When I gave birth two months ago it was a beautiful and powerful experience.
Sitting in my hospital bed, I thought a lot about the first world gift of choice. I had wanted to have a”natural” birth at home or in a birthing center. But, after looking around at the options, thinking about my husband and I’s own personalities, and counting our $$$ I decided that I would give birth in a hospital with a doctor. While we weren’t able to be in a birthing center like I had wanted, I WAS able to find a doctor who was chill with no pills. And, even if it was in a hospital setting, it was still a beautiful experience.
Being waited on by the nurses and staff gave me a lot of time to sit and reflect. I was able to sink into the reality (and wonder) of becoming the mother of a newborn again. I was also hit by the fact that my experience was oh so much different than my friends’ in the village.
While I was able to schedule appointments to have every little thing checked, my friends were having to walk for half a day to get to the hospital (or wait for the nurse to come up into the mountains). While I clearly saw on the ultrasound that Ezra was healthy and had no problems, my friends were waiting until birth to find out that their baby had a heart defect. While I was giving birth in a clean and comfortable hospital, my friends were giving birth in a small, tight little hut crowded with people. While I picked up the phone and ordered a meal, my friends were waiting until some corn could be boiled or going without tea because there was no money to buy market goods.
To be honest I didn’t want to go to the doctor so often. It felt like a waste of money for them to tell me that everything was fine (I could feel that everything was fine). I didn’t want all of the ultrasounds. I wanted to give birth at home. And I would have liked the hospital meals to be healthier. But that is the first world gift of choice.
The idea of women who give birth naturally in the village is overly romanticized. It’s true that there are good things about how my friends in the village give birth. They would much rather be at home, and it is more of a comfortable place for them than the local hospitals. They are surrounded by friends and aunts and mothers, and have someone to help out through the long sleepless nights of life with a newborn. They never feel isolated. And they are usually able to take it easier for a while. Some births are easier because they are used to squatting, and are strong. But because there are very few choices available when things do go wrong, there are babies and mamas that don’t make it. That so rarely happens in the first world.
I am grateful that I have choices. I am grateful too that I get to be the part of my village friends’ stories. I am praying about how I can be a part of helping them to find more choices.
*the links I included are to articles I found interesting, but I don’t necessarily endorse the entire website.