Being Serena: Owning Your Birth

Three things that came up while watching the first episode of HBO’s Being Serena:

  1. Serena really wanted to have a c-section.
  2. Choosing to be induced is almost like choosing a c-section.
  3. Knowing your body is critical for birthing.

While watching FEAR, the first episode of Being Serena, it was clear to me as a doula that Serena Williams wanted a c-section.  First of all, she literally said having a c-section would be easier for her and second her body language while talking to her doula made it clear she was not feeling the whole laboring process.  I am not judging c-sections, but I noticed something about Serena, something that I am putting more focus on in my wellness work and that is the importance of knowing and listening to your body!  If you know your body and are in the practice of listening to your body, you are more likely to prevent, recognize and correct dangerous situations.

Though the first episode did not cover it, mainstream media reported weeks ago that Serena saved her own life, after birthing her daughter, by listening to her body and trusting that she knew her body better than the nurses and doctors around her, we will likely see that story on the next episode coming on Wednesday.

Knowing your body, being in an environment where you feel confident speaking up and having a loving and supportive birth team all help you own your birthing experience.  I have an e-book coming that guides pregnant women through choosing the best birth space and team for successful natural births.  Most people associate natural birth with home births and though this route works for me and many others, some families will have a better chance for a successful natural birth in the hospital.  To learn the different factors to consider when choosing your birth space and team join my mailing list here and I will send you an email when the book is available.




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Natural birth can happen anywhere but the one procedure to avoid if you want to birth naturally is an induction.  This is another reason I think Serena and her team were planning a c-section without planning a c-section.  Induction is basically “jump-starting” labor on a chosen date by taking medications to make the uterus contract, it usually leads to a c-section because the process stresses the baby and mom.  On the show we saw the typical result of induction, hours of unproductive contractions, a tired mama and heart stressed fetus.  This happens because medical formulas don’t quite match the body’s process for starting labor.  The documentary The Business of Being Born gives great information about the physiological and financial implications of inductions.

Used to be you didn’t have a choice how to birth, these days you do have choices and the decision should ALWAYS be the mother’s.  I am looking forward to next week’s episode when hopefully Alexis Olympia Ohanian will make her first live appearance!

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