Yesterday, the weather in Atlanta was unusually warm and I ended up at a playground with friends by the early evening. I sat watching kids running back and forth screaming at the top of their lungs, taking turns on swings, slides, and see-saws, as parents oversaw it all. It was a pleasant scene, and being a mother myself, a familiar one.
As I sat watching, I wondered how many of these children were brought into this world via home birth, in the comfort of their own home versus the clinical hospital setting. It is more common these days for a child to enter the world with the assistance of science and medical or even surgical procedures as opposed to through the aid of a midwife equipped with experience, wisdom and guidance. Why does modern society deem home births as “outdated”, “crazy” or “risky” even? After all, until about 1900, midwifery was the standard.
Birth is natural and normal. It’s written in a woman’s genetic memory. I had natural childbirth (twice) in the comfort of my own home with the childrens’ father, my midwife and her apprentice. Giving birth as such made me feel EMPOWERED and INVINCIBLE!
Prior to hospital births being the “norm”, the midwife was a like a family member. Often a friend, or neighbor or community elder, a midwife helped usher babies into the world using the gift of her hands – and love. The work of the midwife included providing emotional support, encouragement, practical advice, guidance and medical care. Traditionally, midwives learn through apprenticeships where the knowledge was passed down. But it is also their personal connection to the mother and ultimately the child that truly make midwifery a special institution.
During pregnancy with both of my daughters, I would meet with my midwife, Sarahn Agyriwah Henderson, regularly. She taught me about natural childbirth as well as child-rearing. She helped me be confident in my natural abilities and in the divine bond between mother and child. She informed me of more natural ways to deal with laboring and delivery. I walked the entire time I labored, as opposed to lying down, allowing gravity to help make the transition move more rapidly. I learned to listen to my body and work with the contractions and make the experience be more comfortable. I was allowed to have a say in the well-being of my children in ways that we are often denied in a hospital birth (according to the stories my girlfriends who’ve HAD hospital births). All in all, I think it was pretty “fly” to have a natural and wholistic birthing experience. I’m proud that I took the homebirth “pill” (thank you Sauda for referring Sarahn to me) 🙂
So to all you soon-to-be mamas and wanna-be mamas, remember: you’re not SICK; you’re having a baby! Get the facts. Compare and contrast and make the best decision for you and your family. For more information about midwives or to find one in your area, check out www.ictcmidwives.org.