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Epidural Anyone?

I found a list of things to know about birth. It is written as a comic article and posted on a Christian website. I share it because I find it fascinating that it pushes epidural, belittles pregnancy and that starts some interesting conversation at the end.

There is this divide that happens among Christian women.  Either they embrace the body and the natural birth experience as designed by God, or they embrace epidural and medical technology as gifts from God.  And for the most part, these two groups don’t seem to “get” each other.  Each thinks the other side is corrupting young women, the epidural crowd by promoting a distrust of God and the natural crowd by promoting guilt.

And you know its funny but this seems to fall right back to those verses in Genesis again.  What you believe about God and fertility affects the way you look at childbirth.

If labor is a punishment you will try to avoid it and the pain associated with it.

If the body was designed to birth you would be more trusting of your ability to handle it.

Helen Wessel, the woman whose writings inspired the Apple Tree Family Ministries blames this great divide on bad translations.  She pointed out that the word translated as pain for the woman was the same word translated as work for the man.  She blamed this difference of translation on the cultural acceptance that childbirth was unbearably painful.  Instead of trusting the Bible, the translator trusted their experience.

I have no plans for ways to bridge this divide.  If you are anything like me you back out of conversations when yours is the minority opinion because there are times when people are open to opposing ideas, and times when those opposing ideas are not welcome. But it makes me wonder, if we won’t really talk about it, how will we ever be able to truly support each other?

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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