In our culture, we have been conditioned to believe that birth is something to be dreaded, feared and abhorred. So much so that we blindly turn our bodies and our babies over to who we are told is an expert, often a stranger. Someone who can rescue us from our biological destiny by performing procedures and interventions that render us helpless, submissive and, in the end, grateful for saving us and our babies from harm. I believe that there is much more to birth than merely getting the baby out.
Birth is complex. There are mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that far outweigh the physical birth experience. Yes, a healthy baby and mother are the ultimate goal of birth, but is what we do in our culture actually healthy for either?
- The maternal mortality rate in our country is steadily increasing. The US does worse than 45 other countries, all the while spending the most.
- Our babies are dying more often than those in 50 other countries.
- Infant mortality rate for babies of African American or indigenous heritage are 1.5-3 times higher in our country.
So much is terribly wrong with our system. Where do we begin to fix it?
- We must teach girls to honor the innate intelligence of their bodies. This starts when they are children. For example, with menarche, instead of embarrassment, shame and secrets, we must celebrate the beginning of womanhood. Imagine if we were honored by a special gift from our father and a ceremonial sharing of wisdom from our mothers. What if we embraced menarche as a rite of passage? Perhaps we would look forward to our curvy hips and developing breasts and trust our bodies to work as nature intended, embracing our monthly cycle.
- Stop sharing birth horror stories. Start sharing beautiful accounts of birth. A woman’s body is designed to give birth and innately knows how. A body that can grow and nourish a baby can also birth one.
- Stop looking to the outside for our power. Instead connect with the doctor within, Innate Intelligence, birthing instincts or whatever you choose to call it. We innately know how to give birth when we look inward and connect with our bodies.
- Create a sense of community with like-minded women who trust in birth, the strength of women and believe in conscious choices.
- Find midwives and doctors, who truly believe in a woman’s ability to give birth normally and who support evidenced-based medicine. Avoid unnecessary intervention.
- Educate women about normal birth through courses like HypnoBirthing-The Mongan Method.
- Release Fears, Build Confidence!
- Create special rituals celebrating women and the rites of passage.See the truth in birth practices. Educate and Advocate.
- Hire a doula to support you in creating normal birth.