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You are not the reason you had a good labour

I keep running across people lately who had beautiful, natural four hour labours, in the birthing pool, with golden angels singing from the rafters. Okay that's an exaggeration, but I generally mean varying degrees of relatively quick, complication-free, healthy labours and births and babies. Great! That's excellent. We are all happy, and I mean that sincerely.

The problem is that so many of those people will tell you why they had healthy, easy labours.

Hypnobirthing! Diet! Yoga! Working! Not working! No cheese! Sleeping on the left! Sleeping on the right! Not driving! Playing canasta! I made that last one up, but I have come across some real strange ones.


What nobody seems to talk about is that you are not the reason you had a good labour. Sure, being in good shape and eating the right nutrients and staying active is generally a good guideline, but it's just that, a guideline. The reality is that we can do these things to keep us occupied but at the end of the day it's all down to chance. You can do all the hypnobirthing in the world but if the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, that is not going to be a simple delivery. You can eat nothing but lentils but if the baby gets stuck up in there, things are getting complicated.

There's also a negative flipside to all this. You took care of yourself in pregnancy? Well the rest of us did our best too. Why did we have awful experiences? Again, CHANCE. There's an undertone of victim-blaming: the insinuation that if you had just taken better care of yourself, you would have had an easier time. Sure, let's take care of as many little details as we can, not drink alcohol, not eat germy foods, not take any unnecessary risks, but even most of those things we can control are minuscule. Let's do whatever makes us feel better. When it comes down to it though, the truth is that we get whatever is handed to us.

So, I'm glad you had a good labour. But please don't tell me it's because you took such good care of yourself. You're not the reason you had a good labour, and I'm not the reason I had a bad one.

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