Teaching our generation about birth

I’m WAY behind on recapping the ICAN conference and there is SO MUCH to say about it. I really want to go through each speaker and presentation that I saw because there was just so much info that’s all worth sharing.

Thursday night was leader training. I watched a presentation given by Claudia Villeneuve (childbirth educator, ICAN Canada president, engineer and mom of 3!) on the last 3 generations and how to educate them based on their characteristics and personalities: the baby boomers, generation X and generation Y.

I’m sure we all know how the “baby boomers” got their name. Then came generation X… named because we didn’t know what or who they would be. X! A mystery. Then came us… generation Y. Named boringly because the letter Y comes after X…. or, as Claudia mentioned, maybe because we wear our pants too low, making the top “Y” of the buttcrack visible, hahahaha.

Anyway–I don’t have my notes right now, but this is what I remember learning, in a nutshell:

Generation X (our parents): they’re characterized by being independent. Hippies, helllooo! But really, they wanted to be individuals. They wanted to do their own thing. You educated them by playing on their desire to be different and not follow a trend–by telling them they could be strong and unique if they birthed their babies without pain meds, yadda yadda yadda.

But that logic? Doesn’t work on Generation Y–that’s us. We want to do what everyone else wants to do. Now before you say, “that’s not true!” as I wanted to say while listening to this speech…. it’s totally true. We want to know what everyone else is doing. We’re all connected on facebook and twitter and text message. Ohhhh, there’s a new pain med available to try during labor? Well did my friends get it? Is my doctor telling me I should get it? I’ll do what everyone else is doing. True. So there’s a trend for celebrities and elites to schedule c-sections or “designer births?” The cool kids are doing it, I want to do it too. True. The “norm” suddenly turns.

The best way to educate the current generation about cesareans and birth (or anything) is to draw on their desire to be like everyone else. Talk about it, make it normal–it’s OK to not get pain meds, it’s OK to not have interventions, you CAN say NO, yadda yadda yadda.

And what happens when a Generation Y individual is traumatized, taken advantage of, cut open by cesarean (like me)? They TURN INTO A GENERATION X personality.

Ahhhh, now it all makes sense. The entire presentation I kept thinking “well that Gen Xer sounds like me! I don’t sound like a Gen Yer, but I’m supposed to be in Generation Y!” That’s why… I WAS a Gen Yer. I was converted to a Gen Xer by my experience. I now have a desire to defy and be independent and do my own thing. Do I care that 9 out of 10 women get an epidural? No. Do I care that the majority of people birth with an OB in a hospital? No. I’m ready to fight for my independence and my wishes just like a Gen Xer, instead of wondering what everyone else is doing and what appears to be “okay” and accepted by society like a Gen Yer.

When I think about my friends… Gen Yers… none of them have been pregnant or had kids yet…. and how would I imagine a conversation with them? This presentation made SO MUCH SENSE about how to speak to my friends in a way that would make them want to listen. It’s sad that I needed a presentation on the topic to teach me about how to talk to my own friends, but remember I’ve now been converted to a Gen Xer. I can’t come at them with independence and “come on, be different!” because that’s not them. That’s not their (my) generation.

Amazing presentation and I felt it did so much for me as not only an ICAN leader, but as an individual. This applies to any and all conversations, not just those about birth!!!

What generation are you? Do you agree with these generalizations and will it help you in future conversations and debates?

3 comments to Teaching our generation about birth

  • I am totally gen x! I had all 3 of my kids at home with no meds. I so don’t care what people think about that. That being said, a lot of my friends also had their kids at home, so maybe that makes me a gen y, because I’m doing what everyone else (in my circles) is doing??


  • From what I understand, I’m a Gen-X’er but I think I was born on the cusp of GenX and GenY. Which is QUITE POSSIBLY why so many of my slightly younger peers find me “abrasive”. I’m not abrasive, I just believe in educating yourself and screw what everyone else is doing. I actually have this moral compass that directs me away from what everyone else is doing which can be really irritating to me because sometimes there is a REASON everyone else is doing what they are doing. Maybe that’s the cusp talking.


  • I’m totally X. My mom always says I was born in the wrong generation LOL


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