“You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today, will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” – Dr. B.J. Palmer
I think that when working in the world of birth sometimes people can forget how long lasting and impactful their work is on the life of that family. I’m sure each birth worker does recognize that each birth is a miracle in its own rite but it is easy to lose the connection with how the events of that birth will play out for the future of that family.
When I was pregnant the first time, I knew I wanted a natural birth. I wanted nothing to do with medicalized birth and the only thing I feared was the possibility of being put on the clock and being pushed into the hospital system. I had total faith in my body and even wanted minimal involvement from my midwives. (I recognize that I am the odd ball when it comes to my complete faith in birth but it was as a result of my training as a chiropractor that I understood the full potential of the human body.)
Some midwives would have been less than comfortable with how comfortable I was with birth and I know not many Obstetricians would have been able to care for me. Many people who work in the world of birth are just as afraid of birth as women are, in today’s fear based culture.
Through an alignment of the stars I ended up with the perfect midwife, for me. I wanted my husband to catch and only wanted the midwives present as back up in case of emergency. One of the other midwives at the practice went into a long and detailed explanation for my husband on how to catch the baby. When I asked my midwife to review it for him at my last prenatal appointment, she said, “What’s there to know? You put your hands there and the baby comes out.” My thoughts were, “Yes! I love you!”
Then it came to labor day(s). Well, if we don’t exactly create our fears. I had the classic failure to progress labor, which almost inevitably ends in c-section. My water broke and nothing happened, I was now on the clock. I was fine with it and this is when so many care providers, working from a place of fear, start to interfere with the natural process. My midwife said, “That’s O.K. it can be broken for days.” My thoughts, “Yes! I love you!” She just confirmed everything I knew and read about and quieted my fears of being put on the clock. (She knew, that I knew, there were risks if I developed a fever and that would change the course of action).
At no point did she ever say or do anything that would have created fear or doubt in my mind. At every step of the way she supported me with a relaxed demeanor and ultimate respect for my wishes for this birth.
At 53 hours after my waters had broken about 30 hours of laboring and no progress, my husband and I were exhausted and starting to doubt everything we believed in. At this point my midwife did not fail me. She did not give up on me and showed no doubt in my ability to finish this birth.
She gave me options, which included what was available medically, but she presented them with absolutely no judgment or steering of my decision. She just laid the cards out on the table and said, “What would you like to do?”
When my husband asked if I was going to be too tired, she responded with, “No, once you get to the good part, you’ve got the guts, all the strength you need, to do it.” My thoughts, “Yes! I love you!”
This woman supported me in every instance there may have been doubt. She had just as much faith in me, as I did in birth and my body.
This woman has impacted my life in a way that I cannot even put into words. Knowing that someone had complete faith in my ability to do something so momentous has completely changed my life. She never gave up on me, even when everything was playing out as if it will not happen and even when 99% of people would have given up on me out of fear.
My birth could have easily turned into a transfer to the hospital and unplanned surgery, which would have changed my body and the course of my life forever. It would have changed my options and risks for future pregnancies and births and so much more. Instead, by having a provider who supported my choices and my wishes, someone who empowered me to follow my beliefs and my instincts, I have become a stronger and more confident parent. I am able to teach my children to also be confident in themselves and their ability to move mountains. I can teach them that when it’s hard you can still push through and succeed. I can teach them to trust their instincts and inner guidance system and to live up to their core values and beliefs.
I believe the way a woman becomes a mother has the power to shape who she becomes as a parent. My midwife supported me into becoming the parent I always wished I would become.
Thank you to the woman who had faith in me and never gave up on me.
I know that the events of that day set the course for my life. Since then I have gone on to have two more natural, home births. My third birth was likely the most watched birth on the planet, as it was live streamed to thousands around the globe. I have coached hundreds of women through their pregnancies and supported women at their births. As a result of my one, first birth, and the path that it set for me, thousands of women on this planet have gone on to have empowered births for them and their babies.
Again, I am reminded of this quote, which hold so true. “You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today, will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”
I wonder how many childbirth practitioners grasp how far reaching their work is? How it will affect the lives of that mother, that baby, that family, that community, and the world forever.
Did you have an empowered birth or a traumatic birth or something in between? Please share your story or how the circumstances of your birth have affected your life at http://informedchoice.ca/mothers-matter. We want birth practitioners to know just how much their work matters to the lives of the women they serve.