Some people I have encountered are truly scared of birth. In their eyes, birth is dangerous. For mother and child and needs not only to be attended but managed.
Though I am not shy about my decisions, I have not talked to many people openly about my plans. However, I do not lie either. If someone asks me where I am going to give birth I will say at home, if they go further and ask if/how I got a midwife I will tell them that we don’t… The same questions always come up after that… who is going to check you? Who is going to cut the cord? and then the what if’s come out… Then I get the comment “you are so brave” or something similar… I respond to the questions simply… no one will check me and I would let a doctor of midwife do it either… The cord will be cut after birth by either Simon or I after a the placenta comes out or longer… the What if’s I don’t go into details and just say that I am ready for many situations and will deal with them at home.
The brave comment is what makes me go crazy….
I am not brave to birth at home. What is brave in my opinion is to entrust my body to someone else. I was willing to do that with my last two pregnancies and births and I am not happy with the way that they turned out. Of course I have two gorgeous and healthy boys but the births were long and I felt rushed and threatened. I cried many tears because I felt that I had no control, no control over my body because I knew that I had to let it do its work, but control over my treatment. I wish that I wouldn’t have had so much courage those times to trust these strangers, I wish I would have had the courage to take charge of my own health completely and would have known more when I was pregnant with the boys. Of course, I was raised in a society of fear and was taught that doctors and midwifes were the experts of birth and a woman’s body in pregnancy and that you must surrender your body over to them and trust them. I am glad however, that though I was taught that, I never could believe it… I once went into a small surgery on my toe and was terrified of the needle to freeze my toe… the doctor tried to calm me down by asking me if I trusted him… I said no… he was so struck back at that and asked why I was there… I told him that I couldn’t do it by myself…
Looking back it is not that I am just afraid of needles… I have always been fearful to put my trust in doctors. I feel sick to my stomach at times when my mom speaks about doctors… she seeks them for pills and treatments. She wants blood tests, and scans and every intervention imaginable. She loves being medicated and whenever her body does something different, even though there is a good and clear explanation for it, she seeks a doctor… and when that doctor doesn’t want to give her enough pills or tests she finds another… now she is on hormones, antidepressants, blood thinners, muscle relaxers and an array of other meds…. and of course she self medicates with drugs, alcohol and whatever other pills or homoeopathic meds that she can get a hold on… she has always put all of her trust in doctors and medication. She doesn’t trust her body at all.
The day that I found out that I was pregnant and called the birthing centre and was told that I couldn’t have a midwife I actually felt relieved. I was quite hesitant to call the other birthing centre and when I finally did I wanted to hang up… I told the head midwife that if I didn’t get a midwife I would do things alone and though she may or may not have though that it was a “threat” it was just the truth and it was actually wishful thinking on my part. I never did call them when the time came that I may have had a place at the birthing centre, but when they called me a little rush of fear came over me…
I feel the need to be informed about birth and the more that I am informed the scarier the idea of having interventions and someone managing the birth becomes frightening. I do believe that there are women that are lucky enough to find a lay midwife that will not do any interventions at all but becomes a friend and a support person during the birth and is able to let the woman have complete control. However, I do not think that there are many midwifes out there that are able to so such a thing. I do think that I have found one however, a midwife that I have not met, that will not be here at all, that I probably will never meet, but has invited us to contact her if we have questions during the birth and for legal stuff after the birth to ease the process to get the birth registered.
The other day I called my grandmother just to say hi and we ended up talking about my plans a bit, my grandmother who had 5 twilight births (drugged into unconsciousness and awoke to a brand new baby that she was not allowed to hold too much) was actually much more supportive then I though she would be and started talking to me about the births of her siblings. My great grandmother was an amazing woman and I was very close to her. I knew she breastfed, I knew she birthed at home in her little country farm house. But it was amazing to hear a few details… my grandmother was surprised by the fact that the boys may see the birth and then remembered that she herself had witnessed the births of her siblings. She was surprised that I will be alone at home, but then remembered and shared that in birth a neighbour woman would often only show up near the end or even after the actual birth. I think that she understood a bit more where I am coming from.
Thinking about it all… maybe I am brave. Brave to go against the norm and trust my body and trust nature instead of trusting someone else. Brave to follow in my great grandmothers footsteps instead of following in my grandmothers or my mothers. Brave enough to believe that new doesn’t always mean improved.