What Am I doing today?
What am I doing today?
I am watching birth videos, and blogging—emphasis on watching birth videos…I have lost count of how many birth videos I’ve watched (I think I'm easily approaching a thousand). The first one I ever saw, I only remember it vaguely, 9th grade health class “The Miracle of Life”. I’ve actually debated buying that video since I’ve started teaching childbirth education, just for the sake of reminiscing. I remember as I watched that video, wondering how that birthing person felt being exposed in such a vulnerable moment? I ached to hold their hand, to tell them they were powerful, beautiful, and that they were accomplishing something profound beyond words. I wanted to support them... I often wonder now how they would perceive their birthing experience, and I wonder if they felt empowered during that time? I don't remember seeing a supportive partner, just hospital socks, a gown and stirrups. The lights were bright, the provider was scrubbed in. There was no 90’s music humming in the background, no cozy lighting. It felt sterile, and it felt...cold.
For as long as I can remember, I was intrigued by birth—each birthday we would gather around the dinner table as my mom and dad would tell us our birth story (My husband has since informed me that is not a normal tradition). I could recount to you every detail, down to the halloween costumes our family friends were wearing that night my mom went into labor with me. I am so familiar with my birth story, it feels more like I was a fly on the wall rather than the baby being born. My dad speaks of the warmth in the room, the coziness of late fall, I can almost hear the leaves crunching underfoot as my parents slowly approached the Maternity Ward. I could tell you about the OB who caught me and her studies abroad in South America, learning the art of physiological birth. The teal scrubs the nurse was wearing as she bathed me, humming, and singing softly as she called me “little rosebud” washing my bright pink body with the iconic yellow Johnson and Johnson soap. Then of course, the moment my moms eyes met mine, and she smiled. It was well... warm.
When it was time to give birth to my daughter, I felt trepidation of the unknown, of course—but I felt more strongly a sense of empowerment. The positive experience my parents had shared with their birthing process, my exposure to birth didn't really start or end with the “Miracle of Life” video. It started in my home. It started by the glow of birthday candles, cake and ice-cream, it started with my mom’s willingness to expose the rawness of her experience.
In our society we are taught to view birth in a certain way. We are exposed to the “Miracle of Life” video, and a bunch of Hollywood chaos when it comes to birth. Changing the script, and illuminating how birth can be, is the only way that we can begin to start breaking down fear surrounding the birthing process. Going into your birthing time, it’s ok to have trepidation. You are leaping in to the unknown. I believe as a child birth educator, doula, and aspiring midwife, that every birthing person to be deserves to have an overwhelming sense of empowerment.
I feel passionate about normalizing a beautiful birthing process. In less than one week I find out if I was accepted into midwifery school. I know it is the next step for me to begin to help so many people rearrange the script that they have been given. To help people break down the walls of fear, and to in turn, help them prepare for a beautiful journey, and write a new story.