Both of my babies have been born at home. Born into water, into the hands of generous souls who felt the weight of the privilege they were catching. The same midwife attended both of their births, provided me with excellent, caring prenatal care, and now that we are moving away there is a bittersweet twinge to the realization that she will not be present for any future births. But it's just a twinge, only a twinge, not because I don't value her, but rather because she has empowered me.
I love midwives, and doulas. I know so many, and am so ridiculously fortunate to know so many! I have learned so much from them, about this rite of passage called childbirth. I have learned fathoms about what it means to be a woman, not just a mother, but a woman. I look at this creature I am, this Woman Creature, with awe and pride, respect and admiration, and it's all their fault.
Before I had children, I didn't really understand that giving birth was my birth right, and that it was my decision, my right, to choose who attended that birth, and who provided me with care. I had no idea that I had the right to change that care provider at any time, for any reason. I didn't understand until I was in the middle of pregnancy that there can be no poking, no prodding, no anything without my consent. I didn't realize, until my midwife told me, that I had power. I thought pregnancy and childbirth weakened a woman, spread her hips and changed her body, sometimes irreversibly. I assumed it put me at the mercy of doctors, or midwives, and their "greater" knowledge, because of course they would know better than me what's best. I prayed and hoped for a good experience. I received education and empowerment.
I heard over and over and over again from my midwife that she works for me. She reiterated countless times that attending the event of me birthing my baby was a privilege and an honor for her. With every test available throughout pregnancy, she presented it as an option, along with any information and education I may need or desire. These things were my choice; no one can make you take the glucose test. You choose to take that test, or you choose not to. No one can make you have an ultrasound. You choose what your body, and the body of the life within you, is exposed to. Again and again, the power was put back into my hands. Over and over, until now I know it for myself indubitably, she enforced that I can and will make the decisions regarding my pregnancies and births, and I will make good decisions based on information and education.
I want this to be every woman's experience, not just with childbirth, although I especially and very deeply want it for birth. I want every woman to have an attending care provider, be they doctor or midwife, who realizes what a privilege it is to witness birth, to watch this woman who has been in their care become a mother, right before their eyes, and sees some part of the sacred awesomeness of that. Who sees that to be a birthing woman is to be both powerful and vulnerable, but never weak.
I want this especially for my daughter. If she chooses to have children, I want her to understand above all that how and where she births, and who is there with her, is her choice. That her body is still her property, and not a guinea pig, neither a broken, inadequate vessel. I want her to walk in her power.
Honestly, I don't know where this is all coming from, or why. Many articles have been crossing my path lately that just simply break my heart, and I needed an outlet. Women are being mistreated, in varying ways, none of them new, just the same lame game over and over. Woman being pitted against woman. Women being told they are broken when they aren't, women being lied to, being put in place that isn't theirs, or anyone's. It just isn't right.
If you happen to be pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant, and are reading this, I encourage you to choose a care provider who respects women, who will educate and empower you as a woman and a mother. If you can't find one, then please hire a doula, and learn all you can. Take back and walk in your power.