Welcome to the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival
This post is part of the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey. For this special event the carnival participants have shared their perspective on Empowered Birth. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I’ve come a long way since my first pregnancy. I never wanted kids But, when I did become pregnant, I began with the knowledge, somehow pulled from the ether because I’d never had an actual conversation with anyone about pregnancy and birth, that scheduling a surgical birth was safer and easier than “regular” birth (I didn’t yet know about terms like “natural” or “vaginal” birth, of course.) Then, I began reading about birth on the internet and in books.
I am forever grateful to my OBGyn for casually suggesting a c-section at an early appointment. Researching what is involved with a cesarean and vaginal birth helped me understand that surgical birth was not necessarily the easier option. Also, the way her office was run helped me seek out treatment that helped me feel valued. She may have told me how important her clients were to her but the long time spent in the waiting room, appointments that never began on time-even when schedule first thing in the morning, and 10 minute-long appointments, most of which was spent with her familiarizing herself with who I was by reading my file. That’s not how I consider treating someone who is a priority in my life.
I’m not blaming her. I think the system is set up this way in concert between insurance companies, ACOG and the doctors in general. It’s a system set up more for the bottom line and bottom covering than for the care of patients. I’m not even certain what the ramifications would be to an OBGyn if they attempted to opt out of this model.
I consider patient-doctor relationship to be part of quality care. If this is care enough for someone else, then I am glad this choice is available to them. I do wish it weren’t the default.
I never felt a part of the process. It felt the opposite of my experience of being fully alive and connected with my body and baby. For perhaps the first time I had the power of creation within.
So I researched and surgery scared the jeepers out of me. It was not the healthy birth I would choose. It is the birth I would need in the case of a pathology. As a pregnant woman, I felt the opposite of pathology.
I looked for a birth center, but there wasn’t one close enough. So, I interviewed homebirth midwives. And the first interview, I fell in love with them. I felt cared for. I felt listened to and honored. They answered my many (many, many) questions with passion, intelligence, and obvious experience and education. They were interested in my partner and me as people. It was obvious that we were being interviewed just as much as we were interviewing them.
It was a partnership right from the beginning. They believed in me. I trusted them to be objective when needed. They would see things from a medical point of view while seeing birth as ordinary, miraculous, healthy, and trusted.
I felt strong. I had a team who would support me even when I doubted myself. When I went to a place of, “I can’t do this!” I was met with eye contact and a true, “You are doing this!” This was a team with the training to make the tough decisions in a way that wouldn’t strip me of my power-even if that cesarean section was necessary.
And it was a good thing I birthed at home with my partner and my midwives. It was hard and long. I strongly doubt that I would have given birth vaginally if I began in the hospital.
After my first birth, I was flying high with the euphoric, “I did it!” I experience the world differently because of the experience of empowerment during my first birth. Things have been hard since, I’ve birthed three more babies at home. One of them was a baby who died before she was born. I’ve had post partum depression. I’ve had repressed memories of child abuse flash intrusively into my mind. I’ve failed as a parent some days. I’ve fought with my beloved partner some days. But, even in the depths where I’ve questioned the reason for even being alive anymore, I can point to those moments of truth-those moments of empowerment and know that even if I never feel it again, I touched a piece of my true self.
 More about how I decided to have kids in a later post
- Read about the birth of my first son here: Homebirth: Dancing with the Light (touchstonez.com)
- Read about the birth of my second son here: Birth Reflection: It Only Takes A Second (touchstonez.com)
- Read about the birth of my third son here: Buddha Baby Birth (touchstonez.com)
- Read about my second birth, my daughter’s stillbirth here (link live on Sep 9, 2011) Why Hasn’t The World Stopped? (touchstonez.com)
- And My friend’s amazing post on becoming a mother: Guest Posting on my own Blog (imperfecthappiness.wordpress.com)
We invite you to sit, relax and take time to read the excellent and empowering posts by the other carnival participants:
Empowered Birthing – Amy at Anktangle shares a simple list of things that support an empowered birth experience.
Little Miss Green’s Home, Water Birth Story – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her (home, water) birth story. Even though it happened 10 years ago, the empowering feelings are the same to this day (and yep, it STILL makes her cry!). This post is also a tribute to her husband who was there mind, body and soul throughout.
Save Birth, Change The World – Toni Harman, mum and film-maker talks about the highs and lows of creating the ONE WORLD BIRTH film project dedicated to helping more women around the world have empowered births.
12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle wants to talk to all pregnant women and tell them YES they can have an Empowered Birth! This is her personal 12 step guide.
The Blessingway: a sacred blessing for birth – The Blessingway is a sacred ceremonial circle of women gathered with the intention of blessing and preparing a pregnant woman and her child to give birth. Betsy Dewey describes the beauty and the how-to of a modern Blessingway.
Informed Birth is Empowered Birth – Darcel at The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe tells us why it’s important to take control and be responsible for our own births. She says Informed Birth is Empowered Birth.
Empowering Birth in the Trenches – Over at Belly Tales the Midwife explores what empowered birth looks like in an urban hospital with a vulnerable population.
An Empowered First Birth – Zoie at TouchstoneZ follows the path she took to her first homebirth and finds she may not have started out as the best candidate for an empowered birth.
And these to be published:
Why Hasn’t the World Stopped? – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares the emotional story of the empowered and unassisted stillbirth of her daughter.
September 12th :
Empowered Birth: From the Personal to the Universal – Zoie at TouchstoneZ questions the criteria for what makes an empowered birth and finds she has to let them all go.