When I started learning more about natural childbirth and midwifery care, I wondered why this was all news to me. Why did people who believe a natural approach to birth is better than a medical approach not talk about it more? While I can’t speak for everyone else, I think there are a few reasons I’ve been a little tight lipped about it. Firstly, I don’t want to seem like a ‘single-issue-voter’: someone that people see coming and run because, “oh, there’s Kim, she’s going to corner me and try to sell me on natural birth again.” I believe it’s important, but I’m not going to shove it down your throat. Secondly, I don’t want to have to defend myself. My head is swimming with so much information about the benefits of natural vs. medical births, but I’m not an expert, and I don’t want to feel backed into a corner and like I have to defend my choices. I know I’m making the best decision I can, but I don’t expect myself to be able to consistently express my thoughts about it clearly. Along with that, I guess I feel like if someone wants to confront me about anything, I need to be able to WIN!
Ultimately, I do believe that birth is a normal life event. It’s something that women ought to experience, not be delivered from. It’s something a woman does, not something that happens to her. If you’re not sick, you don’t need a doctor, and pregnancy is not an illness.
What about midwives? Don’t they all wear Birkenstocks, have long hair, smell like incense, and show up to catch your baby without so much as a pair of gloves? Crazy hippies. I’ll admit, that’s not far off from what I assumed midwives were until I started educating myself. The truth is that midwives are experts when it comes to normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and birth – which is most pregnancies and births. And I haven’t yet met one who looks like the one in my mind. They’ll be the first to admit that there is surely a need for good obstetricians, but not nearly the need we have perceived in this culture. Statistics show that there are many countries whose maternal and newborn mortality rates are far lower than ours, with midwife attended birth rates far higher than ours. Midwives know what they’re doing. They’ve been attending births since the beginning of time (okay let’s not get technical here – I’m aware there would have been no midwife when Eve gave birth to Cain, but you catch my drift), while doctors are the ones who are new to the scene. And dare I say, they’re not proving to be very good at normal birth. They are good at making normal birth complicated, if you can call that being good at something…
Anyway, I am happily, joyfully, and expectantly preparing for the birth of this sweet little one who will, Lord willing, be entering this world in less than two months. There is such a difference in my heart and mind as I prepare to welcome our baby in the peace and quiet of our own home, with my husband by my side, an encouraging midwife team who trusts the design of a woman’s body to do as it was created to do, with the sights and smells I am familiar with… without those horrible hospital gowns – and the smell that goes along with them.