Welcome to the Birth Debate!
This is really fascinating . . .
I had always known that if ever I got pregnant I would want a water birth at home. When I turned 40, although childbearing had never been a high priority for me, I grieved the loss of the opportunity, the experience, and the nurturing of a child. And then I met Ged and moved here and we talked about babies and agreed ‘if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t,it doesn’t.’ No IVF or similar for me. We agreed to commit to acupuncture as the most invasive treatment I was ever likely to undertake and lo and behold I got pregnant.
Right from the start, we discussed, and agreed upon (among many other decisions) a home, water birth. Those of you who know me well know I am a true water baby! I can sit in the bath quite happily for 6 – 8 hours with a book. It is my natural space for healing, meditation, nurturing and relaxation. And I have hated the medical profession in all its guises since I was about 4 when I impaled myself on a rock, splitting my thigh from arse to knee and was shuttled between GP and hospital as each claimed the other’s responsibility for stitching. The end result was no stitches, excruciating daily dressing changes and instead of a small neat stitch line, I have a hideous welt down my otherwise perfect thigh!!
And then there was the time I broke my arm and walked several miles to the hospital only to have the registrar, when I gingerly laid it on the desk in front of her, say ‘let’s have a look’ and wrench it towards her . . . and the nurse who couldn’t find my pulse . . . and on and on and on.
I have no time or respect for the medical profession. Sure if I break my leg or have internal injuries, take me to Casualty, but otherwise let me be. The only drugs I ever liked were illegal ones, and after I cured myself of that addiction, I haven’t so much as taken an aspirin for over 15 years (even when I broke my ankle!). So why would I subject myself to the snip, snip, stick a needle in style of allopathic medicine when my body is healthy, well and fulfilling its biological compunction?
Surely the very fact that I am pregnant at 42 (when the medical profession says it can’t be done!) shows that the road less travelled that I have chosen is the healthier option, and the right one for me.
And yet friends and family are throwing their hands up in horror at the idea of my even contemplating a home birth. And stamping their feet and saying ‘you can’t!’
What, like I couldn’t pack up and leave London and live and work in Hong Kong for a year aged 21? Like I couldn’t just up sticks and head to Australia for a working holiday aged 22? Like I couldn’t get my residency on the grounds of my de facto relationship? Like I couldn’t stay in Australia for ten years away from my family and friends? Like giving up alcohol and smoking and being a vegan? Like I couldn’t run the London and New York Marathons one after another? Like I couldn’t ship two horses and a dog and myself back to Australia after a six year sojourn in Blighty? Like I couldn’t change my name and attract love into my life? Like I couldn’t buy and make work this farm?
JUST WATCH ME!!
Some people call me brave . . . others call me stupid, but I have never done the accepted thing. I have always picked my own path and followed it unwaveringly. My beliefs, my heart, my passion are so strong that they have overcome all number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I don’t spend my time looking at all the reasons why ‘I can’t’, I just set my heart on something, nail it in my sights, and worry away at it, like a dog with a bone, til I get where I want to be. I write down my dreams and the universe crafts itself to create them for me. And there’s no surer way in the world to put the wind beneath my wings and get me to achieve the impossible, than to sit on the sidelines and say ‘you can’t’.
Did you know that 90% of births in Holland are carried out at home? And the Dutch have the lowest rates of infant and maternal mortality anywhere in the world? The largest study of homebirths attended by Certified Professional Midwives, as published in the British Medical Journal, has found that homebirth is safe for low risk women and involves far fewer interventions than similar births in hospitals.
If the drugs are there and being pushed upon you, you’ll take them (why wouldn’t you?) If I still lived with a drug dealer, I’d still be taking drugs . . . It’s like living in the country, if I start craving something we don’t have in the pantry, I make do with something else! And doctors and obstetricians are scared of being sued and most of them are men and they can’t bear standing by and watching a woman – an all powerful, all-knowing Goddess creating and birthing a miracle all by themselves. They can’t wait for nature to take its natural course, they want to interfere (of course they want any excuse to play with your fanny!) and wrest back the power and assert their will over yours.
This debate is so primitive because it is really all about the fact that women are the creators, the nurturers, the teachers, the wise planters and harvesters. we are the ones who are in tune with nature and her rhythms and her tides and ebbs and flows. We are the ones who give life. We are the ones who seek and speak to spirit, we are the ones who hear the song of the soul in the symphonies of the circles of life. We are there at the beginning, and it is we who are strong and soothe at the end, and for every passage of time and ceremony in between it is women who mark the occasions. We are the priestesses with the knowledge of the ancients imbued in our cells and souls and we can call down the heavens to bless, or draw up the fires of hell in our curses.
And so they have tried to keep us down. To control us, to beat us into submission, to disempower our souls with their talk of Eden and temptation and original sin and they have tried to curse us as the harbingers of all that is evil in the world. Why? Because they are afraid of this power that we have to make them strong, or render them weak, to hurt them or to heal them. Instead of honouring our power and wisdom and inimitable strength they have sought to cut us down at every turn. And if we are strong, if we are powerful they call us ‘bitches’, ‘lesbians’ and the like.
Why can’t we embrace who we are as women and OWN ourselves, our mystery and our magic. We might not succeed, but at least we can give it our best shot. And that’s what I’ll be doing, at home, in September, being the best I can be. being a natural woman. Embracing the birth process. Setting fear aside and rolling with whatever I am sent, sure in my heart that my baby and my body know how to birth safely, peacefully, naturally so that birth is a primitive process of bonding with just Ged, me and baby and a midwife to harness our strength, direct our energies, and uplift us when our resolve is weak.
There is a chance that ‘I can’t’ but, by God, like everything else in my life, I will give it everything I’ve got. And I’m willing to bet that I CAN!
Thanks to my lovely sister MEL for my fabulous new maternity jeans xx