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Natural Birth – what are you trying to prove? You won’t get a medal!

It’s interesting to see the responses from women to women who share what they are planning for their birth or their experience of having a “good birth” on social media. Natural birth – what are you trying to prove? You won’t get a medal. These are just some of the responses women are subjected to.

Now with social media we are seeing “women shaming” increasing on so many levels, and what makes me sad is now those women who are having really calm, positive and even pain free births are being shamed for sharing their incredibly positive birth stories.

Not only that, but women who are sharing that they want to have a drug-free / intervention free vaginal birth are being bombarded with comments by other women like:

“just get the epidural – no need to be a hero”
“what are you trying to prove? You don’t get a medal”
“you won’t get a gold medal for not having an epidural”
“you’ll be screaming for that epidural”
“Birth really hurts, you’ll see, you’ll change your mind once baby starts coming”
or even “let’s see how that goes hey” with the obligatory eye roll ……and on it goes.

Why wouldn’t you want to encourage a woman who has chosen to have a natural, physiological birth?

Why wouldn’t you want to wish another woman well for her birth experience, rather than intensifying the fear she may already be trying to release?

One woman told me that she birthed her 8.2 pound (3.7kg) posterior baby completely natural and drug free but had been bombarded with comments before birth of “take the drugs, they’re amazing” and “you won’t be able to do it drug free” and “you’ll end up asking for the drugs.”

Imagine if this strong woman had been bombarded with positive and encouraging language instead. She probably would have birthed the same way, but the difference would have been that in her mind she would be replaying all those powerful words and images of the people who reassured her and surrounded her with loving energy and that would have given her even more strength and confidence, particularly during those moments of weakness.

Another woman was laughed at and was told “that’s cute – you’ll see!” She went on to birth her baby completely drug free without any interventions (or vaginal checks) and she said that she felt “so empowered by it.”

One of my own beautiful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) clients was swamped with negative talk around her birth choices such as:

“Hahahaha that’s funny, you of all people think you can handle labour and birth without any drugs / pain relief?”
“Really but your pain threshold is zero hahaha. Just wait and see”
“Speaking from experience it’s a kind of pain you will just need pain relief because it hurts.”
“Why would you even want a drug free birth? That’s just silly.” 

She absolutely smashed her drug free / intervention free VBAC, and I am so proud that she is one woman who is not afraid to share her birth story far and wide – it even appeared in a national magazine recently.


There was also a mum who shared that she had a caesarean for her first birth and then was planning a VBAC for her next and some of the comments she received were:

“You still want to have an intervention and drug free birth? Did you not learn from your first?” and “You are going to end up traumatised again!”  

This mum went on to have THE best experience of her life and birthed her baby vaginally – how awesome is that? She too said that it was so empowering.

Even professional English soccer player Harry Kane was slammed recently when he proudly shared how his fiancé Kate Goodland gave birth using only hypnobirthing techniques and water immersion for pain management rather than drugs. Why shouldn’t he be proud and share that the birth of his child went according to the wants and needs of his partner – keeping in mind that this is what she prepared for, and subsequently went on to achieve that, which is definitely worth celebrating and being praised by her excited and proud partner Harry. I am absolutely appalled at the responses from so many women about this, and it is really starting to become concerning the way women are treated or verbally attacked after they have experienced a good birth.


Subconsciously women are planning their births based on what they see, hear, read or visualise and this can have a profound effect on how they feel about birth, so it is important for women to be exposed to positive birth stories.

Anyway, let’s look at it from a different perspective. If someone you knew was about to have major surgery, would you proceed to instill fear in them with all the “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios and things you’ve heard along the grapevine? Of course not! So why are we filling pregnant women with horror stories and fear and “you should do it this way, or you will be screaming the roof down.”

There are so many of my clients who are having the most beautiful birth experiences in all different environments – home birth, hospital birth and even caesareans births. However, they feel awkward that they had it so good compared to others, so they skip over their amazing and inspiring birth details and just settle on minimal details, when they are bursting inside to share their experience knowing a positive, calm and even pain free birth can be achieved.

They don’t want to offend anyone who didn’t have a good birth experience.

They don’t want women to feel bad they didn’t have the same birth experience.

They don’t want to feel guilty because they had a good birth.

They don’t want to be snubbed or ridiculed or criticised.

They don’t want to be seen as that “bragging mum” at mothers’ groups.

But really, they do want to share a life event that was so incredibly satisfying and important to them.

They do want to encourage and inspire other women.

They do want to be seen as building women up, not bringing them down.

One of my colleagues was telling me how she had a client who had an “orgasmic birth”, yet that woman felt she couldn’t tell anyone for fear of being shamed or criticised.

How sad for her that she cannot share that incredibly primal birth experience.

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Why has it become more appropriate to share traumatic births that spread like bush fire, and subdue women who want to share their positive, amazing birth stories?

Why are so many movies and TV series depicting birth as a torturous life event with excruciating consequences?

Question after question, it boggles my mind but more so it causes so much sadness for the huge number of women bursting to share their amazing birth stories but feel they can’t.

Most women already have an underlying fear about birth and the unknown. It is not helpful when someone then intensifies that fear with a horror birth story about someone else’s experience.

Every woman deserves to have her own experience!

Let’s get real though, not all births are easy, calm and pain free. Some women don’t have a good experience with their birth but there are just as many women who have births that are beautiful and positive but are hesitant to share.

There are many traumatic life events where the risk is rare, let’s say 1% – but unfortunately that means someone is going to roll the dice of life and have that traumatic experience – they become part of that 1% statistic, so for them this is their reality. For example, the risk of placenta abruption is 1.2% so that is 12 in every 1000 births there will be women who experience a placenta abruption – that means those women will go through that trauma. For those women it is their life, it is their experience, and their experience should not be dismissed.

Those women may want to share their story as part of their grieving and healing process, and they should be encouraged to do so because they keep that memory for the whole of their life, and it may impact their future pregnancies and birth and their story is important to them.

On the other hand, we also need to encourage and give permission to the women who want to share their amazing birth experiences and embrace them with positive feedback and happiness for what they feel they have achieved, which again will always stay with them and is important to them as well.

These women don’t consider themselves to be heroes or better than anybody else. They understand that birth is unpredictable, and their birth could have gone a number of different ways, but it didn’t, and they are overjoyed by their good birth experience.

The stories that are told by both groups of women are important.

The perfect birth is not always possible, but a positive birth can be whatever you want it to be.

If you have a good birth story, please share it with enthusiasm and pride. 

Let me finish off with a video created by Lynette Lee from Moonglow Hypnobirthing when she was a student midwife, that was a way for her to express her midwifery philosophy. This video also has a beautiful song by Nina Lee – Sacred Pregnancy: The Deep Drink, which I found to be so powerful, and a good one for women to listen to and condition their mind to trust in themselves, their body and their baby.


The lyrics for the song speak deeply to your subconscious:

I am trusting myself,
to open to the world,
Of blessings pouring down,
And the strength of my heart pounding.
Inside I hold a gift,
Of hope and sweet, sweet innocence,
Of golden rainbows end,
Is bursting from within.

Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.
Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.

I am calming all the doubt.
Allowing only grace to surround me,
and the, Gentle Mother Earth,
to create only as it births.

Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.
Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.

And remember…..
I alone hold the key,
To this ancient mystery.
And remember…..
I alone hold the key,
To this ancient mystery.

Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.
Creator of life I am,
Abundantly divine I am,
Rooted in source,
Powerful life force.

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    About Vicki Hobbs

    My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy & Postpartum Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach.

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