My Mum and her five siblings were all born at home in a village in rural India. The midwife gained her birth experience by giving birth herself, but also by knowledge that had been passed down through generations.
There was no medical training, there was no hospital bed, no drugs, no machines, no obstetricians, no bright lights – just my Nani (maternal grandmother), the midwife and the rest of the family carrying on with life.
Speaking to my Mum about her memories of her brother being born unearthed a raw and enlightening experience which resonated so much with me I wanted that birth for my son.
The labour is not long. The midwife waits quietly as my Nani births her son.
My Mum stands at the door watching my Nani breastfeed her younger sister. Her newly born brother lies wrapped in a cloth on the floor. His attached placenta rests gently beside him. My Nani beckons my Mum into the room and puts her arm around her.
It is calm and peaceful.
Years later, my Mother finds herself in London, about to give birth. There is a multitude of doctors and midwives telling her what to do. Everything she had observed about the birth of her siblings is no longer relevant. She labours for three days in a brightly lit ward surrounded by strangers while someone ‘delivers’ her baby.
The experience does not even have an echo of the beautiful birth she witnessed all those years ago. There was nothing calm or pleasant about it.
I was whisked away to a baby ward where I stayed so she could rest, formula fed for ten days and then off home after the period of convalescence was over.
When I ask my Mum about it she says it was horrible.
Back in India, my cousins were nearly all born at home but their children were born in hospitals.
In two generations, there has been a drastic change in the way women give birth. Old and valuable knowledge has been overtaken by an almost factory line approach to birth where women are treated in the same manner despite the stark physiological and experiential differences between us.
I believe that there is potential for every women to have a calm and peaceful, yet extremely empowering birth, regardless of how you choose to birth. I believe that the odds are against us before we even become pregnant. As I have journeyed through my years, I have never seen a depiction of birth that does not involve a woman lying on her back screaming in a brightly lit room. There is no denial of the pain involved in birthing but the drama is unnecessary.
Does this not build up a negative and unrealistic perception of birth? Does this not break confidence and instil fear in women? Does it not then transpire that we are more likely to follow instructions than trust our own bodies during our labour, often resulting in unnecessary interventions leaving women traumatised about the whole experience?
I found the experience of giving birth empowering and life changing. I never knew I had so much strength and determination within me. It shook the foundation of who I am and changed me forever.
I am fortunate in this respect but this is largely due to so many wonderful people who helped the birth of my son to be as it was. The fact that I even found them is entirely serendipity.
I am energised and determined to help as many women to experience a positive birth whether they choose to birth vaginally or via caesarean section.
I have treated women during pregnancy, for physical healing after giving birth, but most importantly for dealing with birth trauma.
Over the coming months, I will explore pregnancy and birth in a series of blogs posts.
Homeopathy has a place at every stage of human creation.
We were born to birth.
It is not ok for women to experience trauma during birth.
It is not ok for a baby’s first experience in the world to be traumatic.
It is not ok for women to be left alone to deal with this.
These first experiences can have devastating impacts on our well being for a long time afterwards.