Monday, December 8, 2008

the media and pregnancy

As I get closer to my due date, I've been watching some of the pregnancy/baby shows on tv, and some of it just baffles me. I had a discussion last week with our birthing instructor about how our society kind of drives women towards pain relief and epidurals during labor, whereas in other countries women wouldn't even think of asking for pain relief. Now, I think it is perfectly natural to desire pain relief. Most of us don't enjoy pain, and I would suppose that labor pain is one that most women would wish not to feel.

That said, I was a little taken aback when watching a labor on tv where the narrator was seemingly astonished that the mother had refused pain relief, and then commented that she was "paying for it". It made childbirth without medication seem like an undesireable, crazy thing to attempt. I know women who gave birth without pain relief, and they all seem of sound mind to me. It irks me a bit that the media would dare portray any woman giving birth as anything less than brave and special.

I don't care if you've got pain relief or not... childbirth is hard work for every woman, and that should be acknowledged. I do think women who try for a labor without pain relief must be pretty determined to go against the "norm" and we should support them, not ridicule them.

Later in the same show the nursing mother was portrayed as "stuck at home" because she had to be able to feed the baby. I can see why new mothers would feel that way at the beginning when baby is feeding so often, and especially if they haven't been told what to expect with breastfeeding. But I also know many mothers who choose to nurse and manage to do that while still getting out of the house.

Maybe my point should be that having a baby isn't some kind of death sentence for the mother and father, like the media has a tendency to make it. It is a beautiful thing to raise a new life and we should praise God for the opportunity!

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