"Selena," my mom whispered in Korean, "are you using a midwife because you don't have any money?"
I had to laugh; Not at my mom, whose first-generation immigrant-informed perspective I can understand, but, well, kind of at my mom after all, because that seemingly narrow-minded perspective is probably a pretty accurate picture of what most people might think.
Including myself, at one point. I used to never understand why women would willingly subject themselves to such excruciating pain when modern medicine offered relief. I mean, hey; my own two deliveries went pretty well. Five hour labors for each, an epidural towards the end for both, and healthy babies all around.
Still, I couldn't shake off this feeling that everything felt… passive. Lying back, looking at doctors and nurses and students looking back at me (just down yonder) and barking orders to pushpushpushpushpush, "like you're doing a really big poop!" just didn't feel quite right.
So this time around, I figured, heck why not. Why not trust my body to know what to do, and even do it well? It'll be our last pregnancy-three kids is enough for us-and my last chance to embrace childbirth as nature intended. I did some research and settled on the Swedish Covenant Midwife Group-more accurately, certified nurse-midwives. They deliver at Swedish Covenant Hospital (because I'm not ready to pull a Ricki Lake) and are open to the use of medicine if that's what you really want or need (because a little drug insurance couldn't hurt).
And they've been fantastic. I look forward to my prenatal visits and the genuine "how are you doing?" that greets me. They've pointed me to a wealth of resources about this whole other paradigm that I had been used to writing off as "not for me". I feel empowered; scared sometimes, yes, and even a little crazy, but empowered and excited to be taking a different path on this familiar journey.
Selena Kohng is a mom of two living in Sauganash.
See more of Selena's stories here.