Crunchy= natural, green, environmental, granola.
Cradle= birth, baby, breastfeeding, pregnancy.
Catholic= One, Holy, Universal, and Apostolic Church

Monday, July 9, 2012

Birth Choices and Morality

This is a post that I have been considering writing for quite some time.  I just haven't been quite sure of how to tackle it.

I am a birth fanatic....I love to read about birth, watch videos of women giving birth, go to births, birth children of my own...you get the picture.  I even teach classes on how to give birth.

As a Catholic I bring important decisions to prayer, and pray for God's will.  In my prayer about the births of my own children, I began to reflect on the ways in which women give birth and care for their babies.  My conclusions, and where I think God has led me through prayer, is contrary to the main stream (popular) thought of how women are supposed to birth their babies and how they're supposed to care for them.

God made a woman's body to be able to birth a baby.  Even before there were doctors and hospitals, women got pregnant, labored and birthed well enough to populate the earth.  Women and babies have died during childbirth, (we no longer live in the Garden of Eden) but we have discovered ways to monitor them and to prevent some things from going wrong.  But, in the name of technology and in order to try to escape the pain of birthing, we have interfered with God's design.  For example,  the majority of women in the United States chose an epidural for pain relief during labor. There are many hormones that orchestrate the birthing process.  When a woman has an epidural we change the amount and the way these hormones are released in the body.  (www.sarahbuckley.com).  When we interfere with hormones, we interfere with bonding and breastfeeding, and "mothering".  I would go so far as to say that we can interfere with the potential relationship and parenting of that mother and child.  Is it a sin to get an epidural during labor?  I would say no, but perhaps there is a better way. 

(I often hear to argument that you wouldn't have a root canal done without anesthesia, so why would you want to have a baby without an epidural?  These things are so different that they cannot compare.  Birth is a normal body process that involves many normal hormones.  Having a root canal is a remedy for a sick or dying tooth, birth is just the opposite, it is the transition to new life).

The reason the devil is to be greatly feared, is not so much that evil is always obvious, but because he is sneaky, the "father of lies", things often appear good on the outside, but underneath the fruit is rotten.  What if getting an epidural during labor (numbing the pain seems good, right?) is really an attempt to interfere with God's design for mothers, babies, and families?

The next step would be to interfere with Breastfeeding.  It's no secret that most mother's in the United States use formula or use bottles to feed breastmilk to their babies.  Breastfeeding is the way God made a woman's body to be able to care for her child.  It is so much more than just food.  Breastfeeding, is about bonding, parenting, and loving your child.  Again, there are so many intricate hormones that are at play in both the mother's and the baby's body.  Why do we think that we can do it better than the way God made it?  Is it a sin to give your baby a bottle?  No, but perhaps there is a best way (God's way) and an other way that Satan tries to make popular, in order to create yet another division in the family.

It's no secret that our culture is hurting,  Families are hurting.  Families are broken and many children in our country are hurting.  Divorce isn't the only thing that is tearing our families apart, I would dare to go back even farther, to birth.  Satan attacks the unborn in the womb, of course he tries everything he can to tear these precious ones from their parents even at birth and during infancy.

Parenting is difficult, I am learning everyday how to be a better parent, but I do believe that I have given my children the very best start to life that they could get!


Theresa Reynolds said...

Unfortunately, we disagree. I am actually a bit offended that you think that the devil has used formula and epidurals to create a wedge in the family unit. I am a mother of four (twins are on the way) and I needed an epidural with both labors because my labor was not progressing. I have a qualified and certified midwife who tried to get the babies to move on their own. My labors were 21 and 23 hours. I believe the epidural led me to giving birth safely with both children.

I do not plan on having an epidural with my twins but I will do what is necessary to have my children come into the world safely and happily.

In regards to breastfeeding... you are VERY lucky that you are able to breastfeed. I am assuming your husband makes enough money so that you only have to work when it is convenient (this is not meant to be sassy, I wish this was the case for me but it isn't). I was able to nurse for 2 months, and pumped for the last with my first child. I am a teacher and I leave at 6 am and get home at 4 pm. I need to work this job to make pay my student loans from Franciscan University because my parents had six kids, my mom stayed at home, and they could not pay for our college. I get no breaks during the day to pump because I was working. Breastfeeding did not come naturally to me with my first child. And when my husband would bring me our child and I would be crying in pain with swollen/bleeding/cracking nipples it did not encourage a beautiful bond with my child. I was finally able to ignore breastfeeding bullies and start to enjoy/love/be amazed by my relationship with my son by switching him to formula. My second child was able to nurse for 6 months and it was a beautiful experience.

I cannot wait to breastfeed the twins, but if I cannot do it, I will not sacrifice my bond with my child to satisfy an urge to feel like an adequate mother by others' standards.

I feel like this article is turning people away from the faith more than encouraging them to grow deeper in their faith.

I hope that you do not take offense to this response. I really just hope to show you that you should not hide your preferences behind the mask of religion or religion becomes tainted.

Amy said...

We have a lot in common. I too have had to work in order to pay off those student loans from FUS. I wish I could only work when it was convenient, but I have been working and pumping/breastfeeding for all of my children. I have chosen to work night shift and weekends, so that one parent was always at home with my children. I do think that God intended for mothers to be at home and care for their children...and that is my point, we live in a society where that is very difficult!

I know there is a time and a place for epidurals and formula, but like I said at the beginning of the post, we must take these things to prayer. I think that too many women and families are making choices without bringing them to prayer first. I have worked as a nurse with laboring women, and I can tell you that many of the decisions that are made regarding these things are based on fear and not on what is really best for mom, baby and family.

I am not trying to use religion to push my birth preferences, this is something that, like I said, I have taken to prayer. For me it was more than just a medical decision to have a natural birth, it was also a spiritual one.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how an epidural interferes with breast feeding? I had 5 children, each with epidurals, and successfully nursed each child immediately upon birth and exclusively for the first year of life. I believe the problems with epidurals that can lend themselves towards problems with nursing are not, in fact from the actual epidurals, rather from inept physicians giving too much pain medication or hospital staff being too blah zee regarding the importance of immediate nursing and/or adequately informed lactation assistants in early hours of life.

In terms of damage to a family... Satan pulling families apart... Really would u argue a main way he does this is through epidurals and formula usage? Really? That is astounding to me. Personally, I see him attacking unborn children in abortions, in drug use temptations by mothers, even (and this is a reach) in parents who choose day care 12 hours a day for their children when other options r available.
As mothers and sisters in Christ, I feel it is our duty and joy to lead others to Christ thru supporting one another and being a Christlike example.... Definitely not easy as a mother of 5 under age 8, with no family support and a husband who works 100 hour weeks so that I stay home with our children....But I don't believe alienation and finger pointing are effective ways to lead others to God... Even if they are veiled under the best of intentions.

Amy said...

Perhaps I should have posed this as a question: Is it possible that Satan, in a subtle way, is breaking down families beginning even at birth, with, for example, epidurals, a lack of breastfeeding, c-sections, daycare, etc?

I am not pointing blame, but simply pointing out things about our culture. I am a working mom....I desperately wish I could be a stay at home mom, but there are aspects of our culture that make it very difficult to parent they way we want.

Amy said...

Having an epidural doesn't mean that one cannot breastfeed, but it can hinder breastfeeding:

Epidurals do have an effect on a mother's level of oxytocin, the hormone that is important for bonding and breastfeeding:


Anonymous said...

I think people also have to take accountability for their own actions and their own sins. When we sin, our life here on earth is effected. Even when we repent, go to confession, and are forgiven, this doesn't mean the temporal damage is gone from our lives. An example I can give, from personal experience: When you are irresponsible, and mismanage your money, this leads to debt. Or, they lived outside their God-given means and got caught up with material possessions they thought they needed but did not. This can lead to both husband and wife sometimes needing to work- or husband having to work two jobs and then not spending needed time at home. Although this may be NECESSARY once they are in that situation, had they been more responsible in the first place and managed their money better, they may not have been forced to work more to provide for their family. But instead, they didn't do the right thing, and now their bonding with their children is effected because they have to work instead of stay home and nurse. Don't get me wrong- there are plenty of people out there who have had situations come up beyond their control and no fault of their own. But I think often we forget the damage we do to ourselves and the consequences that can come long after when we sin. Sometimes we mistakenly think we are doing the "right" thing or God's plan when really we put ourselves in a bad situation with no good choices. Once there we can make the best of it, but it's still not necessarily what God would have wanted in the first place. Hope that makes sense, and is just one example in regards to not being able to nurse because someone has to work.

follow me

follow me