Childbirth and around the world

This is the hardest post I have written yet, as I unfortunately do not have personal experience with childbirth. I am however excited to have children one day and to have that feeling that a little person is growing inside of me and I can only fathom that it is an unbelievable feeling and blessing and how ironic is it that one body becomes two. However although birth can be beautiful it can also be scary and painful.

When I was reading up about women giving birth and what they remembered about the event was that;

  • They felt their body was ‘open’ to the world.
  • They felt that their body’s boundaries stretched and widened.
  • They felt raw and exposed and that others around them expected them to open up more.
  • Some women felt it awe-inspiring and overwhelming as their body split and became two.
  • Some women remember that when they first looked at their newborn they said “Where did the baby come from?” as if it was foreign.
  • Some women just did not have a good experience, it was long, sore, tiring and they were bruised.

Contrary to what most people think birth is not always easy and beautiful and some women just do not have a good time and so I chose to look at the positive and negative feedback about the birthing experience. I do however hope that my birthing experience one day will be positive.

In my opinion from what I have read about children and how it plays a huge role in child development it can be dependent on how you decide to give birth and the level of stress the child goes through in birth and the mothers level of stress and if they are depressed or not. As children who were born by C-Section by age three have the chance of experiencing childhood obesity and can battle to breastfeed as mom has undergone major surgery compared to a child who has been born naturally and inherits good gut bacteria (Berger, 2015). I think babies that are born prem can have a rough and stressful start to their life with varied diseases such as colic, yellow-jaundice and their level of maturity may be lower than if they were born on their actual due date. In my opinion how a baby comes into the world can have a negative or positive affect on their later development in every area of their life.

In South Africa giving birth can either be a good or bad experience as it depends on whether you are on public or private healthcare. Most women in South Africa receive pre-natal care during their pregnancy and public healthcare facilities have nurses and midwives, however their is a high mortality rate in these public hospitals as the care for babies and their mothers  can be basic, especially in rural areas. However if a mother is on private healthcare they will receive first class care and facilities.

It is said that a lot of women opt for caesarean births as they know exactly the day when their child will be born instead of waiting for the unknown, it is also said that a lot of gynaecologists and paediatricians push mothers to have caesareans as the doctors can book their days as to when they want to play golf and by booking more caesarians the doctors earn more money according to an article by Child, (2014). I am not sure what to believe but I do know from listening to friends that the above is true both for the mother and doctors.

Lastly a lot of births also happen at home or in water and it depends on the African tribe you belong to as to how you should deliver your baby. For example in the Xhosa culture birth is a rite of passage and is therefore treated with respect, honour and celebration. The birthing mother is taken care of by grandmothers in a thatch like home and they have experience in birthing babies. After the birth the mother and new baby are isolated until the cord falls off. The grandmother aids this process by mixing ash, sugar and a poisonous plant called ‘Umtuma’ together and rubbing the paste onto the newly severed cord, which is believed to aid the drying out process. Once the cord has fallen off, the new baby is introduced to close female family members as well as to women of the wider community (Spiritual birth, 2011).

Berger, K.S. (2015). The beginnings. In Berger, K.S. Editor (7th ed.). The developing person through childhood (3-22). New York, NY: Macmillan

Child, K. (2014, September 22). Why South Africans choose Caesars when giving birth. Times Live. Retrieved from http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/09/22/why-south-africans-choose-caesars-when-giving-birth

Spiritual birth. (2011). Sacred Xhosa Birth Rituals: South Africa. Retrieved from http://www.spiritualbirth.net/sacred-xhosa-birth-rituals-south-africa

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3 thoughts on “Childbirth and around the world

  1. Wow – I found it interesting that in South Africa there are such varied approaches to childbirth, from scheduled C-sections in a hospital attended by doctors to giving birth naturally in a hut attended by older tribal members. I wonder what percentage of women in South Africa nowadays prefer the more traditional birthing methods and how many opt for more modern birthing practices.
    Your point about doctors scheduling C-sections because they are more convenient and can be planned for rather than for a viable medical reason is something I have heard about here in the US. When my aunt was pregnant, her doctor told her she would need a C-section well before her ninth month, and she believed him since it was her first pregnancy and he was a medical professional. As she continued to go to prenatal doctor’s appointments and started chatting with the other pregnant women in the waiting room, she discovered that every single one of them had also been told that they would need a C-section. It seemed that this particular doctor simply didn’t want to be woken in the middle of the night because somebody’s water broke at an inconvenient time. Given some of the health risks we now know to be related to Caesarean birth (like a higher chance of obesity, as you mentioned), it seems wrong for doctors to plan for C-sections unless, of course, there is a viable medical reason for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have given birth to 2 boys and the little fact information that you have in blue is pretty scary. It is amazing how mothers give birth in other countries, but when all is said and done, when you see your little bundle of joy, then you know it was well worth all of the pain. When a person does get a C-section, I guess the reason why the doctors want them to get one is because they have to stay longer in the hospital. I guess it’s a good payday for the doctor, but not for the patient paying for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Justine,
    I have a friend from South Africa and she told me of her birthing stories. Her family was wealthy so she went to a private hospital to deliver her children. The idea of just scheduling your C-section is scary. If there is no medical need, these women are missing out on the experience of going into labor naturally. Also, how do we know that being induced isn’t somehow harming the child. However, It is true that once the baby is born, you have forgotten the horrible pain you were in just moments ago.

    Cynthia

    Like

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