Rise and Shine Birth Thoughts
Normal, natural birth is spoken of all the time in the birth world. It is discussed on many levels from the evidence of being overwhelmingly the safest and healthiest way to birth, to the emotional aspects of privacy, safety and support, to following the money trail of interventive birth versus natural birth and so much more in between.
I ponder and sometimes struggle with what to share with expecting families and how to share it. Why the struggle? This normal, natural birth viewpoint is counter-cultural. I, along with many peers believe in the inherent design of women and babies to work as intended. There is lack of belief in routine intervention, non-evidence based protocols or practice style that is created around pregnancy and birth being a tragedy in waiting.
Even in trepidation, the truths must be shared and not hidden simply because most of what is seen and heard in our culture is the opposite (think as an example of the media and the dramatic voice over person on those birthing shows). The longer I am in this field and calling of work, I believe that protecting women from the truth for whatever reason is harmful. I participated in a Henci Goer session several years ago at a conference that set this ideal permanently within me. She asked many questions for the participants to answer. One question was regarding telling options to expecting families even if they are not available locally – should you or shouldn’t you? I stood for quite a time in front of the large paper on the wall while holding the marker in my hand. There were many NO’s on the paper in front of me and it took some courage for me to write a commanding YES! next to their responses. I had bucked the trend. Not easy, not a bit. When all the sheets were gathered and Henci peered at them to discuss all of the responses, she overwhelmingly said we have an ethical obligation to tell it all. Phew I was not wrong in my group of peers, but sadly most of them said no probably out of the same fear as I had in answering the questions. That moment gave me great strength and clarity not because Henci said so, rather because I stood in my conviction and faced the fear of being apart from others in the truth.
Why is it of the utmost importance to share all? Because no one else goes home or remains home with that baby. The care provider, staff, doula, educator….they all go home to their own lives. Each expecting family must be able to live with the decisions made during pregnancy, labor, and birth. Natural birth has many benefits but it isn’t consequence or risk free, so that too must be spoken of. Each woman must decide what she needs and can best live with as a mother, wife, partner, even as a woman in her community who will go out and share her experiences with others.
I will often tell expecting families who contact me about childbirth education classes that they will receive much more than the anatomy, physiology, comfort measures, etc. from my course. That very likely it will challenge to the core their beliefs and value systems surrounding what they know in their own birth culture of family, friends and personal history.
I love this work. I hope someday to be replaced by the community based education women ought get back to. If not, I along with many others will be here to keep the conversation and education moving forward.