Birth in our society is currently so polarising. On one side we see birth presented as dangerous, risky and awful, and often in these circumstances women will place their entire trust and experience in the hands of their particular care-provider – and let me be clear, that is their right to do so.
On the other side, we’ve seen the establishment of a movement towards positive birthing with the woman at the centre. This movement has rocketed in popularity due to social media and the rise of birth photography. Images of women birthing this way have never been more accessible.
If I had to use one word to sum up this movement it would be EMPOWERMENT. However, from the earliest of days of my work in this space, this word has never sat comfortably with me – for a couple of reasons.
One way this word is frequently used is based on the idea that it can be handed out to others, as if sprinkled around like fairy dust magically creating births with women at the centre. But, this is not right, it is birthing women themselves who create this feeling, they are the one who must step into the responsibility of preparation and become invested in their own births.
So there’s that.
But the other thing that has continued to nibble at me – what if birth was just ORDINARY?
It feels more reasonable to me to think of women throughout our long birthing history, that they would have felt that their biology was not an extraordinary event at all. Not that it was without strength and determination, but that it was normal, an expected part of their every day walk.
I understand the need for the pendulum to swing far to one side in order to balance out the medical approach to birth, so that we do currently find ourselves here on the upswing where biological birth is being presented with a particular frame of reference – empowered, warrior, badass.
I think the pendulum is now ready to swing again and bring us back a little closer to our biology, where birth is our ordinary, our own birthright as women – if we choose it – and our normal.
As a wonderful woman I know often says ‘I wish you a boring birth’.