I can’t speak for every woman, but I know that for me it went beyond trying to prove something.  Heck, I signed up for the pain management program, Hypnobabies, because I am not someone who deals with pain well.  For me, the decision to go natural was so that I could bring my baby into the world safely.  So that I could become more familiar with my body and what it is capable of.  I also sought to find out if Grantly Dick-Read was right about childbirth being a normal process that can be comfortable for the majority of women given the right preparation.  It wasn’t until I experienced how empowering natural birth can be, that I understood at a deeper level why my intuition steered me towards it.  There is something that happens to a woman when she feels the rushes, and allows the power to surge through her body without fighting it.  When this happens a woman is at one with her body.  She is allowing her body to work per it’s design as to facilitate the arrival of the unborn baby.  Being connected during this intense process can be transformational, as a woman is forced to confront her deepest fears and scale walls she never thought possible.  A woman empowered through birth knows her inner strength and trusts her motherly intuition.  A natural birth also means one less barrier to connecting with the newborn baby. I love these quotes, and think they accurately reflect what I am trying to say… “There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it.” ~ Sheryl Feldman “Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers – strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” -Barbara Katz Rothman Now that is not to say that birth is the only way a mother can connect.  It’s a good place to start though, in my opinion, given all the challenging aspects that present them self along the parenting journey. 

Product offering: custom slings, wraps and carriers

If you would like to order a custom made sling or wrap from me then please read on.  In fact, you may want to bookmark this page so you can come back to it at a later time. Due to the fact that I am just starting out and can not afford to carry liability insurance I have to be extremely careful who I sell baby carriers and wraps to, hence why I took my listings off of Etsy.  If you are okay with the fact that I do not carry insurance, and still want to purchase a custom made baby carrier from me then the next step is figuring out where you are on the babywearing learning curve.  If you are a seasoned babywearer then you won’t need much guidance on how to do it properly.  If you are new to babywearing then I will want to either consult with you in person, or send you links and discuss further what you are learning from the resources I send to you.  If you are okay with all that then here are the details as to what I offer: =&0=& I ♥ ring slings!  They make great baby carriers as well as blankets, nursing covers, and laundry holders (as I discovered while on vacation).  There are a variety of holds possible with the chest-to-chest and hip carry being my favorite.  The chest to chest is great for infants as it gives mom or dad full view of baby’s face yet is still comfortable enough for baby to doze off.  The hip carry is perfect for older babies who like to stretch their legs out.  Slings can be used for infants as well as toddlers.  The optimal carry will depend on where your baby is developmentally as well as your own comfort level.    Handloomed ring sling:  $50 + shipping This ring sling is made from hard to find hand woven fabric.  It is 45 inches wide and is sturdy yet breathable so your baby will stay cool.  The fabric slides easily through the rings making it easy to adjust the size.   Sizes: Small: 72’’ Medium: 78’’ Large: 84’’=&1=& Mei Tai’s originated in Asia as a simple square design with four parallel straps to secure the baby in place.  My reversible Mei Tai wrap consists of three panels. The first two panels are made from a sturdy home decorating fabric while the third is an espresso cuddle fabric. The unpadded straps are attached to the inner panel with a triple stitch rectangle with two more triple stitch lines x-ing through the box for added security. Cool Stripe Mei Tai with twill (bottom weight) straps- $45 + shipping   =&2=& I make my wraps from the same hard to find hand woven fabric featured above.  The fabric is sturdy yet breathable so baby stays cool.  Rebozo (short wrap) w/out fringe – $50 + shipping with fringe – $60 + shipping
The Rebozo wrap originates in Mexico where it is used as a garment, baby carrier and a means to carry products home from the market.  They also are used by midwives to reposition babies from a posterior position to anterior one.  The price above will get you a basic wrap that is approx 3 yards long and 30 inches wide.  Wider wraps are available upon request.  I cut the fabric into a parallelogram shape and serge the edges.

For a more authentic look, fringes can be requested (as pictured), but will cost an additional $10 due to the amount of time it takes to pull 9 inches of weft thread out and tie off the remaining warp threads.  For this style wrap, the railings will be hemmed, and two supporting stitches will be added to each end to prevent the frayed area from receding into the wrap.

Long wrap – $50 + shipping

The babywearing possibilities are endless with this long piece of fabric!

The design of this wrap is similar to the above basic short wrap, only the width and length vary slightly.  The max width available, for the price listed, is 23 inches.  I can make it wider for an additional cost since anything wider will prevent me from being able to make an additional wrap.  Standard length is 5 yards long, but longer (or shorter) wraps can be requested.      Fabric for wraps and ring slings: Blue – 8 yards available Green – 6 yards available*I also have a little over 5 yards (22” wide) available for a long wrap Yellow – 5 yards available

Purple – 9 yards available

Yellow – 6 yards x 23inches; (3) cuts 3 yards x 46 inches

Prices for custom orders will vary depending on final Read More >>

My babywearing journey: discovering the Mei Tai carrier and Rebozo wrap

I have been baby wearing for close to 9 months now.  Up until Taylor was 6 months old, all I had ever tried were my trusty ring slings and Moby wrap.  Once she was able to sit up on her own I decided to try out carriers and wraps that would allow me to carry her on my back.  Being the thrifty person I am I searched the web to see if I could find DIY tutorials.

My first project was a Mei Tai.  Here are some pictures of two carriers that I made.

Sunset Strip Mei Tai Cool Stripe Mei Tai

I do love them, but also wanted to try out the long, woven baby wraps that I see seasoned babywearers rocking.  Before I had a Read More >>

Question Everything

One thing that I have come to learn as I journey through motherhood is that as parents, it is critical that we question everything.   Lately, I have been thinking about some of the common held beliefs that often go unquestioned.  One being that the advent of hospitals saved women and babies from childbirth.  ACOG perpetuates this notion with all their campaigning against home births.  The other claim is that vaccines eradicated deadly diseases.  The CDC has this one on their website most likely to reassure worried parents.  I have found that neither one of these claims tells the entire story.   My recent reading into the history of childbirth has concreted my beliefs that birth is not the risky venture that ACOG makes it out to be.  Many of complications that occurred during childbirth were and remain to be caused by man.

When women started using doctors as opposed to midwives, birth experienced some hiccups as most doctors had never even attended a live birth.  In addition, doctors tended to interfere more with the process which was dangerous considering the poor living conditions and hygiene practices.  Women who opted to have their babies at institutions often were forced to share beds with other women while rats crawled on the floor below them.  Male doctors would do frequent internal exams, often right after working on cadavers of women that had died from childbed fever.  Nurses were Read More >>

More than meets the eye

I came across a post in a pregnancy forum where a woman was blaming a tragic GBS newborn death on the mother’s decision to have her baby at home.  Some in the forum pointed out that pertinent information surrounding the GBS test and treatment was omitted.  Even so, this woman continued to use the unfortunate event to convince people that home births are dangerous.  At one point she begged for advocates of home birth to admit the risks and move on.  That by having a home birth the mother is putting her experience over the health of the baby.  The truth is there are risks to childbirth regardless of the place.  It just so happens that a lot of people have an easier time accepting tragedy when it happens in the hospital.  My aim is not to convince you of the safety of home birth as there are plenty of studies out there that confirm that.  My goal is to show there is more to this issue than meets the eye.     When deciding where to give birth, we usually start out by measuring the risks in tangible ways such as complications and death.  It is hard for us to evaluate the intangible consequences with a clear mind when such strong emotions are at play.  Many mothers have to go through a crappy experience to realize the importance of playing an active role in the decisions that take place during childbirth.  It is no coincidence that mothers who are dissatisfied with their experience often go on to struggle with postpartum depression.  How a mother feels during the birth of her baby will follow her for the rest of her life.  It plays a huge role in how she interacts with the newborn, how she feels about herself and how she interacts with others.  There are many studies that have been done that document this.  When we dismiss how a mother feels about her experience, it only serves to delay the healing process and ignores the problem at hand.  Surely this is an area we should be paying more attention to since all of us come from mothers. One only has to learn about the history of birth, to realize how much we don’t know.  From the prevalence of x-rays, gassing unwilling moms, doing away with midwives to routine episiotomies -it is clear to see the dangers in not exercising caution.  I am sure the people 50 years ago had a hard time accepting that their “new and improved” way could actually be causing more harm than good.  Something we should all consider when we are deciding what tests and procedures to have done.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all forms of intervention are bad.  I am very thankful that modern technology allows us to save babies and moms who would have otherwise not made it.  The problem is this life saving technology is being used in excess.  We have hit a point where it is creating problems for low risk women, who likely would have been fine had they been left alone.   Every woman has a different set of beliefs surrounding the process, her body and what she is comfortable with.  There are physical limitations as well.  Given these differences, every birth should be approached and treated as a unique event.  We need to concern ourselves more with what level of intervention is acceptable for low risk pregnancies and births, and ensuring informed consent takes place for those who want or need to go a different route.   That is far from where we currently stand.  Births are scheduled for convenience and managed for efficiency.  A number of machines are used to monitor mom and baby for the sake of malpractice risks.  Procedures are often carried out without informed consent.  This disturbing trend is exactly why more and more women are choosing to bring their babies into the world outside of the hospital.  It isn’t so much “the experience”, as it is about avoiding unnecessary risks that the management of birth brings.  There are hospitals that are trying their best to be sensitive to the unique needs of women, yet so many continue to do what is best for business.  This should be cause for concern for all who value the autonomy of women.