So I’m beginning a new phase completely – I’m pregnant. Coming up to 18 weeks, so well into it, and feeling fairly good, no serious health issues etc.
What I wanted to write, purely for my own future reference, is the story of my journey towards motherhood and all that it involves. I think motherhood, and parenthood to some extent, are very different from what they used to be. It’s gone full circle – back in ancient times women were revered and even worshipped for their ability to give life, some might say a ‘God-like’ ability, able to create, even though in fact all human beings are creators. Then motherhood was a woman’s only path, and everything else secondary; slightly less sacred, but special nonetheless. Later, being a mother became more of a rite of passage, something that validated a woman’s existence, and, in Elizabethan times for example, it was really the only reason women were kept around. Childraising became a chore, birth a difficult and dangerous process, and women who once tuned into their God-given instincts around pregnancy and birth became frightened of their own abilities – in fact they no longer recognised them as abilities. Birth was something that happened TO a woman, she was subjected to it, this torturous experience, and so it became a big medical ordeal, where women needed the help of medical professionals to do something that their bodies were actually designed to do. The excuse for all this: ‘oh but it’s so worth it in the end when your baby is in your arms’. So we haven’t forgotten how special children are, but babies coming out of women, this is now a real hurdle in life. This is where we are now… well, almost.
I’ve never gotten to that stage; I’ve always known my body would be fine and be able to give birth. I wouldn’t dream of asking some doctor, who doesn’t know anything about my body or me, their opinion on the matter – what would they know? So they’ve got a degree that took them five years and probably even more as an intern, they’ve read a lot of literature, studied a lot of medical history, seen lots of women pregnant, maybe been present at lots of births, but have they really observed birth in its natural state? When would a doctor have had that opportunity, given that they’re only called in when something goes wrong? I suspect never, purely because they are doctors, and ultimately they’re about ‘safety’. Oooh, you’re bleeding, you’re dying, let’s put lots of drugs in you to stop it! Umm, hang on, what if the bleeding is part of the process? What if it’s a message from your body? No one panics when a woman has a period, and some women have really heavy periods – do they expect a woman not to bleed profusely when giving birth? Yeah.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I’m planning to have my baby at home. Why? Because pregnancy and birth are not medical conditions and do not require any kind of medical assistance or intervention unless something is seriously wrong. And how will I know if something’s seriously wrong? I’ll know. Life is risk; going to a hospital is a massive risk; exceeding the speed limit is a risk; so is bungee jumping, playing rugby, drinking alcohol, telling someone you think they’re a dickhead, loving someone, crying, travelling, sleeping… they’re all risks, and the levels of risk vary, not depending on the activity, but depending on the individual circumstances. Life is all about risks and weighing them against your individual situation. In my opinion, the risk of something going medically wrong is heightened by being in a medical facility and being interfered with. The risk of something going medically wrong at home is a hell of a lot lower. Fact.
I don’t think I’m ‘brave’ or it’s any amazing achievement or I’m special or doing something really different – birth at home seems far more normal to me than birth in a hospital. I guess it’s to do with upbringing, and the fact that I’m luckily a really healthy person with a strong constitution and I don’t tend to ask doctors what to do when I’m sick, I just get on with sorting it out myself. (Actually it’s not just luck that I’m so healthy, I’ve got good genes and my mum did everything to give me a healthy upbringing.)
I have to say I hate that people think having a baby at home instead of in a hospital is some great, brave, amazing feat, like I’m really pushing boundaries and taking this massive risk. I hate to say it but I think it’s ignorance, and social conditioning. People just don’t take responsibility for their own bodies any more, and in hospital you give up any control, ownership or power you may have had over your own body – which is insane, who would want to do that unless you’re completely helpless? The problem with Western medicine is that it’s all about chemistry, physics and biology and doesn’t acknowledge the part that psychology, spirit and emotions play in it all. Just because something’s manifesting physically doesn’t mean the cause is physical… What makes a baby grow, what makes it ready to be born, what makes a woman’s body push the baby out? Sure as hell isn’t the woman herself. Time and time again I’ve read accounts of birth from mothers saying, ‘I didn’t do anything, my body just pushed out the baby’. Really? So all that huffing and puffing and shouting ‘push, push, push… now, now, now!’ is all just for the benefit of those delivering and watching the birth… They think they’re in control, that they’re actively ‘delivering’ a baby, that giving direction to push or pant or stop or lie down is causing the birth to occur, when really it’s just a distraction from what’s already happening naturally.
I can’t wait to give birth – it’s going to be the most intense experience of my life, but I can’t wait!