Natural Birth Requires Commitment
Some couples do zero preparation and still have a natural birth, I'm not denying that it's possible. However, with the social, cultural, and medical obstacles to normal birth couples face today, there's usually a great deal of luck involved when that happens. Commitment can come in the form of the financial commitment of hiring a doula, midwife, purchasing books and taking a birth class; the time commitment of traveling for access to a supportive provider, taking a comprehensive natural childbirth class, practicing relaxation exercises and following up on resources your teacher gives you; and the commitment to take responsibility for your birth by getting the information you need to make informed decisions. In a birth class I provide information that I expect couples to take in, process, and make their own. When you are in the thick of birth you won't remember what I posted about two months ago, it has to be something you have intentionally learned about, in context, and made the information apart of you.
Natural Birth Requires Context
Do you remember what it was like to take a college class? There was an order to learning the subject. Your professor had specific information that came in the beginning of the course, then built upon that information over the semester, and then finally at the end, if you showed up and did the work, you had an understanding of the subject. If your professor just gave you random articles and answered questions as you thought of them without providing context with a structured curriculum, your knowledge of the material would be disjointed and likely inadequate. This is one of the reasons why taking a class is so important. I can't speak for every curriculum, but each of the ten Birth Boot Camp classes play a part in preparing couples for a natural birth. The information is built upon, strategically presented so it makes sense and is easy to learn. Will I withhold information I teach in a class from my friend who asks, absolutely not, but my advice lacks context so it may not be as valuable as it may seem.
Natural Birth Requires Forethought
If you posted or texted me that you are in labor chances are I'll be up refreshing the screen until you post a birth announcement... so calling me at 2am because you need advice isn't an issue. I've answered those calls, I will give it my all every time... but I'm sad to say it usually doesn't help if the couple hasn't prepared beforehand. When you are blindsided by an induction or cesarean recommendation in the final weeks of pregnancy, or your water breaks at the onset of labor but you had planned to labor at home... it's too late to consult google, or me, or that book you promised yourself that you'd read. Now it's happening, your emotions are involved, maybe your provider or partner is playing on your fears and you are questioning everything... but even if you find the right advice for that moment, lacking the reasons behind the advice will make it very hard to follow.
I'm not that doctor who rolls their eyes when someone says "hey can you look at this?" at a party. I love to talk about my work and I want you to ask me questions. But without making the decisions necessary for a natural birth like taking a class and hiring a supportive provider, my advice will not be enough. It sure would be flattering if it was. I hope my rants on social media and blog posts inspire my friends to learn more and take responsibility. I'm cheering you all on from my computer screen!