Welcome to the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival
This post is part of the Empowered Birth Week Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Betsy Dewey. For this special event the carnival participants have shared their perspective on Empowered Birth. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
After the birth of my first daughter, I knew things would be different the second time around.We were living in a different city at the time, and I knew what I did not want out of my second birthing experience.
At my 20 week appointment with the midwife in the hospital, she told me that they were going to schedule me for a cesarean at 38 weeks. The reason – macrosomia with my first and shoulder dystocia. I didn’t bother explaining to her that that was so far from what I wanted. I left feeling quite anxious, but I never returned to that office. Here we are in this new city with a toddler and one on the way. What were we going to do! I went home and searched online “switching midwives” that search term brought me to homebirth midwives.
From that point on, I decided to take control and read as much as I could. I became informed, and it felt so good.
I learned that birthing in a squatting, or hands and knees position can open your pelvis up to 30% more. I learned that there were childbirth classes other than Lamaze. I learned about birth affirmations, and I learned how strong the mind/body connection is.
Too many times we women will put our pregnancy and birth in the hands of the professionals. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust your care provider, but I don’t think it’s right to place them in full control. I think it would be better to look at it as a partnership. There is nothing wrong with questioning your OB or Midwife.
With my first I went along with what my friends were doing. I didn’t bother looking into other options because I didn’t think there were any.
This isn’t about home vs hospital birth. I believe women can have an empowered birth experience anywhere - home, hospital, birth center.
We need to know what we want and don’t want. We need to learn as much as we can about pregnancy and birth.
Doing some research before becoming pregnant is a wonderful thing.I wish I had done that, and I know that more women are doing that these days.
I was on Twitter the other day talking with a friend. She asked me if I was still thinking about becoming a midwife. I told her yes – but it was a matter of when would be the right time. Her response was “before I have children”
I told her how great it was that she was looking into all of her options before pregnancy. She said after seeing all that she did working as a STNA(state tested nursing assistant) in the hospital, her experiences swayed her to go the natural route.
It’s so easy to access information these days - you can hop online pretty much anywhere. I think the best way to be informed is to seek out all different types of women if you can, to talk about their birth experience(s).
I’m not talking scare tactic stories either, but a real mama village. Women who will support you and cheer you on throughout your pregnancy and birth.
You may be wondering what types of things you need to be informed about – Everything! Here’s a list to get you started.
Policy and Procedures for the place you’ve chosen to give birth
Your Midwife or OB’s Cesarean rate
If your planning a Homebirth – you want to know the transfer rate – also can your midwife carry drugs with her. They can’t in certain states.
Medications: pitocin, cytotec, epidural to name a few
Questions to ask your chosen care provider
Interventions and the snowball effect they can have on birth. Also the benefits of interventions in certain situations
Antepartum and Post-partum Depression
What kind of Postpartum care will be provided
You can read more on Informed Decision Making at Childbirth Connection.
Women are strong, and we need to take responsibility for our own births. We research what kinds of cloth diapers were going to use for the baby, do we co-sleep or not? Where should I register? Baby names, baby furniture, the list goes on and on.
We need to take all of that energy and put it into gaining all that we can on pregnancy and birth.
I know I have felt a certain level of calm during my last two pregnancies and births. It was because I had informed myself, and I created a village. If you can, ask your Grandmother, or Great Grandmother about her births. We learn so much by simply sharing with others our joys and fears, and also by listening to others tell their stories.
It’s time to stop treating pregnancy and birth as a serious medical condition. It’s normal and natural. Birth is beautiful, and it is truly a life changing experience. The way we birth impacts us in ways we often can’t begin to imagine. The birth of your children is something you will carry with you for life.
When you do your own research and go with what works best for you, you’ll feel like a mama bear. For me it felt like I was in on something that my ancestors knew. I feel like I belong to this amazing tribe of women from all over the world.
I’ve gone on long enough…what are some other things women need to know to have an empowered birth?
We invite you to sit, relax and take time to read the excellent and empowering posts by the other carnival participants:
Empowered Birthing – Amy at Anktangle shares a simple list of things that support an empowered birth experience.
Little Miss Green’s Home, Water Birth Story – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her (home, water) birth story. Even though it happened 10 years ago, the empowering feelings are the same to this day (and yep, it STILL makes her cry!). This post is also a tribute to her husband who was there mind, body and soul throughout.
Save Birth, Change The World – Toni Harman, mum and film-maker talks about the highs and lows of creating the ONE WORLD BIRTH film project dedicated to helping more women around the world have empowered births.
12 Steps to an Empowered Natural Birth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle wants to talk to all pregnant women and tell them YES they can have an Empowered Birth! This is her personal 12 step guide.
The Blessingway: a sacred blessing for birth – The Blessingway is a sacred ceremonial circle of women gathered with the intention of blessing and preparing a pregnant woman and her child to give birth. Betsy Dewey describes the beauty and the how-to of a modern Blessingway.
Informed Birth is Empowered Birth – Darcel at The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe tells us why it’s important to take control and be responsible for our own births. She says Informed Birth is Empowered Birth.
Empowering Birth in the Trenches – Over at Belly Tales enjoys the Midwife explores what empowered birth looks like in an urban hospital with a vulnerable population.
An Empowered First Birth – Zoie at TouchstoneZ follows the path she took to her first homebirth and finds she may not have been started out the best candidate for an empowered birth.
And this one to be published on Sept 12th :
Empowered Birth: From the Personal to the Universal – Zoie at TouchstoneZ questions the criteria for what makes an empowered birth and finds she has to let them all go.