Birth Activism: Choose Your Own Adventure

Mary Celeste as Amazon in 1861There are three kinds of birth activists in this world… Which one are you?

The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. — William A. Ward

P.S. If you’d like to help adjust the sails, join the fun here or here, and ask questions here. ūüôā


Image credit: Mary Celeste as Amazon in 1861, by Unknown. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Birthing a blog

As a woman who has birthed three beautiful babies, but also as a CARES volunteer, I have spent much time over the past five years fantasising about how one might make the world a better place¬†for women to birth in. If only we could band together, share strength from one mother to another, and not feel afraid to ask more questions, or feel selfish for wanting a positive birth experience and a bit sad about our awful ones. As a culture, we¬†are quick to keep¬†the parts of ‘birth’¬†all neatly boxed and labelled, and are encouraged to throw a lid on top of it all¬†once the job is done. In this modern, fast-paced, and technocratic life, there is¬†little space for something as ancient, wild¬†and humbling as birth.

And so, this brings me to the concept behind this blog… In a culture so unaccustomed to speaking about birth as a rite of passage, and about women’s experiences of birth in general, I hope this blog will be a space for women to reconnect with each other so that we can once again share our stories and learn from one another. Let’s chink our glasses as we¬†indulge our thirst for knowledge, shrug off the shroud of fear which holds us back from asking the tough questions, and let’s make the ‘wrong’ decisions if they are the right ones to make as mothers.

At a time when the world wants us pixelated and stored in clouds, it is easy to be distracted from our primal nature – birth brings this to the fore, and it can either be confronting, or it can be empowering. It is a matter of being at peace with the ancient technologies of our bodies, and learning how to respect this as a technology which has served us for many, many generations.

Let’s never forget this –¬†let’s pass the wisdom on.¬†What I’m talking about is not the sort of information you get at a hospital antenatal class, and it’s unlikely to pop up in a ‘childbirth’ google.¬†This is the esoteric stuff we would have once been told by our village elders. It is¬†the cultural joining of the dots which allows us to see the place birth holds in our lives universally and across all time. When we can free our minds¬†of¬†parenting fads¬†and bell curve charts and celebrity postpartum weight loss regimes, we will remember these things. And, when we do,¬†we’ll see¬†that we are slowly making birth welcome in the world again.