Ever since I was pregnant for the first time 8 years ago the phase “trust birth” has been spoken around me, and in the context of allowing a woman’s body to function the way it was designed to.
The idea is that your body created this baby and will instinctively know how to birth said baby. While on the surface I agree with this statement I do not agree that as a doula I can tell my clients to “trust birth” or “trust your body”. The problem with these statements is deep. On the surface they are good, having trust helps to calm a worried person and certainly adds to the atmosphere of peace that is helpful to a laboring woman,but what exactly are we asking them to trust? I’m going to disect both statements here.
Birth is not a tangible thing really. It varies in intensity for each woman who experiences it each time she experiences it. Birth is an event. Birth can be experienced and felt, it can affect a woman and a family for the rest of their lives, but it cannot be ‘trusted’ really. There are times when we trust, and our trust is broken, birth is certainly not above that.
Birth should be respected instead. The process of birthing a baby is extremely intimate, intimate in more ways than the obvious. Birth is a chemical reaction between two independent people to achieve the same goal, separation of an infant from the womb of it’s mother. Birth is a time when a woman needs to feel secure so that her own brain chemistry does what it is supposed to do to communicate with her child and bring them out of their warm environment into the arms of their mother for a new season of living.
Birth can and sometimes does go wrong. I am not in anyway saying a woman should fear those things, but trusting birth may also make her feel like she wasn’t good enough if things go differently than she had hoped for. No we can not put our trust in birth.
Respect is different from trust, respect understands that there is room for emergency, but allows the bodies of both baby and mother to work together without interruption unless an emergency arises and not before. Being respectful of both mother and child, and their birthing space, not interfering unless needed.
This reminds me of the midwife at my homebirth, she and her assistant waited patiently in the next room for sounds of change, occasionally coming quietly to check on us,listening to fetal heart tones and going back to the neighboring room to wait some more. They were prepared for emergency but not expecting it, they were watchful for our well-being but respectful of the process of birth. They were not trusting birth, they were birth guardians.
TRUST YOUR BODY
This also doesn’t make sense to me. If my body were made to be trustworthy then it should also be predictable, or at least not let me down in other areas. I don’t think everyone has the same issues I have with my body but while I have delivered two out of three of my babies vaginally without pain medication I have also been let down by my body a number of times,and most of them have little to do with childbirth. Like when I got severe pain in my knees and ended up with X-ray’s and doctors and appointments that all lead no where… How can I trust my body when it will break down and not tell me why? How about when my body spontaneously decided that a baby should implant in my right Fallopian tube instead of my uterus? No my body is not worthy of my trust, it lets me down…
On top of this fact I know that birth isn’t just about my body… Birth is about my body and the body of my baby working together. If we could trust our bodies alone to bring babies out then the shoulders of some babies wouldn’t get stuck, babies would come gently, slowly and not tear their mothers on the way out (the mothers who have excellent control and don’t push too hard at the end of birth but still that baby flies out and tears her skin). If we could put our trust in our bodies then we wouldn’t have emergencies in birth… But that doesn’t work either. We simply cannot trust in our bodies for birth, and probably not in anything if I were to tell the truth.
So what can we trust?
I believe the only answer is God. He designed birth, he designed your body, he knit together your baby while you carried it inside of you, ate healthy and took your supplements regularly. He made the baby a perfect size, shape, and design for his purpose.
So when birth happens, and we trust not in the event, or our bodies, but in a perfect creator who designed all of the experience, saw it all before it happened, and knew that good would come of it, then we have the freedom to accept whatever comes our way.
When we trust God and his word we know that he has a plan for us, a plan for good and not evil, and if we really believe that then we respect birth, watch over it carefully, and wait to see if God has planned for it to go smoothly or if we will experience ripples along the way. And the we are able to:
CHERISH EVERY MEMORY
LOVE EVERY MOMENT
EMBRACE EVERY POSSIBILITY.
(the motto of my business.)
God alone is trustworthy, in unmediated/medicated, vaginal/c-section, euphoric/I think I may die, attended/unattended, emergent/non-emergent, at home/in hospital, natural/induced, early/late, fast/slow birth.
Trust God with the birth of your baby.
If you would like to speak to me about how to realistically do this I would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.