"When I was preparing to give birth, I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime event and something I wanted, more than anything, to do “right.” By doing it “right,” I meant that I wanted the safest and most positive outcome possible; to me, it was perfectly obvious that safety and a good experience were inextricably linked. And, as the person playing the most active role in the event, I felt it was my responsibility to shape those things.
"It was a little alarming to me that so many of my friends and acquaintances who had given birth did not particularly want to talk about it, and didn’t necessarily think it was a good idea that I learned as much as I could about it before doing it.
"Before and after giving birth, I got the sense from some people that in seeking a “positive” experience, I was being high-maintenance and was somehow less concerned with my baby’s well-being than someone who didn’t ask questions or want to actively participate. I rolled my eyes at the speculation and barreled right through it, but, on reflection, it struck me as odd. How could it be “selfish” to do what I could to facilitate a less traumatic birth? Didn’t less traumatic mean “safer”? My body—a body I’d come to know and like for the last 30-some years—was being subjected to a major, life-altering process. Why did it suddenly have such reduced value? Why was I suddenly not supposed to have any say over what happened to it?"