When we moved to America, I discovered that it wasn’t financially feasible or easy to transfer my midwifery qualifications to satisfy the Floridian legal requirements, but the midwife in me didn’t die easily, so I began writing about birth.
In Australia, I’d noticed most prospective parents focussed on reading the sections on Ceasarean Sections, epidurals, and instrumental births in the abundantly available reference books on pregnancy, labour and birth.
They skipped the sections on natural birth.
This was my reason for writing a fictional story, which I hoped would increase awareness of the facts about natural birth within an engaging story.
In my previous post, I listed the basic information about the birth of my four children. In retrospect, I believe I never fulfilled my wish for a perfect birth because I was a nurse, and despite understanding that birth is not an illness, I was influenced by my medical background. Even my training as a midwife was hospital based, and although homebirth was mentioned, our practical experiences reinforced the notion that birth was often dangerous. Many mothers have told me they wanted a natural, drug free birth, but only a small number of first time mothers succeed in getting their wished for experience. Most of those who succumb to drugs, accept their shortcomings or bury any feelings of disappointment, but some feel as if they failed at something that was very important to them. I’m sure most of us learn to deal with disappointment before we have a baby, and there is no value in regret apart from what we learn from it, so, there is wisdom in this approach. However, it also perpetuates the problem, because until mothers learn to trust their own bodies and understand how well birth works when undisturbed, they won’t demand change. And change is needed because:
- Ceasarean rates are rising.
- Vaginal birth after ceasarean is decreasing
- More women are being unnecessarily induced to begin their labour, possibly before the baby is ready to be born.
- Epidurals are becoming the norm.
- Each time a mother is given a drug, her hormonal balance is upset – something which could have far-reaching consequences for both baby and mother – in this generation, and the next.
With reflection, practice, and research, I discovered the truth about how birth works best. I learnt that:
- Walking into a hospital environment is enough to upset the natural hormonal flow in a labouring mother.
- Most of what happens in hospital based birth is theoretical in nature, or based on flawed research.
We really need to talk about birth. I believe birth is an awesome, spiritual, emotional, physical experience. It is also overwhelming, exhausting, and exhilarating. With your help, I believe we can bring about change in the way we give birth in our society. I’m not suggesting everyone should have a natural birth, but I do want to see less mothers disappointed with their birthing experience. I’d like these pages to be a safe place where mothers, fathers, and professionals can share opinions and have honest discussion about this matter – without judgement. Let’s talk about birth.