I just can't stop thinking about it.
Last night, I stayed up way too late to watch the Internet's first live birth. Twenty-three-year-old Lynsee and her husband agreed to live stream their birth the Gannett-run social networking site, MomsLikeMe.com. (As of right now, the video is still up.)
I learned about the birth on Twitter. I watched the action with an amazing group of women -- doulas, midwives, mothers and self-proclaimed birth junkies. The conversation continues today.
When I tuned in, Lynsee was laboring on the bed, on her knees, leaning up and over a birthball. She was doing beautifully. A bit later, she was in the tub, lights down, relaxing music on. I saw a woman in that sacred, private space that is labor. It was amazing.
Then she said she was tired, over and over again. She said she knew it was going to get worse and expressed doubt about her ability to cope with any more. Ultimately, she asked for -- and received -- an epidural.
This is where the conversation gets interesting. Some, today, are wondering how Lynsee will feel if/when she looks back on the Internet and sees criticism of her choices. But on Twitter, I didn't see criticism of her choices. I saw and heard a community of concerned women -- women who are themselves mothers, midwives and doulas -- screaming, HELP HER!
If you've had a baby before (and I'll assume you have, since you're reading a blog about raising boys), you know that labor gets rough. You know that it's a consuming, all-encompassing process. And you know that it's perfectly normal to wonder if you're up to the task. (Read my labor stories here.)
If you've studied birth at all, you may also know that "I'm tired" and "I can't do this anymore" are classic emotional signs of transition. And sure enough, Lynsee was 7 cm dilated just after her epidural.
What I heard on the Internet last night was not criticism of Lynsee's choices, but a community of women who wanted to reach through the screen and tell her, "You're doing great! You're DOING this, Lynsee. The baby is almost here."
No one in the room, though, told her those things during her moment of self-doubt. No one checked her prior to the epidural, or reassured her that she was almost done, that she was coping beautifully. Instead, they placed the epidural, chatted while the tired mom should have been resting and took her baby away just when the baby was beginning to root for milk.
I didn't hear criticism of Lynsee. I heard sadness, sadness that so few women today believe they can labor. That so few women have the support they really need as the bring new life into the world. Sadness, that despite our years of collective maternal wisdom, our voices are being silenced.
Women know how to have babies -- and we need to be free to share our thoughts with the world.
Thank you, Lynsee, for starting an important dialogue.
What do you think? Did you watch the live birth? Do you think the comments crossed the line into personal criticism?