This I Believe

Annie - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on August 1, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: birth

As an instructor of natural childbirth, I am strong in my beliefs related to pregnancy and birth. However, it was not until the last days of my own pregnancy that these beliefs were tested. I was planning a home birth and waiting for my body to go into active labor. It was two weeks after my estimated due date.

My sisters and mom begged me to report to a hospital for an induction rather than risk the health of our baby. My midwives would not be able to attend my birth, at home, if it occurred after a gestational age of 42 weeks.

I remained confident in my body’s ability to go into labor. The baby affirmed his/her health with the movements inside of me. Regardless, it was time to make tough decisions about my birth.

I believe in the woman’s innate ability to bring forth life.

I believe that a child should be brought forth with the hard work and determination only his/her mother can provide.

Hard work and determination begins when the mother:

fully accepts the awesome responsibility.

allows herself to go selfishly into the natural state of labor.

lets go and lets her body do the incredible work that she alone is uniquely able to perform.

I believe that the strong sensations accompanying birth should be welcomed and celebrated.

These sensations should cause our communities:

to dance in their presence.

to stand in awe of their power.

to hum in harmony with the primal noises that accompany them.

I believe this laboring woman should be surrounded by the support of those who love her and love the life growing inside of her.

This laboring woman has a right to:

labor in a familiar place, uninterrupted.

be encouraged and reassured.

bring her son/daughter into the world as nature intended.

I believe that this mother, in tune with her own body, will trust birth and embrace it.

This mother will be forever:

connected to generations that preceded her in her own family.

intertwined with women who share this experience across the globe.

changed by the strength she learned she possesses through the natural birth process.

I believe the cultural climate surrounding birth in America is robbing women of an important emotional and physical milestone.

The climate:

is unfriendly to the knowledge that birth is a normal, natural and healthy part of a woman’s sexuality and a cornerstone of her life.

is telling our strong, beautiful women that they should not be expected, can not be trusted; to handle the incredible journey of childbirth.

leaves many women uncertain after giving birth, wondering if there wasn’t a better and more natural way to welcome their newborn.

I believe we should tell women the truth.

They should know that:

they are strong.

they are powerful.

they have unique abilities.

they will amaze themselves.

I believe in the woman’s innate ability to bring forth life.

I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Adeline Irie, at 11:35 PM on July 18, 2006. It was 25 minutes before the deadline set by the midwives. She was born at home, as planned.

I cajoled her along with an once of castor oil that I drank at 4 PM that afternoon. It was an amazing and powerful birth experience. Still, I sometimes wonder when her birthday might have been had I trusted my body completely and allowed her to stay inside a little longer.