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While women may initially choose natural birth in order to avoid the negative side effects of medical interventions, they choose it again because of the “I can do anything” feeling. The one common thread that shows up again and again in natural birth stories is the of empowerment that women get from natural birth. What a great way to start out motherhood!

I have heard many women recount their birth stories in the past two years while writing my book. I have heard many mothers speak about their medical-ized births with regret, resentment, and downright anger and tears. But I have never heard a mother regret her choice to have a natural birth. Almost every one would or will do it again with their future children. Here’s what some of the real moms from the book said was the biggest benefit of a natural birth.

“I felt FANTASTIC when it was all over! The best feeling of my life! Even though I’m not looking forward to labor again — really not — I’m praying God gives me the strength for a fifth natural childbirth in about 6 months – and I can’t wait for that feeling when the baby is placed in my arms!” -Anna

“The biggest benefit of having a natural birth was the robust health of my babies. Second was the immediate oxytocin/bonding benefits for me.” -Anjanette

“Having natural births allowed me to let go and bond amazingly well with my babies. The feeling afterwards is incredible and I think that the surrender involved with natural birth helped with parenting, as well. Children aren’t generally predictable and babies have their own schedules and rhythms and being able to surrender and follow their rhythms and needs seemed to be rather a natural extension of the surrender required during their births.” -Betsy

“With Kieran’s birth, I am positive that having a natural birth at a birth center was the only thing standing between me and a cesarean section. Because he was posterior and it took so long for me to deliver him, I do not believe that I would have been allowed to labor for as long as I did at a hospital. With Ailia’s birth, my labor was simply empowering. I came to trust and believe in the strength and beauty of my body.” -Dionna

“To me, the biggest benefit of having a natural birth was gaining confidence in my body and my ability to bring a baby into the world. I was present the entire time and I experienced the sensations with a whole clarity that helped me discover how to improve my birth experience. This paid off because we quickly got pregnant with our second baby just four months later.”-Jeannette

“The biggest benefit was being in the comfort of my own home and trusting God, my body and my husband to bring our gift into this world. There were no bright lights or fear. I knew my body was going to do what it was meant to do and we had total peace about it.”-Holly

“I think the immediate connection my son and I had. No problems nursing, no weight problems and fast recovery for me. Had I not had a natural birth I would have had a c-section because he had the cord around his neck [and had a unreassuring heartbeat]. Because I labored standing up where it didn’t effect his heartbeat we were able to do so. If I was drugged I wouldn’t have been able to stand and they would have cut him out if me.” -Lisa

“no side effects :), being fully aware of everything that was going on in my body, having a husband who I needed to support me and was willing to do so”-Maria

“Being totally coherent when my baby was placed on my chest, as well as having a very quick recovery from labor.”-Katherine

“The biggest benefit of having a natural birth was to feel a sweet, real, and powerful connection to my female ancestors, all women and the earth itself by surrendering to the powerful process of childbirth, of a new life stepping bravely forward into this world. Because of my son’s birth, I feel more alive, more human, and more powerful.” -Tia

“I felt great immediately after giving birth; I could move around comfortably, and I felt clear-headed and STRONG.” Andrea

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