Oh dear. British midwife Dr Denis Walsh has broken my cardinal rule about discussing pain relief and childbirth: no uterus, no opinion.
Despite having never been in labour and not likely to ever endure anything quite so painful IN HIS LIFE, Denis believes that women need to toughen up and suffer the pain of childbirth. Apparently it helps us to bond with our babies. Oh. I didn’t realise indescribable pain was a bonding experience. Perhaps in wedding ceremonies, instead of kissing at the end of the ceremony, the newlyweds could just poke each other’s eyes with burning sticks to seal the deal…
News Ltd is reporting today….
He believes that women should endure the agony of labour, which is a rite of passage for building a special bond with the child. Australian birthing experts have called his comments “dangerous.”
While more women are relying on pain relief instead of opting for a natural birth, “there is a time and place” for epidurals, Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen of the Australian College of Midwives said.
“There is normal pain and abnormal pain. When women are having long hard labour there are times that . . . an epidural is required,” she said. “I would not want to say that having epidurals stops a special bond.
According to the British doctor, too many women have an epidural because celebrities and movies portray pain relief as normal.
In his article, Dr Walsh warns that normal birth is in danger of being “effectively anaesthetised by the epidural epidemic”.
“Over recent decades there has been a loss of the ‘rites of passage’ meaning to childbirth, so that pain and stress are viewed negatively,” Dr Walsh said. “A large number of women want to avoid pain.
“Some just don’t fancy the pain (of childbirth).” He urged women to use yoga, hypnosis and massage to overcome pain. The comments were published in a journal produced for the Royal College of Midwives in the UK.
The president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Ted Weaver, said the comments were “offensive.”I think it’s drawing a long bow to say that people don’t bond well with their child,” Dr Weaver said.
Ok, I’m going to take a deeeeep breath here and speak only from my own experience. I have given birth three times, twice with epidurals and once without. Looking at it objectively, I believe FOR ME (not for you or anyone else neccessarily but FOR ME), my most traumatic birth was the one without pain relief.
It wasn’t that I was trying to be a hero, just that the anaesthetist was busy and never came. I can joke about it (and go into all my birth stories in my memoir which will be out in 6 weeks) but for me, it was pretty distressing and I wasn’t able to enjoy that birth in the same way I could enjoy the others.
Excrutiating pain – FOR ME – made it very very difficult to be present and calm in the moment. I was literally frantic with the pain.
What pisses me off about this British dude is that he is feeding into all the fears of women who feel embarassed or ashamed or fearful of saying “this hurts too much, I want some help”.
I’ve never believed you get a medal for doing it the toughest. I’ve always believed it should be a personal choice.
Now, I’m going to open comments with a caveat. Feel free to give your opinion and share your experience but let’s try very hard not to justify our own experiences and opinions by somehow denegrating other women’s. I will delete any comments that go down that road – and I’ll also delete responses to those comments so don’t take the bait.