“We are all descendants of someone who birthed at home without a licenced professional”– anon
This is one of my favourite quotes! I wonder how many of us know our own birth story? How about our parents’, or our grandparents’? The truth is, trends in how and where birth takes place have changed unimaginably in the last hundred or so years… But the way a mother gives birth to her baby remains the same.
Childbirth is a normal physiological process, and has traditionally involved the mother surrounded by female attendants who share their wisdom, experience, and support as she brings her baby into the world.
But not now, in 2023. Today, pregnancy and birth are generally thought of as medical events, with each stage tested, managed and medicated accordingly. And while maternity care is definitely recommended, and medical care essential in urgent cases (just like the rest of life), that does not mean that everyone pregnant is a walking emergency to be mitigated. Just like the rest of life, each pregnancy, each mother, each baby is unique and individual, and should be treated as such.
So how can we (pregnant mothers, fathers, grandparents, and all members of the community) help parents to find another way, and create change?
It’s time for us to unlearn some of our birth ideas. Birth is not a terrifying, inherently dangerous event, which happens behind closed doors where “most mothers and/or babies die without specialist technology.” Birth is as safe as life. And just like all life events sometimes it takes twists and turns, sometimes it requires a helping hand, and sometimes birth just happens.
Now is the time for all of us to become informed, to learn birth physiology, and teach it to our children! Many of us will have had traumatic experiences in the past with birth, and it’s so important that we practice self-care and healing from these events. It is time to surround our young parents with love, support and information to help them make good decisions. We can start questioning the safest place to give birth, and honour the hormones and natural processes involved.
Let’s work together to get parents well nourished, uplifted, healed and prepared for beautiful, calm, joyful births.
– birth doula & mother of 4 home-birthed children