a doula combining Science and spirituality, research and Intuition..

Archive for June, 2013

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My thoughts on homebirth


Home birth to me is about more than place, its about dignity, autonomy, privacy, normal life. Giving birth to a baby is not just a physical process, it is emotional and sacred, it is a ritual. I planned to have my first baby at home, I had seen cats and dogs birth as a child and experienced how a quiet, comfortable and dark space facilitated a straightforward birth for them. I read the ‘Zoo vet’ series and was impressed by how aware the vets were that the pregnant animals in their care needed an undisturbed space otherwise births would stall, having strangers or other animals around creating fear was a disaster and often ended in the animals needing intervention to get their babies out safely. There was little support for home birth when I had my daughter ten years ago, especially for a first baby and I didn’t end up having her at home. It was a long, malpositioned labour and I had a large and extended episiotomy. I set up a homebirth support group for other women in my area the year after she was born, which I have run every month for the past ten years. Its a very informal group, just women or couples talking about their experiences through pregnancy and labour and birth. I also trained as a doula (birth partner) and have been lucky enough to attend over 40 births, including many home births. Whilst I have been to lovely births in hospitals and midwife led units, there is a special feeling to home births, the emergence of a family within their own environment, watching women and their partners able to move around naturally, to dance through their living room if they want to, to cook food when they are hungry, to walk barefoot in their garden to get solace from nature. This helps women cope better with their labour, to move through the rhythms of the birth process with less fear, less pain. Allowing couples to have space for private time, for some sweet loving. To allow Men to be as present as they are able to be or want to be but also to be able to step away and take some time in their own space to take stock, without having to wander around a sterile hospital and have to ask for permission to enter wards. At home there is space for people to have their other children if they want them, friends, parents, whoever they need to get through and celebrate this wondrous event. At home care givers are respectful that they are within another’s private space, it removes some of the institutional behaviour you can see in a hospital setting. Not all births can be at home and we are lucky to have hospitals to go to if we need them, but generally I believe the evidence is clear that birthing at home is safer for most women. I gave birth to my son at home nearly two years ago. I spent much of my labour wandering around the park in the sunshine on my own, then filling my own birth pool whilst singing along to a music list I had prepared. I had prepared an alter with items from my two blessingways (Mother blessings to prepare for the birth). I braided my hair in an elaborate style in celebration of this long awaited day. I still experienced the despair of transition, when I knew that it was impossible for me to do this act of giving birth, and it is in these momments when women must surrender their mind into the possession of their body that many women cry out for something, anything to help them (and in hospital may end up with diamorphine or an epidural) but this moved on to the primal pushing urge and soon my son was born into my hands in the water and I felt like a she wolf, elated, euphoric, relieved, so happy to see his face for the first time, this son I already knew from the moment of conception. I was able to get into my own bed to feed him from my breast for the first time. Often after home births I have attended, it is the hours after birth I have most enjoyed at home births. The pop of the champagne cork, cooking a meal for the new parents. Seeing children meet their new sibling for the first time. Home birth is not just about a place, it is a woman taking her birth into her own hands as a sacred act, where she is loved and a space is held for her to do the work to bring the new soul through into this world, into her heart space and her hearth space, where birth should be

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