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It seems that there is a view around Freebirthing that deems it unsafe and irresponsible, where women are deliberately putting themselves and their babies in danger.
Freebirth is not a dirty word!
I want to take this time to openly state that, of course it is not for everyone, and that…
Freebirther’s are not extremist birth vigilantes or crazy, trippy hippies who scream, “Fuck the System”
Most women I know that have claimed the role as “freebirther’s” are well researched. Yes, we are birth activists, openly encouraging women to listen to their intuition and strongly advocate a woman’s right to chose how she gives births and where.
The choice to freebirth is an informed one. The experience is completely liberating.
We enter into the birthing realm with full responsibility and understanding about the language of birth. We are educated in birth practices and Sacred ways. Some of us have had traumatic births in the past, Some of us are transitioning from Maiden to Mother for the first time and some of us are seasoned mamas. Point being… you can’t pigeonhole us into a box that makes it easier to disassociate with.
We branch across all demographics, ethnicities and socio-economic statuses. We are women, who have made a choice to birth on our own terms, without the aid of any medical professionals present. For some of us this decision is made without hesitation, for others it is a journey to feel comfortable with this option.
Yes, it is an option!
We journey in many ways to overcome our fears, social fears and the stigmatisation that can surround birth. Due to the current political atmospheres and discussions around birth, Sometimes this means keeping our plans to ourselves to avoid criticism and judgment from others- or pending on where you live, being reported!
Birth is a natural process, not a medical one.
Part of the reason I felt so called to freebirth my daughters was that I knew I could as a Sovereign Being and to lead by example, claiming birth as a natural process and rite of passage… and to say,
“Hey… there is another way! Birth is not scary like you see depicted in the media and movies… it is beautiful and Sacred and can be so completely drama free and empowering… it can be a complete Spiritual and Shamanic experience… and you CAN do it at home, safely and naturally!”
Although birthing unassisted is not for everyone, it is such an empowering way to connect to the ancient Primal Mother archetype, to our great, great grandmothers, the tribal ways of women’s mysteries, held and guarded fiercely with grace by the wise women of the community, midwives.
Women have been “freebirthing” since the dawn of humanity.
Of course, as with anything, it is not the only way, and any woman can feel empowered through birth, no matter where she chooses. Empowerment comes through choice, and owning those choices fully and the consequences, good or bad, derived from our actions.
In contemporary culture, Freebirthing is deemed radical and unsafe.
“OH, YOU’RE SO BRAVE”
“BUT YOUR BABY COULD DIE, YOU COULD DIE”
I don’t know about being brave… to some extent yes, Freebirthing is a courageous act, but for me it just felt completely natural… like no big deal!
And yes, my baby could die… my baby could die in utero, my baby could die in the hospital with several medical professionals on guard. My dignity could also die at the hands of professionals who apparently know my body better than I do and override my right to choose.
Yes, I could die… but you know I researched the risks and prepared myself. The biggest risk for me was hemorrhaging, by full term I had become anemic. So, like any responsible adult would, I took measures to address that risk- like eating iron rich foods with vitamin C, minimising dairy intake and supplementing with 3-4 sachets of Spatone to boost my levels. I also knew that after birthing in the water, to get out as soon as possible… The sole reason for this is to monitor blood loss, as it is hard to measure once it is diluted. I also knew that if I started to feel faint or dizzy- if consciousness was fading, to call for help without a second thought.
Death, Birth… they’re two sides of the same coin really. In a completely sacred and delicate balance.
When I made the decision to freebirth Maia, it was due to the fact that I had absolutely no fear to do so. I had a wonderful midwife for all my check ups though she did not attend homebirths, and connected with a local independent midwife at 38weeks incase I wanted to hire her. The only reason in my mind to hire her, was if Maia’s father was too anxious, then she would be there more in service to him, than to me. We spoke for a while and she agreed that I didn’t really need her. She was confident that everything would be fine as much as I was. I trusted my body and the process completely. Everything felt clear, as it did with my second freebirth of Lucah 7 weeks ago and I was not ignorant to the risks involved.
Our fears about the “what if’s” can actually create the outcome we are hoping to avoid… that is not to say with respects to birth that we should become complacent… on the contrary, we should be totally prepared in all ways. As sovereign beings, claiming the full role and responsibility of Mother.
As a Freebirthing mama, you have to be very confident in your body and ability to birth. Any unresolved emotional issues will usually present themselves in the days leading up to birth, or during labour.
You prepare to have all the support you need leading up to, during and after birth. You speak with other women and gain wisdom from midwives. You have a backup plan in place for the what-if’s, if they should occur and consider notifying local hospital and ambulance of your plans. You would also take into consideration your own physiology and any health risk factors that could impede your ability to birth safely. Essentially you know your body better than anyone else…
This isn’ a game, and the decision is not made lightly or with naivety.
As strange as some find the concept, Women freebirth all the time… sometimes they’re completely unplanned… in the shower, in the car, in the back yard. It happens.
You know… if un-interrupted, babies will come when they are ready and sometimes it’s a surprise or at an ‘inconvenient’ time.
Birth can be unpredictable no matter where a mother chooses to labour and birth. The most important factor is that mother feels safe, secure and that she is in safe hands, whether they are her own, her partners, doula, a midwife or an OBGYN.
Different strokes for different folks!
Just because one mama chooses to birth herself does not make her irresponsible, irrational or an extremist.
Unfortunately in Australia our birthing practices do not support all choices of the mother, and our freedom to choose is under threat. Although I am a free birthing mother, I am also an advocate and strong supporter for Independent Midwives and firmly believe that women should be able to have access to midwifery and continuity of care through the public health system which could see more women birthing safely at home. As it stands now, it can be expensive to hire an independent midwife (if you can find one in your area) and that’s if they are lucky enough to be insured.
My perception is that if we support a woman’s’ right to choose where and with whom she births, then it will free up “patient” loads in hospitals. Pregnant women are not sick. Continuity of care will also aid mother to make empowered decisions, and connect with her pregnancy and newborn. Developing relationships with the birthing mother and baby means that it will help to curb the growing rate of birth trauma, postnatal depression and PTSD which more and more women are speaking about their experiences within the medical establishment. This can weigh heavily on the medical system later and it is totally preventable!
The way I see it, is that if independent midwives are not supported, we will see an increase in women deciding to freebirth, sheerly out of wanting to avoid a medical birth with interventions. We will see more women putting themselves at risk out of fear, rather than from an informed and empowered state… And that is what will cause an increase in unsafe birthing.
If you are considering Unassisted Childbirth- aka Freebirth, please do your best to research birth processes as much as possible, and find ways to prepare yourself physically and emotionally to be confident you will safely birth with ease. Talk to a local midwife and look online. There is a wealth of information from optimal positioning to what to do if you have a shoulder presentation, cord around the neck, vaginal tearing, hemorrhaging etc. Perhaps one of our most valuable resources is women’s birth stories. Seek those that are inspiring and drama free. This will help to keep you focused and in a empowered state, especially during the such a profoundly sensitive time during Pregnancy.
Mind over matter, and birth matters!
If we support women in their birth choices, we are not only supporting the birth of her child, we are also supporting the healthy birth of a Mother. Mental health and particularly Post Partum Recovery affects more than the nuclear family.
If like me, you care about women having the right to choose than please consider signing the petition below
sign here–> petition-to-allow-private-midwives-insurance