Thoughts on Birth

My girls were both born at home. My niece was born in my home too. (All this once prompted a family friend to ask, "What kind of place are you running over there?" Ha!) Recently, my oldest daughter (having attended the birth of her sister and cousin) "educated" a neighbor girl about birth ... which I later discovered from the girl's mother. Ahem. This prompted a discussion with my gal about what's appropriate to talk about with other kids and why. During this conversation, my daughter was surprised to learn that most babies aren't born at home in the U.S., and that most kids haven't witnessed a birth!
My daughter and nephew, with the midwife, attending my niece's water birth at home.
Besides babies, my girls have been privy to the births of lot of butterflies at our house, and several Platies in the aquarium; and this week, we hatched our very first baby lizard! Selby brought a lizard egg home from the playground a of couple weeks ago, and on Tuesday, he came wiggling out of his tiny egg, all wet and scrawny!
Currently, we're awaiting the birth of some black Mollies in our aquarium. The mama fish is so big she looks like she might explode. I actually googled her condition out of concern and learned we ought to purchase a "birthing tank" for when she delivers her babies (so nobody will eat them!).
My girls are delighted and excited by birth. A few years back, on a kindergarten field trip to a local dairy farm, Selby and I witnessed the birth of a baby cow! It was so amazing we happened to be at the farm at just the right time. They allowed the school kids to gather a ways back and quietly watch. I was surprised that some parent chaperones were uncomfortable, pulling their kids out of sight of the birth.
It seems our society has, by and large, forgotten that birth is a normal physiological process, not a medical event. This disheartens me so, as the births of my children were such important, empowering and beautiful experiences. Every woman deserves an empowered birth, regardless of where she births and how. I just finished writing an article about this subject for the premiere issue of Sacred Pregnancy Magazine, which will debut this fall.
My friend, Liz, who had an empowered, informed c-section birth, is featured in my upcoming article in Sacred Pregnancy.
It's in our power to change our country's current birth culture, and it starts with educating ourselves about birth, our choices in childbirth, and our legal rights to accurate, evidence-based medical information about childbirth. It also starts with informing our children  - especially our daughters - that birth is a natural, normal, and magical process. Let your kids witness a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, an egg hatching, a new life emerging. Talk with them about birth (it happens to everyone and everything!). It's an exciting, beautiful thing, and nothing to be afraid of.


Melody said...

Wonderful post! All three of my children have been born at home. Big brother missed both of his sibling birth because they came so quickly and he slept right through. With my middle child we didn't wake him as it appeared that his baby brother was coming without the midwife and I knew I needed to be focused on catching him myself. Very comical at the littlest one's birth as my eldest boy made us promise we would wake him up for the birth since he missed the last one. The moment I got the urge to push I sent my husband to wake him up. So hubby is down the hall up the bunk bed ladder trying to rouse him and the first push my water breaks and I yell "get back in here the baby is coming NOW!" He just made it back to the door when my little guy came surging into the world completely unassisted by the midwife or Daddy who has caught both of our other babies, hand in hands with the midwife. Big brother slept right through the whole thing again though we did wake him up in time to cut the cord. The next year we went to a farm for lambing and my son walked round and round watching the ewes until he found one in labour and then refused to budge. He stayed put till about 20 minutes later she birthed the little lamb. Afterwards my son walked up to the farmer and said "well I missed seeing both my brothers being born but I didn't miss seeing the lamb!"

Liz ~ A Natural Nester said...

Melody, what a great story about your oldest son! Too cute. Thanks for sharing your home birth experiences. :-)