I believe that a lot of good can come from people who find the positive in their birth experience and share it with, well, anyone who will listen. This is an age where between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 births occur by cesarean. Most women never experience birth before they find themselves in labour. Our society has very little practical experience with normal birth and we are afraid.
But there is a rising tide of people who know that birth needn’t be treated like a disease or a medical emergency waiting to happen. There is a growing movement that is shouting and stomping feet and demanding maternity care reform. Change is coming and I sincerely believe that the day will come when we have the best of both worlds: the safety of modern medicine and the sanctity of trust in our bodies and the birth process. That change starts every time someone tells a positive birth story that empowers women to learn more and fear less.
I was born at home in the Yukon in the 1970’s. I am so thankful to my parents for this gift: opening my eyes to the beauty of home both that very first time, and again when I birthed my son into my home as an adult. I am grateful for my mother’s dutch doctor who, at my older brother’s birth, showed her that maternity care didn’t have to look like the standard North American medical model, a man who brought new ideas to a prairie town on a new continent and changed the course of birth in my family.
Both of my children were born at home with midwives in attendance. Neither birth went exactly as I’d hoped it would. My first resulted in a hospital transfer for retained placenta. My second caught us unprepared three weeks early and ended up being a neighbourhood event. I had envisioned quiet and intimate, not neighbours in the kitchen eating pizza. But when a 10 year old boy who had just seen my hour old daughter exclaimed “This is the best birthday party I’ve ever been to!” I saw the power of sharing positive experiences with everyone around us. Maybe when this boy becomes a father he will remember, just as I remember my mother’s dutch doctor.