It has been said that the hardest part of the journey takes place right before the breakthrough or transformation.
This is the position in which I see childbirth in the United States and around the world.
Everywhere, there are uprisings. People taking to the streets, reclaiming their power, strengthening their resolve, beckoning with their voices. No matter where, or what the reason, there is a similar tune: freedom.
Tonight I was part of a viewing of Freedom For Birth, a documentary film by One World Birth, and sat on a panel discussion after the film.
The entire event was exhilarating for me to be a part of. Although I had already seen the film earlier this week to prepare for the panel discussion, the depth in which I appreciated it’s content was just as, if not more, powerful as I’d felt watching for the first time.
Freedom For Birth is a film that will outrage you, that is for sure. The statistics and stories told from around the world about the abuses to women during childbirth are completely unacceptable.
But the film is also incredibly inspiring in that one can answer with confidence that change is not only necessary, I’ll go as far to say it’s on the horizon.
We’ve hit the bottom of the abyss. (I’m paraphrasing Michel Odent said in the film.) His statement is followed by this question, written out for us on the screen: How do we climb out of the abyss?
The same way our children come into the world. Pushing against what feels like nothing, twisting and turning, feeling stuck and then moving another inch. Sometimes backward an inch too. Yet all while, on some deep instinctual level, we are moving forward toward the light.
Our journey to reclaiming birth as a fundamental human right will be long and hard. But there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. That light signifies freedom. As long as each person who believes in birth lets their voice be heard – on a micro and macro level – there is nowhere to go but upward.
My final message is in these few action steps you can take to #1, ensure you have a choice in creating your ideal birth experience, and #2, how women and families can take back the power of childbirth.
- Have a vision for your birth. Dream about your birth. Draw your birth. Meditate over your birth. What does it look like? How do you want to feel? What is the best way to bring your baby into this world?
- Find the right care provider. I’m talking the perfect fit. You must know like and trust that person with all your heart and know your entire gut instinct says they are the one. Interview as many as you need to.
- Share your positive pregnancy experiences and empowering birth stories with everyone you can. The world needs to hear about beautiful births. The balance is currently tipped in the favor of negative and fear-based tales. Let’s change that!
- Get involved on a local, statewide, and even a national level to help change the conversation in a positive direction. What organizations can you become a part of? For me, it’s FoMM, and attending screenings like the one tonight (and BBH of course!).
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What action steps do you think we can take as a nation, or as a planet of human beings, to change the culture of birth for the better?