At 7:28pm, November 12th 2017, I gave birth in my bedroom after 3 hours of active labour and very little fear.
It was magical.
I’m sharing with you how I created the conditions that allowed it to happen. But, first, let’s talk about birth a little.
I never imagined I would have children, and for most of my adulthood the thing I mourned about that fact as never giving birth.
I had always viewed birth as an incredible right of passage; an ancient experience that – in our modern lives of laptops and smart phones – was one of the few opportunities available to us to participate in something that (wo)man had been doing since the beginning of time. And I wanted to do it exactly the way they had been doing it.
There is something so incredibly powerful about the chance to be so primal. And, when I finally did plan to give birth (after a long road of infertility and sadness), I wasn’t missing out on it for all the “norms” in the world.
The shiny medicalised world of birth one encounters in the 1st-world-hospitals of 2017, offers something very different from the experience I had in mind, so I went about finding out why it is that 26% of women who want to have a “natural” vaginal birth end up with a caesarean section.
(Please note, I am pro-choice when it comes to birth. If you choose to have a c-section, you fall into a different statistic. I am speaking specifically about women who choose vaginal and end up with a c-section … and usually a big dose of trauma to boot).
If you want to have an unmedicated vaginal birth – the kind women have been having for thousands of years, below is a set of resources that is going to give you the best chance of that happening.
It turns out, unless you take courage and the active steps necessary to create the circumstances that will allow this birth to happen, it won’t.
1. Watch this The Business of Being Born
Don’t skip this step. It is essential that you understand how the medicalised model of birth (i.e. just going with the current Western norm of using a obstetrician, and birthing in hospital) is very likely to leave you with a birth experience that you didn’t actually hope for.
You can rent it for $3.99 (R47.90).
2. Read Basic Needs of Women in Labour
It’s 10 pages long and will take less than 30 mins. It’s written by South African, Ruth Ehrhardt and summaries the work of Michel Odent, a French obstetrician who oversaw 1000 births a year for 23 years and captured his observations.
You can get the ebook for $5,74 (R68.90).
Once you’ve watched The Business of Being Born and read Basic Needs of Women in Labour, and idea of a natural unmedicated birth resonates with you… here’s how you proceed:
3. Begin a daily practice of Spinning Babies
Our modern lives have left our ligaments in our pelvis tight, no matter how fit and active you are. You need to prepare your pelvis for birth through a daily practice of stretching. Gail Tully, creator of spinning babies, is an excellent teacher and will teach you how to do it.
There are many free videos available, but I recommend her paid parent’s programme for $26 (R312,50)
4. Start working through the work book, Birthing from Within
It $19 (R229) and allows you to explore all your preconceived ideas about birth, interview the woman in your family (I ended up chatting to my 94 year old granny-in-law about her birth experiences), making a plaster of Paris belly cast and learning some VERY IMPORTANT pain management techniques.
5. Find a midwife. You may need to interview a few. I did. You’ll know when you’ve found the right one. Don’t give up until you have.
6. Find an obstetrician who will back up a midwife-assisted (home) birth. This will be a challenge, it was the hardest part of my entire pregnancy and birth. But, I was uncompromising, and finally found someone.
Supplementing these is how I ate, how I kept active and a few podcast series I listened to throughout my pregnancy. I’ll share those too, if you like 🙂
Giving birth is an incredibly intense, liminal experience. There is joy, love, fear and pain, but it is all entirely manageable.
Good luck, mama! I know you can have the birth you desire.
If you’d like to chat more, join Courageous Nature Birth Facebook group. I’ll be there to answer any questions.
Pregnancy, birth and parenthood take courage.
Without it, you will likely do what has always been done – and that can leave you and your baby harmed.
Following nature, the kind that science demonstrates, often leaves us with the most empowering, peaceful and harmless experience.
That’s what we are about.
When preparing for my first birth in 2015, none of the stuff I had come to accept as normal made any sense.
I couldn’t imagine myself in hospital, under bright light, on my back with a team of people peering in. I had a clear picture in mind that I wanted to be mostly left alone, preferably in my bathroom (yes, that’s what I pictured).
I went about researching what this “deep knowing” was, and why it was so different from what I saw around me.
I share my pregnancy and birth experiences, as well as the intense parenting crash course I continue to take that are all centred around the courage to do what is closest to our true human nature (without all the weird “modern” gumf we’ve picked up along the way).