This I Believe
I believe in a woman’s ability to birth safely, healthfully and joyfully where she chooses, how she chooses and with whom she chooses. Where she feels safe is the safest place for her to birth. Mama really does know best. And what is good for mama is good for the baby. It’s like the old saying “When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy”.
I gave birth for the first time, well before the crack of dawn, on a chilly November morning in 1991. I birthed in the comfort and warmth of my own home, surrounded by people of my choosing, guided and supported by two loving midwives, also of my choosing. And in the cold darkness of that November morning, not only was a beautiful baby boy born, so too was a mama, a papa and a midwife. It was a profound transition in my life.
This was not a choice I made out of rebellion or fear of hospitals, but rather a choice I made from my heart. I hadn’t read any “your path to better birthing” books or “what to expect” books. I didn’t want to. As a matter of fact, I just couldn’t imagine birthing any other way. I felt my baby wouldn’t allow it.
Birth is a rite of passage for the whole family; for the partner, who has been there through the tender emotional outpourings, through the queasy days, through the first fluttering kicks and later the frolics felt just beneath the ribs and finally for the labor and birth, the grand event. And for the baby, who is profoundly affected in ways of which we are only beginning to recognize. Everyone is moved by this transition of life, from womb to room.
Pregnancy and birth are natural physiological processes which open and move through a woman’s body, mind and spirit. Pregnancy and birth are parts of the deeply personal and intimate journey involving every aspect of a woman’s being. It can be a time of great vulnerability and a time of great empowerment.
As a midwife, I have seen birth in all her unfettered force, unimpeded and oh so safe. I have seen, while looking into many a woman’s eyes, in the midst of her lucid struggle, the eternal, universal recognition of her very own strength. I have witnessed many a woman shift from “I can’t do this” to “I am doing this.” I have witnessed brilliant-faced partners awed and transformed while infused and bathed in the glow of the mama’s intense birthing energy. I have witnessed contractions, waves, primal rushes, uterine pulses and mamas moaning, singing, resisting, rocking, and rolling right into birthing their baby. I have witnessed babies, wet and warm, born into the welcoming arms of the family eagerly awaiting. And through bearing witness and bearing babies, I am a believer that birth is safe.
For every woman birthing and believing in herself, a baby is born imprinted with the same self confidence. And for every baby born into an environment of safety and peace, is a person imprinted with that same sense of peace. What better way to enter the world? I can imagine no other beauty or grace, aside from mothering, to which I can commit myself. This I believe with all my heart, with every cell in my body, one baby, one mama, one family at a time.
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