My oldest daughter is 7. She has recently been asking many questions about birth as she sees and hears my passion for it. Tonight the conversation went like this:
Cutie Pie: “Mom, I wish babies could just come to us instead of having to birth them.”
Me: “Why honey?”
Cutie Pie: “Well, because most moms need to go to the hospital to give birth and that’s not good.”
Me: “No honey, very few moms need to. Most moms can birth at home, like I did with the baby.”
Cutie Pie: “Does it hurt? Is it painful?”
Me: “It is not painful, it is intense.”
Cutie Pie: “Mom, did they use those on me?” (We were looking at a picture of a baby being pulled out by forceps)
Cutie Pie: “Oh good. Can you show me normal birth…like how babies are supposed to come out?!”
At this point I realize that I have shown her many videos of natural childbirth, I talk about birth all the time and I answer all of her questions, but it is just not enough. It hit me that my sweet daughter needs to SEE BIRTH! She was a c-section baby herself and did not witness my vaginal births (one at the hospital and traumatic and one at home when she was sleeping).
What is socially normal birth? I would say it includes the following:
- Cervical checks
- Drugs (pitocin, epidurals, cytotec, etc.)
- Birth Rape
- Images of women laying on their backs, screaming and purple coach pushing
- Doctors doing what they want and everyone telling mom that at least they have a ‘healthy baby’.
How do we change this view of ‘normal birth’ for our daughters who will be birthing and our sons who will be supporting women in birth one day?! We have to SHOW them what normal birth can and should be. How can something be normal when it is never seen? It’s like feeding your children chicken their whole lives and then one day telling them to eat cockroach because you “say” it is normal. No, it’s not, at least not in America. You can’t just say something is normal. What makes it normal is the exposure and our children are exposed to traumatic, intervention births as the norm.
Revelation: My daughter NEEDS to see me birth. Period. If I have a night birth again, we will be waking her up for her to witness mama birthing her baby sister/brother. She will see with her own eyes that birth is empowering and beautiful! Then, when I tell her THAT is normal birth, she will have the memory and experience to pull from. It will be tangible. She can believe me.
We have to show our children that birth can be painless, powerful, intense, intervention free and empowering! We have to offset what others say about birth around our children’s innocent ears and what they see in the movies and media. Show them inspiring birth videos. Make educated choices and have wonderful births they can experience with you. Girls and women should be learning about birth from US; from seeing women giving birth!
“The need to pursue healthy birth options and birth rights for women and babies doesn’t end with our own births; for women will always birth after us.” ~Desirre Andrews