Dear Natural Birth Club

the face of a proud mama (even if i was kicked out of your club)

Dear Natural Birth Club,

You know, I thought I would have easy access into your club. I was the no-interventions-thank-you, diving-in-the-birth-pool, I-am-mama-watch-me-push sort of woman.

Not that I think pushing makes me more of a woman. (But is that what you think? Cuz sometimes you make other mamas feel that way.)

But you gotta understand, my son had other plans for our special day; he had some ideas of his own about how to spend his birthday.

Apparently no matter how empowered and ready this mama felt, baby boy just wasn’t keen for a squeeze through that tunnel.

My boy is a strong lad. You know the type… the kind that wants to set himself apart from the crowd, the kind that’s got a mind of his own, the kind that’s—perhaps—a little bit like his mama.

And by that I mean breech of course… just like you-know-who way back in the late 70’s.

Let me remind you – I wanted to join in your club. I had every intention of acquiring membership.

But intentions weren’t enough.

My husband and midwife and I had grand plans. Hubs came dressed in his boardies, I came with the perfect playlist prepared… and baby boy blue came upside-down. (Or, uh, right-side-up?)

I might have made it into your club had I gotten a late term ultrasound… but let me remind you that out of the hundreds of babies my dear midwife has delivered (bless her precious heart) I was her one mistake (and her partner’s mistake, and about four other midwives who also checked me along the way). All of those sweet souls felt my boy’s head just where it belonged – engaged and read to go.

Except for the fact that it wasn’t.

{My boy had one bony bum… enough to fool ‘em all I guess.}

The reality is, some mistakes have a whole lot of implications. And you can’t very well turn a baby when mama’s already twelve hours into labor, now can you?

So really, doesn’t it count that I wanted to be “one of you”? Doesn’t it count that I thought like you and practiced like you and dreamed like you… for nine long months and twelve long hours?

Or does the fact that I now have a big old beautiful scar on my belly forever exclude me from your club?

Will I always be an outsider because I didn’t push?

Yes, Natural Birth Club, you’re incredibly exclusive. And maybe you don’t intend to be, but you’ve gotta know… that sometimes in your enthusiasm you make those of us who never quite made the cut feel a little bit… left out. Or even worse, lessor.

Disagree with me if you want, but I’m of the opinion that sometimes you can be a little bit snarky, a little bit snobbish, a little bit exclusive. Please don’t act all superior just because your birth plan went according to… plan.

But let me give you the benefit of the doubt. You probably don’t even mean to do it – you’re most likely just trying to advocate for women to know their options… But in your zeal please remember us wanna-be’s… and even those who deliberately choose otherwise. We all have our reasons.

{I’m tough too, you know. You try recovering from major surgery, constantly suppressing laughter—oooouch—at your husband’s unceasing dad jokes, and caring for a newborn all at once.}

So really Natural Birth Club, you and I – we aren’t all that different. We both wanted what’s best for our babies and what’s best for ourselves. It’s just that my road there (to happy baby-on-the-outside land) had a bend in it that yours didn’t.

I’m just sayin.

Be nice. Give me a hug. Let’s be friends. We’ve got more in common than you think.

an initially-disappointed-yet-extremely-grateful-and-proud
mama who sometimes feels just a little left out

p.s. I formed a new club: The Mamas Who Gave Birth Club. It’s a little more all-inclusive… and you’re absolutely welcome to join if you wish. No membership dues or initiation stunts required.

PLEASE NOTE: I’m actually a HUGE advocate for natural birth and believe it has many benefits to both mother and child. I would encourage any mom-to-be to be open to considering having a natural birth. I certainly will try for one again next time. This post was written tongue-in-cheek and not meaning to offend… but intending to draw light to how some can come across when “advocating” for their way, whatever their way may be. For the record, I’m a total natural birth wanna be… but supportive of moms making their own informed choices regarding birth. (Informed being the key word there!!!)

About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Christy
    7 August 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I hate that you've felt like that, not fun! I sometimes get that feeling about the Moms-Who-Breastfed club 😉 Tyler refused to latch, even after months of practice. And I still feel like the odd ball when my friends (on and offline) go on about breastfeeding. So I get it 🙂 I like your Moms Who Gave Birth club! <3

  • Greta
    7 August 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Totally hear you on that one. Only for me it's always been the "Stay at home mom's club–and how difficult it is to stay home." Well how about those of us that WANT and DREAM to stay at home and do not have the blessing to do that? How about those that spend every waking second at work longing to be home and not missing every moment of babes growing up? Yea, maybe I get to have a cup of coffee without having to re-warm it 30 times but I don't care. I sometimes long to have another baby so I get 3 more months of at home time with my kiddos. I understand it's hard work to stay at home–the hardest job there is–but don't ignore those of us that would do anything to trade! Mom's Club? Yea, that only meets during work hours. Play groups? Same thing. Just to rub salt in a wound…I don't get to be a part of any of that either.

  • Hannah
    7 August 2010 at 2:28 pm

    LOL, I am so going to join your group. I also had every intention of joining the "pushed", even though I did push for four hours with my first. I didn't get to join with either of my boys, they too had their own plans on how they were coming into this world. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  • Livy
    7 August 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I did have a sorta-natural birth. If you count pitocin + no pain meds. I just did it that way because I was more scared of an epidural than pain. I don't tell everyone. Only if they ask.

    It doesn't really matter how our children got here, only that they DID get here and safely at that.

    I am learning more and more as I go how many different clubs there are in mommyhood. We can never do everything "right." I am trying to not care and just do things the way I feel.

  • Mandy
    7 August 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I know how you feel!! I was one of those that intended to join the natural childbirth club as well. And although I was able to deliver vaginally, my son had plan to make it a bit harder and almost impossible to do so. One thing I've learned about childbirth, is that it rarely goes according to our plan. It's unpredictable and all we can do is be proud of ourselves, regardless of the way it went. We have our beautiful babies to show for it, right?
    So, can I join your new club?? 🙂

  • adriel, from the mommyhood memos
    7 August 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Yeah, it's a sensitive issue isn't it? Along with breastfeeding, sleep training, and so many other parenting choices! I hope I don't sound too sarcastic in this post. It's not intended to be a serious dig. Just a stir-the-pot, get-you-thinking sort of post. I wanted to make a point but not be all emotional about it… and so decided on going this route. I hope I won't be misunderstood! But I must say, I really had fun writing this for my 31DBBB "opinion" post! 😉

  • Amy Sullivan
    7 August 2010 at 3:33 pm

    As an unintentional member of the Natural Birth Club (way, way fast birth…didn't even make it to the hospital), I'd like to say it's not as fab as everyone claims. Great post. Really made me laugh because it is so true.

  • Emily @ Finding My Aloha
    7 August 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I totally feel ya on this one! I am a card toting organic lifestyle person. I have been living green long before it was cool. However, never once did I ever think I wanted to have a natural birth. It grossed me out and I cannot understand why people would intentionally put themselves through pain. I have heard all the arguments and I STILL don't get it. I have an inherent problem with the argument that it is a rite of passage. You have got to be kidding me! Like pregnancy, birth, 10, 12, 2, 4, & 6am feedings, spit up, uncontrollable crying, hormones, and all the other "joys" of motherhood isn't rite of passage enough. I do not understand why people make this all such a big deal. We are all moms, thats all that really matters. Thanks for sharing. It sure is a hot subject.

  • Maryline
    7 August 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Very clever, I like your approach.
    I know exactly where you are coming from, a girlfriend of mine felt so disappointed she had a C-section when she really wanted to push. But today? She's the same happy mommy she would have been.

    Truth is it does not matter. It's like the natural birth club — who hands out the medals again?

    Now come on, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and go on.

    Good work momma 🙂

  • Anna
    7 August 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I am not a part of that club as well. Disappointing. Yes. Felt like a failure in my first job as a mom. However, on the flip side, I now have 3 healthy children all delivered via the zipper. They are turning out very well, so I have succeeded in many other areas. :o)

  • cooperl788
    7 August 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I feel bad that you feel left out! Getting the baby out, however way it happens, is hard work and not something to feel superior about. I hear VBACs are quite common and really successful most of the time, so maybe you'll get another shot someday? 🙂

  • Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom)
    7 August 2010 at 6:50 pm

    What a fantastically written post. It is so very true, we all give birth…it may not always turn out as planned, but no one way is better than others. I can certainly understand your disappointment and heartache having planned and dreamed this day for 9 months.

    I like your club: The Mamas Who Gave Birth and I think it was clever and well written…Congratulations and I think you're an amazing Mama!

  • The Planet Pink
    7 August 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I don't understand why we have to belong to a club at all *shrug* But if we have to, I'm a member of both. The natural birth club x3 (does that make me president?) and the line across my belly club x 1. I can safely say (since I go to both meetings) that with the exception of the vocal minority (which ALWAYS try to speak for the entire group), both clubs are greatly misunderstood by each other. And I can also confidently say that unless you are a part of both clubs, you will never fully understand the other side. My suggestion is to assume positive intent and move on. In fact I think I shall resign my membership to both and just be me….

  • Amy
    7 August 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes moms can make each other feel bad for not doing this or that…without meaning to. I feel confident that what I did/do is OK. I am a wimp, so I went for the epidural the 1st time. Second time? Baby came WAY too fast and I had no choice but to go au natural. Both times all that mattered was the cute little guy who came out of it.

  • LauraCYMFT
    7 August 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Tsk! Can't stand there are so called clubs like these! Does it really matter how baby is born so long as both baby and mother are healthy and well afterwards?!

  • ~Lisa~
    8 August 2010 at 1:12 am

    I was a breeched baby and I tell you what, it is harder to have a c-section than a natural birth. So more power to you Adriel! hehe your club is better!

  • Kristen T.
    8 August 2010 at 4:20 am

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I could not have said it better.

  • hannah
    8 August 2010 at 4:58 am

    Congratulations and welcome to the C-Section Club! You've expressed some things I have felt too as a c-section mommy (placenta previa for me instead of breach).

    You definitely deserve a hug. I have felt many of the same things you've expressed, although it's definitely from my own judgment of myself rather than that of others. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to be the perfect mom because I feel like I couldn't do the first thing I should have as a mom–just get him out. Remember that giving birth, having major surgery, and the combination of the two are things you have to recover from mentally and emotionally as well as physically!

    Great post. I am going to bookmark it to link to on my blog when I finally get around to writing about having a c-section.

  • Laura Elliott
    8 August 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I've never really thought about myself as part of a club, I'm just me.

    I wanted a natural birth without drugs, I got the natural part in the sense that I didn't need a c section but I had every drug I could – pethidine, gas, epidural. In the end all that mattered was that we were both healthy.

    I tried breastfeeding but it drove me and my daughter to tears. Probably should have stuck it out longer but I was struggling so much. I swapped to formula and from there it all got a whole lot easier.

    I stayed at home for a while but I felt like I had cabin fever. Sometimes I feel guilty because I didn't cut it as a stay at home mum. I loved going back to work and I now work four days per week.

    There are so many choices. Everyone has their own unique story. At the end of the day a baby is born and that is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

    Thanks for the post as it got me thinking and it has reminded me to be careful to not put people into categories and make them feel like they don't fit in.

  • KimD
    8 August 2010 at 2:28 pm

    From the first day I found out I was prego (on my birthday) I knew that 1. no breastfeeding 2. oh heck yeah pain meds 3. I'm not giving up coffee for 9 months. (oh some heads are spinning now!!!!)

    I went to the hospital the night before my sceduled induction to make sure I wouldn't miss that epidural window of opportunity! 🙂

    Great post! Add another card carrying member to your club!

  • Greta
    8 August 2010 at 2:50 pm


    I just re-read my post earlier it may have been read as an attack on you…it was definitely not meant that way. I was venting my frustration as a working mom and it came across wrong. SORRY!!! I loved your post and was so glad that you posted it. I wish I could express myself in words the way you do. You're very eloquent and funny. I really love your blog (I found it via Chelsea Cheney Bergman–sister in law).



  • Justine
    9 August 2010 at 2:54 am

    Hi Adriel, I didn't realize there was such a divide between the two camps of mamas. I am not even sure why there would be one. But I guess life is like high school over and over again regardless of where you are in life. Cliques, groups, haves, have-nots – we do the best we can to navigate around these I suppose.

    I enjoyed your post, and adore your blog. Thanks for visiting mine!

  • adriel, from the mommyhood memos
    9 August 2010 at 4:26 am

    Wow, I'm loving these responses ladies! Such a good variety of perspectives. And really, when you boil it right down… we all have the same message: have your baby in a healthy way, don't judge others, and don't be insecure. Ok, totally oversimplifying here… but you get what I'm saying. Thanks for your input and opinions and for taking the time to contribute to the post! I suspected this might be a bit of a hot topic, so thanks for not letting me down. xx

    @Greta – No way did I take that as an attack! Appreciate you covering your bases there (you're so sweet), but rest assured I didn't in the slightest. And yeah, to be home with kiddos or not – that's a sensitive one too. I'm working on putting together a series on that topic with guest posts from other mamas – working moms, home moms, work from home moms… No doubt there are pluses and minuses to each one of those "positions" aren't there? Thanks for commenting and for your contribution!! 🙂

  • Lynda
    9 August 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you adriel. After what happened with my births and my chronic low supply, I say eff all the clubs. I don't want to be a member, even honorary, of any of them. I have some amazingly supportive, like-minded friends. I think that's all that matters.

  • Anonymous
    10 August 2010 at 2:25 am

    I love it! Thanks…still have 10 weeks left. : )

    Samantha Spansel

  • Enjoy Birth
    10 August 2010 at 5:13 am

    I love your post. It helps remind us moms to be less judgmental of each other! Each birth is unique and special.

    I am sorry you didn't get a chance to have the birth you hoped and planned for, but so happy that you are glad about your birth. I love the picture!

    You actually helped me remember it is mom and baby who help shape a birth and I went and bolded that in one of my posts.
    Birth is a Journey

  • Anonymous
    10 August 2010 at 6:21 pm

    You ALL belong to a club I wanted to join and couldn't . . . I am an infertile mom and now proud adoptive mother of FIVE, all girls (25, 20, 13, and 6 year old twins) . . . there were many times I felt like I had been black-balled from YOUR club. Not so much anymore, but please respect that we are ALL moms: those who foster children, those who adopt, those grandparents who raise their grandkids. We all need to stick together!!!

  • Jill L
    11 August 2010 at 12:12 am

    Hey, the fact that you had a baby makes you a supermom 🙂 I pushed Eva out, but had to get an epidural just about one or two hours before the pushing began, I have a very low threshold for pain and pass out becuase of it (I actually have a medical condition related to this, neurocardiogenic syncope). Actually, by the grace of God, I didn't pass out during labor, but when I started to get very close to it, I decided drugs were better than me passing out all the time which would just complicate things. So, I to did not have Eva "naturally", however, for my body make up, I think I actually am a superwoman. I'm quite proud of myself for how long I did make it naturally with labor.

    How you feel about your labor experience is how I feel about my breastfeeding experience. I still find myself sometimes struggling with the fact that I had to give it up.

    Perhaps you can give the "natural" birth another go with your next baby 🙂

  • Mrs. Abbott
    28 August 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Hello! I just started following your blog and I love it! I just became a momma to a baby boy a little over five weeks ago 🙂

    I too had a c section for medical complications (baby was too big + small pelvis = very dangerous birth) and my son ended up being even bigger than the dr expected (9 lbs) plus the cord was wrapped around his neck twice…ugh. I was more scared then dissapointed but I felt like everyone (including a starbucks barista) thought I should feel terrible about having a c's like it was the end of the world or like I had failed! and now that it's all said and done- I actually enjoyed my c section, I felt totally relaxed and was even joking with the nurses during the surgery! Im even looking forward to my next one. I really liked your post- you hit the nail right on the head! People need to be more thankful for modern medicine and things like c sections because they SAVE mothers and babys every day. Anywho- thank you for posting this- I really enjoyed it and completely agree 🙂

  • A Little R&R
    2 September 2010 at 10:44 am

    This post has been starred in my Google Reader for a while…but I just wanted to, first of all, say that I sooo related to this. Having had a c-section after having my perfect birth plan all mapped out was a let down at first…but I got over it quick and am happy to have my little Robi here with me. 🙂 I gave you a shout-out on my latest blog post.

  • Julie
    18 October 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Love the post. i know i'm a little late here and i didn't read ALL the comments so forgive me if I am repeating someone. I like the "Moms who gave birth club" but i would really LOVE just the "Moms Club." No to be too all inclusive out of political correctness but i immediately thought of what about the many mothers out there who did not give birth. i'm sure if any read your post would be feeling exactly what you did abou the "natural birth club" members.

  • MODG
    19 November 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Why wouldn't your midwife deliver your baby breech? It's very common and perfectly safe. It's a misconception that it requires a c section. I have plenty of friends who have had home births with breech babies.

  • Melanie
    20 November 2010 at 12:03 am

    lol I loved everything you said, Yes i too feel that natural birthing mothers think I am not "empowered" or as strong as them because I have had 2 c sections or that they feel sorry for me because my docs must not have done everything they could. The truth is I am happy with how I gave birth and there is no reason why a c section birth can't be just as nice as a natural. I am an empowered, strong, healthy c section mum and proud!

  • Joni
    21 November 2010 at 9:18 pm

    I hear ya! I too have been denied access to that club. My son also had other ideas of how he was going to enter this world (also breech). But I didn't even get to join the "women who had labor" club. I never even got that far. I got checked into the hospital for high blood pressure and because my son was breech ended up checking out with a baby. No beautiful laboring at home with husband and doula. No beautiful birth music and low lighting. Nope, only a cold, harsh room with horrible lighting and people talking to each other like you're not even part of the whole thing. So, in other words….I hear ya!

  • Write About Birth
    6 December 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I hear you, too, despite the fact that I had two homebirths. In fact, I am rather tired of being stuffed in with the "snarky and judgy club" just because of having natural births. We are all human, and many of us are mothers – we should support each other, rather than blame each other for our choices. Though medicalized birth sometimes does deserve judgment, when it's pushed on mothers against their will and needlessly, it's of course never the moms that should be on the receiving end of snarky comments and bitter feelings. I am sorry you have felt that way. And, I want in yon your club :).


  • Kelly
    11 December 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Totally could have written most of this myself except I found out at my 39 week appointment without going into labor that my baby was breech. My doctor knew I wanted an unmedicated birth but my little girl had other ideas. She had us all fooled the week before at my check but my doctor caught it the next week. So instead of an unmedicated, vaginal birth, I now have a c-section scar and a beautiful healthy baby. We both came out ok and that is what matters most.

  • Sommer J
    1 January 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Lovely post!! I got the epidural with first two because I was paranoid about the pain. With my third, he was coming so fast I HAD to have an all natural birth. I was BEGGING for medication, trust me! It really gets me fired up when MOTHERS judge other MOTHERS for the way their child was born? We should rejoice a new life coming to world, not judge. Again, beautifully written.

  • alison
    14 March 2011 at 8:48 pm

    i just stumbled across this post while perusing your little blog here and i had to laugh. not because i think it's funny that your plans went awry or anything….mainly because MY plans went awry in the opposite way and i ended up being a part of the natural birth club on accident! my third little angel backed into the world as well…except we didn't catch it until she was already "arriving" and they saw her butt first! and she came so fast that the epidural that i was SO planning on getting didn't happen. so, i birthed her breech AND naturally! although that was very much so not my plan…..i wouldn't change a single thing 🙂

  • […] gimme some red high heels    dear natural birth club » how to breastfeed in public | 10 easy tips By Adriel on August 8, 2010 | 20 comments Have […]

  • Rachel Norman
    7 November 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Such a great post. Totally spot on too. I am in the club and would NEVER have thought that I was better or anyone else was less of a woman or that my way was the best, etc. but after having read this I can tell that friends of mine probably thought that. The way they kind of justified drugs in front of me (as though I needed a justification from them or even thought any differently of them because they didn’t want to) or talked about it. Such a great post to read because (I’m trying to “fall” pregnant again) and think I should just keep my mouth shut.

    Plus, I think for giving natural birth you talk yourself up so much because – let’s face it, the pain seems scary – so that if it doesn’t happen you feel super disappointed. Not because you “failed” but because you talked something up and thought about it for so long even though it didn’t happen!
    Rachel Norman recently posted..Scheduling + RoutineMy Profile

  • Sarah Quiroz
    5 December 2012 at 10:48 am

    I know exactly how you feel! My first was also head up, but we were able to have him turned before he was born. However, he still didn’t want to come out and ended up in a c-section. I felt like a failure for a long time and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it the natural way. I knew I was strong enough! But I pushed for 3 v-bacs later and they were all successful. So now I feel like I can relate with most women because I have had a c-section, 1 easy birth, and 2 extremely difficult ones. 🙂


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