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Opinion: C-section, medicated, ‘natural’: There’s no wrong way for a mother to give birth

A mother breast-feeds her newborn child.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: In 1950, pregnant with my first child, I read Grantly Dick-Read’s “Childbirth Without Fear.” I urged my respected obstetrician to let me deliver “naturally,” or drug-free. His astonishment was obvious. (“Is ‘natural motherhood’ more feminist?” Opinion, Nov. 17)

In those days, that meant no husband present either. For five hours, alone, I suffered a rising river of pain. Finally, no longer able to stand it, I begged for relief. The “shot” put me under — so deep I was still unconscious when my 11-pound, 3-ounce baby boy was born. Subsequently, with five more births, only one was exactly as Dick-Read described — relatively fast and mostly pain free.

Since then I’ve seen a daughter and daughter-in-law give birth, one with no drugs, the other with an epidural. Both scenarios came out great.

My point? Childbirth pain is neither ennobling nor necessary, and nothing is gained by being a “martyr.” Women should feel free to follow their own inclinations.

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Maralys Wills, Santa Ana

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To the editor: I gave birth to daughters in 1982, 1984 and 1988 using a birthing chair, the Bradley Method of breathing techniques and skin-to-skin bonding. I used attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding.

By the time I had my last daughter in 1991, these methods were already going out of fashion and were viewed with skepticism. I’m glad to hear that the pendulum is again swinging away from the medication of motherhood.

As a committed feminist, I respect every mother’s choices, but I would not trade the time I spent at home mothering my daughters. Our one-income family did not live lavishly, but my daughters are now kind, compassionate, inquisitive, motivated, self-assured, feminist adults. I have been back in the workforce for many years now.

I’m one of those old ladies who tell young mothers to treasure the lovely interlude of the childhood years that fly. Follow your instincts, and stick with Mother Nature.

Valerie Schultz, Lancaster

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To the editor: My son (now 26) was born via Caesarean section after 22 hours of exhausting, unproductive labor. I hate to think what would have happened had I not been in a hospital with personnel and facilities to do a C-section when things went south.

In the days and weeks after delivery, my little angel and I had trouble breast-feeding, but La Leche League extremists kept insisting that, if I bottle fed him, he would be sickly and undernourished. He turned out to be a very fine, healthy, successful adult.

Feminism involves women being able to make decisions that are in the best interests of themselves and their children. Women should not be shamed into thinking that C-sections and bottle feeding are morally inferior.

Frances Segal, M.D., Rancho Mission Viejo

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