Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The beginning of a journey

Yesterday, while blogging about "babymoons" I remembered, fondly, some of the sites that influenced and educated me as a newly pregnant mom with my first child. I was a "young" mom at 21, none of my friends had babies, and my mom had gone through 3 c-sections to bring my siblings and I into the world. I had noone that I knew personally who could give me encouragement or information. So I turned to the internet.

Since I believe that our state of mind and our deep seated beliefs can create our reality, I decided two things: that my body must be able to birth babies, because it was designed to do it; and that I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. So I Googled "natural childbirth". All of the references that came up (ok, not all, but most) had to do with homebirths, many with midwives and some of them *gasp* unassisted! At the time, some of the things I read seemed strange to me: MangoMama and her talk of Lotus births and babymoons, BirthLove with Leilah McCracken and her heartbreaking essay "Rape of the 21st Century", placenta smoothies to help with postpartum recovery, and more. But I kept reading.

I read of moms dealing with pain firsthand, with gentle support and love around them. I read of dads catching their babies. I read of strength and triumph and exhaustion and joy. These stories became the basis of my own personal mantra "I CAN DO THIS". I thank every one of those mothers who shared their birth stories, who by doing so empowered me to have a wonderful birth.

Now, almost 10 years later, I am appreciative that all my research led me to a greater understanding of birth, and the miracle that it is. Each website I found led me to more information. I learned how to really read studies. I learned how to dig until I found facts, and evidence-based information. I participated in chatrooms, usually as an observer. Finally, I started working as a doula and got to put some of the theory, and the universal knowledge that we all carry, into helping women with their births.

If you are thinking of a homebirth, or of working as a doula or midwife, or want a low intervention birth at the hospital, do your homework. Educate yourself. There is a good chance you will go through some of the same things I did: surprise, fear, shock, awe, anger, disgust and more when you figure out the reality behind modern birthing practices. Then you need to reach out to midwives, doulas, friends, sisters, partners and more and talk about what you learn, vent your frustrations and go about creating and healing your own birth experiences.

Some topics to get you started:
Gloria Lemay
Leilah McCracken
Mothering Magazine
Midwifery Today
Ronnie Falcao's Midwife Archives
Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) in the UK
Mary Cronk
Ina May Gaskin
Spiritual Midwifery
The Farm Midwives
Heart and Hands
Elizabeth Davis

From there, you will just keep going, as these will all reference each other. Blessings on your journey sister. We are doing this together.


onelittlemustardseed said...

Hi Amy,

I just found your site and plan to read it over! I think our paths may have crossed over the years. My belly was used for the poster for the midwifery conference a few years back.

Anyways, I would like to add to your list Compleat Mother Magazine...especially during the years with Catherine Young. I loved that magazine!

Amy said...

I have loved the little bit of Compleat Mother that I have read but haven't had that much access to it! If you will be in Fredericton and our paths could cross again, let me know as a coffee or tea break would be great :)