How do we change the culture of birth?
Birth. It's magical, feared, sacred, mysterious, beautiful. Anticipated, induced, overdue, early, full-term, premature. Relaxing, pleasurable, painful, easy, difficult. Unexpected, surprising, textbook. Cesarean, vaginal, natural, medicated. How many different paths to birth are there? How does your perception of birth affect who you are, your integrity, and how those in your path view birth as a result? There are as many questions as there are paths to birth. I guess it's time to start talking about them! When you begin to tell your birth story, how do you feel in your body? What's driving your story? Think about who's listening, and how your story might shape their own views on birth. I recently attended a hospital birth, which was an unexpected event in and of itself. The couple had planned to birth at the birth center and Birth, as it often turns out, had other plans. The midwife couldn't attend the birth and as a result, we all drove to the hospital where the staff knew that the couple intended on a natural birth, that is, no medical support. The staff were pretty amazing in accomodating the couple's desire, all the way from intermittent monitoring during labor to mama's intuitive position for delivery. Squat bars work! Mama delivered a most beautiful boy with a room full of nurses and witnesses. (It's amazing every time...) After the birth, a male nurse intern came in to share that this was his last week in Labor and Delivery, and it was only his first time witnessing a natural birth. I asked how many cesareans he'd seen? "At least 6," he answered. What a gift to share a natural birth with a birth professional in this way; to experientially influence his perception of birth and perhaps influence how he shares birth with others who cross his path. That's how we change birth in our culture.