Taking Charge of Giving Birth
Cynthia Overgard

Original Article Published in Pathways Winter 2009 Issue more info available at http://www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org

A commitment to natural delivery in a birth center, without doctors or pain relief of any kind on the premises, was the farthest notion from my mind the summer I learned I was pregnant. Like many other newly expecting women, I reluctantly envisioned my hospital birth to resemble every other actual and fictitious birth I had known. Agonized and disoriented, I would be rushed into a medical scene amid bright lights, confusing equipment and an assortment of intense, unfamiliar faces. I envisioned myself in the usual, dreaded position of lying on my back with knees bent, nobly trying to resist an epidural for as long as possible before finally acquiescing to the temptation, praying all the while that my baby and I would not be harmed by the anesthesia. This vision, unsettling as it was, was far too deeply ingrained by society and mainstream media for me to have realized I could choose otherwise.

At the same time, I was haunted to know that surgical births were fast becoming the norm in the United States, and in fact cesarean sections had skyrocketed from 1 in 20 births to 1 in 3 within my lifetime. What was a rarity thirty years ago had earned its rank as our country's most common major surgery, and I dreaded the possibility that my obstetrician might deprive me of my birthing experience by performing the quick but drastic procedure without irrefutable evidence that doing so was truly a matter of life and death. That early in my pregnancy, I had yet to learn that cesareans statistically posed a far greater mortality threat to both mothers and babies over vaginal birth. I was guided instead by my intuition: If my body was capable of doing something so astounding as to create and deliver into the world another human being, then I wanted to experience that miracle for myself...

About the Author:
Cynthia Overgard became a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner and a natural birthing advocate after the birth of her son, Alex.  In June 2009, Cynthia experienced another water birth when she gave birth to her 9 lb. 7 oz. daughter, Vanessa, during a planned home birth.  She and her family live in Westport, Connecticut, and enjoy a holistic, vegetarian lifestyle.  Cynthia is a Professor of Finance at the University of Connecticut and a published writer.  To contact Cynthia, visit www.HypnoBirthingCT.com. 

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