New group offers place for women to share, hear stories of childbirth
Posted November 14, 2011
Updated November 15, 2011
A new group in the Triangle aims to provide a place for women to share and hear stories about childbirth.
The group is the effort of three local moms - Anna O'Connell, Jennifer Ballew and Mamie Hall. They want women to share and hear stories about all kinds of childbirth experiences - from natural delivery to those that involved medical interventions.
"When I was preparing for the birth of my son I noticed that, in addition to commenting on how huge I was, people loved to tell me how painful and horrible labor was going to be. It was even worse if I dared to reveal that I was hoping to deliver without the use of any pain medications," O'Connell wrote me in an email. "'You'll see,' women would say, 'I was screaming for an epidural as soon as I got to the hospital.' It was pretty discouraging and so I just stopped talking about my plans and wondered if maybe they were right."
But O'Connell kept looking for people who supported her desire to deliver without medications. And she found it in books, an online natural childbirth support group and her doula. She also sought out women who had delivered naturally and talked to them about their experiences.
"In the end, I had an amazing birth experience," she wrote. "It was very intense, but also incredibly empowering. I credit my experience to the preparation my husband and I did in our childbirth class as well as to the positive stories I heard that helped me understand what was happening and not be afraid."
Some of those positive stories about childbirth came from Ballew, her sister-in-law, and Hall, the wife of a co-worker.
"They didn't have anything scary to say at all. They just told me the facts, which is exactly what I was craving," O'Connell says. "After my son was born, I found that I desperately wanted to share my experience with other women and let them know that birth doesn't have to be scary."
The three women got together to start the group, which meets about once a month. Meetings include several invited speakers - all local women who have recently delivered a baby. The speakers share their birth stories and there is a time for discussion and questions. A birth professional, such as a doula, childbirth educator or midwife, also is on hand to answer clinical or health-related questions.
Anyone, from new and expecting mothers or fathers and birth professionals to women or couples planning to get pregnant, are welcome to attend.
"It's about being real, but without all the drama and exaggerated stories," O'Connell says. "Hopefully we can help to demystify the birth process and remove some of the fear surrounding it."