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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.

Triangle Community Birth Stories began in August. Its next monthly meeting  is at 4 p.m. Saturday at The Diapering Doula, 4109 Grace Park Dr., in Morrisville.

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."

For more information about the group, send them an email at rtpbirthstory@gmail.com, check it out on Facebook or go to its website.

2 Comments

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  • babbleon Nov 15, 2011

    I wanted to deliver naturally, but I had gestational diabetes, so I got induced. You can't do any of the pain-management techniques with an induction, so I went with an epidural. I napped through half the labor, then had a lovely, fun labor. Yeah, fun. And my son is just fine, thank you!

    My only concern is that many people on both sides of the debate use fear to persuade: oh, it hurts SOOOO much vs oh, you're risking the life and health of your child.

    I'm not going to knock anyone who makes either decision, no matter when they make the decision. What you do is right for you, ladies. This is *your* body and you know best what you want. Don't let anyone else decide for you - the most important thing is for you to decide what works for *you*, and not be guilted or shamed by other people's attitudes. They can do what they want with their births, you do what you want with yours.

  • swirlgirl027 Nov 15, 2011

    I delivered all 3 of my babies naturally. I wanted to do what was best for my baby. I decided that I was going to try and do it on my own, and if I couldn't then I would decide then about medication. But, my thinking was that I would never know if I didn't try. I don't knock anyone for having medication if they need it, that is their choice. To each his own. What bothers me is when women don't think they can do it and have already made up their mind before they reach their second trimester that they will have an epidural. I believe that knowledge and preparation is key, as well as believing in yourself and your body.