An Empowered First Birth

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.

In Love with Newborn Nat

In Love with Newborn Nat

I’ve come a long way since my first pregnancy. I never wanted kids[1] 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.

Empowered birth.

Photograph of abdomen of a pregnant woman

Image via Wikipedia

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.

[1] More about how I decided to have kids in a later post

The Empowered Birth Blog Carnival was lovingly hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey


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:

September 9th
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.

22 thoughts on “An Empowered First Birth

  1. Pingback: The Blessingway: a sacred blessing for birth | Betsy Dewey

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  4. I’m so glad everything worked out just as it should for you! You’re so lucky that you found midwives who truly partnered with you in the birth experience.

    I wish I had participated in this carnival. I had meant to, but for some reason, I could not write my birth story – even though I tried several times. That might be a blog post in and of itself, I guess!

  5. Pingback: Save Birth, Change The World | One World Birth

  6. I love this post – your journey from not wanting kids, (me too and can’t wait to read your post on this subject), to being an informed, strong, courageous warrior-woman, willing and able to give birth on her own terms.

    It’s fabulous that you found the support from your midwives – they really are amazing. (I hope I get to be a midwife in my next lifetime)

    It’s a beautiful feeling for women to be able to draw on the euphoric power of birth even when life takes down turns. More power to you Mama.

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Terri. I didn’t know you also didn’t want kids. I so rarely meet anyone says that & now two comments so far with the admission.

      I hope you will write about it, too, because I would love to hear.

      Thank you again (and Betsy) for putting this carnival together. I am looking forward to reading everyone’s posts tonight

  7. Pingback: 12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth. - Child of the Nature Isle

  8. Pingback: Informed Birth is Empowered Birth « The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe – pregnancy and birth

  9. I had no idea you never wanted kids! I remember that I did it feeling after my first homebirth. It’s so amazing. I don’t miss the waiting in the Dr’s office. The care we get from homebirth midwives is like no other. Looking forward to reading your other posts.

    • Thank you for your comment, Darcel. I think if the truth ever got our about the disparity of care, the entire medical system would revamp. It’s like being the queen we all deserve to be. Yep, I didn’t want kids and was certain of it until just before I became pregnant with my first. I’m looking forward to finishing writing about it. I’m trying to decide whether to publish around September 11th since that was another event that clinched never wanting children for me. I don’t know. It might be too painful to write about it at the time. I’m already on news black out for fear of the 10th anniversary reports that might sensationalize=trivialize the events of 911.

  10. I remember the e-mails we exchanged when you were first pregnant…and how excited (and surprised) I was when you not only chose but owned the path you did. I’ve enjoyed watching you navigate motherhood and birth and allowing yourself to be molded by the experience. I feel honored to have known you since before we were moms and to get to travel beside you in this mommy-bloggy world.

    • Thank you, CJ. I remember who grateful I was (and still am) for all of the wisdom and kindness you shared with me. Looking back on it, I also realize so much gratitude to you for holding the space for me being new to it all. There was probably so much you wanted to say, but allowed me to find out for myself.

      And I thought I knew. hahahaha! Oh, I thought I’d research it all and I’d become a mother from book knowledge. I may have reeled for a bit when reality slapped me upset the head with that delusion. The funny thing was, I didn’t mind one little bit because of that love. OH! That love! I finally GOT it!

      Thank you for the past, the present and the future of our friendship

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  12. beautiful – thank you so much for sharing an honest article for the carnival. You bought back a memory for me too. My second stage was 4 1/2 hours long and there is NO WAY I would have been allowed to push that long in a hospital, so it was a blessing I was at home. Isn’t it funny how things turn out right when we trust in the process. I love how your thinking of the ‘doctor who cared’ yet only allowed 10 minutes of their time in which to read your notes made you seek an alternative route. I’m looking forward to the second part….

    • Thank you, Mrs Green. Whoa! 4.5 hours of pushing! Warrior woman! Also, sad to say “allowed” to push that long in a hospital. I have to say this with the lens of never having birthed in hospital, but it seems the exception to find a doctor and hospital that “allows” for variations on normal, highly medicated birth if there are any hiccups.

  13. Dear One, you make me so joyful to be human. Thank you for being so real for the rest of us! Why sugar coat the raw human experience? It’s so naturally juicy and sweet. This lovingly written article brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts. Love, Betsy
    PS – I love how you came around to natural birthing VIA a very circuitous route; sheer intuition! 🙂
    You might like my recent post about how I give birth like a mammal! Well, I guess I should, huh!

    • Thank you so much, Betsy. I feel the same about your book. It has been a gift to my life. I subscribe to your blog (but am a bit behind on my reading) I will make it a point to read your post. Thank you!

      And thank you and Terri for all the work you did in putting together the carnival ❤

  14. Pingback: Informed Birth is Empowered Birth « The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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