I decided I wanted a homebirth, but I was shocked at how hard it was to find a homebirth midwife in Buffalo. The whole experience of childbirth and pregnancy was an introduction to feminist thought and study that I'd previously been unaware of, in terms of the way that childbirth was co-opted, and is so controlled by the medical/patriarchal establishment.
It makes me really sad that women have been ejected from the seat of their power in this society in terms of what happpens around childbirth. In other parts of the world, there are places where women can't drive a car, but they're still in charge of childbirth. I look at my society and think, how emancipated are we, really? We can play basketball, but can we benefit from eons of women's wisdom that accords a birthing woman the support and time to give birth healthily? Those elements are absent in our society for so many women.
I've always been very aware of the animal I am. If I walked into a flourescent-lit hospital with people pressuring me to get it done, take drugs, get on my back, and put my legs up in the air, it wouldn't have worked. As Ina May [Gaskin] says, the cervix is a sphincter: It doesn't open if it's not relaxed.
I knew I needed to be at home, comfortable - not feeling any pressure. I agree with that whole school of thought that if I were drugged through that moment of revelation, It would have taken something away from my life journey. I'm really happy in the end that I felt every last bit of the pain, and was as present as I could be. Whenever you go through something terrifying and come out the other side, you grow and have more self-respect in terms of your own strengths. I wanted that more than I wanted whatever sort of numbing that the hospital would have offered. The way I finally got my labor going after two days was to march up and down my stairs. I couldn't have done that in the hospital - they wouldn't have let me climb up and down stairwells for hours, naked and screaming. [laughs] But that was a necessary part of my process.
Birthing naturally, as most women do around the globe, is a superhuman act. You leave behind the comforts of being human and plunge back into being an animal. My firend's partner said, "Birth is like going for a swim in the ocean. Will there be a riptide? A big storm? Or will it just be a beautiful, sunny little dip?" Its indeterminate length the mystery of its process, is so much a part of the nature of birth. The regimentation of a hospital that wants to make it happen and use their gizmos to maximum efect is counter to birth in general.
Amen sister. I would not trade my three births, two at home, for any experience this life has to offer. From these, I grew and have had a peek at my infinite potential and strength as a woman that I pull from every day as a mother. I loved it so much, I think I'll do it again... not yet, but soon.