As I look back at the last 12 years and the births I’ve been privileged to attend, I have come to realise that nothing teaches you about life the way birth does. It is the ultimate challenge where you come face to face with who you truly are and if looked upon as a way of providing insight into areas within that could do with some attention, it can lead to the freedom to lead a completely different life. Each and every woman and couple I have supported have taught me something new and I am forever in their debt and I am so grateful that they let me share what is such a special time with them. I have also witnessed the transformation that takes place in women and their partners and families when they have a good birth experience.
There are some births that had a bigger impact on me and that took me to a different level or should I say, started a transformation which was further cemented into my being in the births that followed. If you think about it, childbirth is an event in a woman’s life where there is nowhere to hide. It’s a forced transformation as you have gone from being a woman to becoming a mother. In the process of giving birth to your baby, you are not in control of what is going on in your body and you cannot change your mind or back out of the commitment you've made - to have a baby.
Whether you have a caesarean birth or a vaginal birth, you would have been on a journey during your pregnancy where you would have discovered and learnt a lot more about yourself, whether you wanted to or not. Just being pregnant and having your body being taken over by hormones and another living being. Having to perhaps slow down if you’re a very active woman, pregnancy hormones making you forget things and finding that many things in your life that you used to think was what you lived for, become unimportant.
Giving birth really pushes you to the limit of your being and every woman will give birth the best way she can. It’s not ‘just a day’ in a woman’s life, it’s everything she has experienced up until then and some would go as far as saying even from before she was conceived herself.
We are so attached to dichotomies in the world we live and everything has to be one thing or the other, good or bad, traumatic or ecstatic, beautiful or ugly. If we could accept that things are what they are and that each of us need to take responsibility for our own actions, feelings and thoughts, I don’t think anyone would feel that they have ‘failed’ at birth. If we could look back and discover what we can learn from that experience and also how we can heal from it, we can see every experience as something positive. It might not have been like we had hoped it would be but we can still gain something from it.
It just is what it is!
Kicki Hansard is a member of Doula UK, however any opinions expressed on this blog are personal views and not necessarily the view of Doula UK.