I’ve been working in the birth world for several years now and am a self confessed birth nerd, ever since I was pregnant with my 1st child.
I love to research and learn everything I can about birth and related issues. So by now 2 children in and multiple births attended and childbirth education classes taught I felt pretty confident that I knew a lot about all things birth.
I felt like my knowledge was robust and evidence based and I trusted what I had learnt through teaching and self learning yet when I stumbled across Indie Birth Podcasts I realised there was so much more to learn, or perhaps un-learn!
Politics around birth and women has come up for me before while training and of course I have experienced it myself during my first pregnancy however, it wasn’t something I thought much about or delved into. I now know it’s a huge topic and something that every woman should understand.
It is crucial we look long and hard at the issues that exist with the current paradigm and that we as women open our eyes to the injustice that birth has been taken from us
It is time that we reclaim what is ours, our birth rite.
Women have been birthing for centuries without rules, without regulation, without being told what to do, what not to do and without being ‘saved’ by medical professionals who feel they know more than the birthing woman.
Women hold this innate knowledge within themselves for our bodies are designed to create, carry and birth new lives, to nurture them at our breasts and carry them close to our hearts.
A woman’s body and her baby are working as one , in communication with each other from the beginning of pregnancy and the process when trusted and undisturbed is inherently safe and runs smoothly.
However if you look at most births in the western world very few are undisturbed and uninterrupted, they have multiple interventions that disrupt the ebb and flow of labour and of the hormones at play. Hormones such as oxytocin are known as shy hormones, in that the environment needs to be just right to produce high levels of this hormone.
When feeling watched, unsafe, judged or stressed oxytocin production is inhibited, we need to feel unobserved, safe, supported, trusting and relaxed in order to allow the hormone to naturally come into being.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love and is responsible for the power of the surges.
It is no mistake that Oxytocin is produced in high amount at the time of orgasm and also in noticeable amounts when we feel loved and when we are intimate with our lover. Proximity and intimacy at birth are natural and helpful things.
We have learnt either explicitly or subconsciously that sex and birth do not mix, that the very thought is inappropriate yet for most of us this very act is what begun the creation of this new life , as Dr Michel Odent said “what gets babies in gets babies out”
We must not be afraid of intertwining sexuality and birth, of the possibility to experience pleasure and we absolutely must understand that birth needs the same inanimate conditions as making love does.
Birth or labour is not supposed to be measured, for it is a continuum and is working in it’s own time.
Who are we to say that a woman must dilate 1cm per hour or a labour must ‘progress’ in a certain amount of time or a baby should arrive by 40 weeks ?
All of these measurements are not grounded in physiology, nor evidence- they were plucked out of the air by men who need to quantify and measure this process.
Seriously, how many women think their body failed because they were held against these standards?
I have so much more to say on undisturbed birth and interventions – all of these topics really do weave into each other but for now I shall leave you with these thoughts.
Keep delving deeper into your own innate knowledge and question everything!
For very few things are one dimensional and policies and protocols around birth are rarely serving women and their babies!