Welcome to Birthyourway's Blog. This space is intended to serve as an interactive site for Doula related stuff based in Ottawa and around the globe. The archive links on the right hand margin will help you identify topics of interest to you. Your pictures of real pregnant bodies- stretch marks and all- would be most appreciated as contributions. Share your birth stories, concerns and comments by submitting to

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My Philosophy on Birth

Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.

Virginia Di Orio

Like most doulas, I claim to believe that birth is a natural process. But, always seeking the truth in things, I question even myself. Do I truly believe that birth is a natural process? How can it be a natural process when our society has transformed this intrinsic rite of passage into a medicalized sleeping-life event? Well think of it this way. Our bodies are biologically made of the same elements and constructed in homologous ways to other mammals. And those lovely creatures never use epidural! Women are naturally designed to give birth. It is a primal thing. Like a beating heart or like menstruation. There is a unique process to birth. In our society, we have accepted that it is up to the experts to control a pregnancy and a delivery. We have learned to trust them, and their invasive interventions. Funny that. We routinely intervene with a process that happens at every moment in nature, by itself. Like a seed for example. A watermelon seed falls from the mouth of a child and hits the ground in early spring. It is equipped with everything it needs to become a watermelon. And where nature allows it will grow. All we have to do is watch. In that seed, elements are arranged so that it may develop and grow all by itself. A baby born is much the same. There is a process, and when we watch closely without intervention, we can see nature unfold. We can witness how the body takes over and does what it intrinsically knows to do. But we have lost our way. And we no longer believe. Intelligence is a wonderful thing. Only sometimes, when we allow our minds to control our bodies and our actions, we miss the natural processes in our bodies and in our hearts. Like falling in love. I know some fantastic men and women whom for some reason have decided long ago that their mind will choose who they fall in love with. And to this day, they remain alone. They have rejected their intuition and have not allowed their bodies and hearts to feel seduction and to feel love. They wait for the mind to determine who is a good social fit for the. Perhaps I am romantic, but I believe that the body knows how to deliver a baby and when we can set aside our fears and our doubts, we can begin to listen to the intrinsic, primal process of our bodies and our hearts.
However, this is not to say that interventions are not necessary at times. I firmly believe that there is a place for medicine in childbirth. When complications arise, I count my blessings that our society has highly trained, intelligent minds and skilled individuals in our healthcare system. Also, though I believe that the female body is designed to birth 'naturally' I also understand the historical and social context that has shaped women and the men who support them ( though not all pregnant ladies have male partners or partners at all for that matter). It is important to acknowledge the identity platform from which we all individually negotiate. Each woman has her own unique situation, her own baggage, her own mental belief structure and support system to shape the way she individually feels about birth, and becoming a mother. There are so many social factors that lead women to feel think and act a certain way. In some cases, a woman has a strong desire to birth naturally, at home, unmediated and sometimes unassisted. In other cases women want a scheduled C-section.
Women differ. Therefore it is important to address every pregnant woman as a unique individual about to experience a highly personal life event.

So what is my philosophy on Birth? I wholeheartedly believe that homebirths are safe, that unmedicated births are natural and very realistic and most importantly, I think that as a care provider, I must meet birthing women at their own unique identity platform and support them the way they individually need to be supported.

Sometimes women choose to have a homebirth, and as things progress, the baby gets 'stuck' with no apparent physical or otherwise clinical reason. A transfer to the hospital and baby is born before the bed is ever reached. When asked why and what happened, mothers in these types of births tend to say "I just couldn't let the baby out at home". This is a clear indication that these women needed to be at a hospital because that is where their minds where set on having the baby. I always feel better knowing that the mother is at her chosen birth place since everything seems to progress much better when the mothers comfort levels are respected. Similarly, when a partner decides for the mother that she should birth in a hospital, despite her preference to birth at home, outcomes often reflect her denied preference. Either way, it is important for the mother to choose for herself (where possible according to the law) so that she may have positive and empowering birth experience.

I believe in putting birth back into the hands of birthing women. I want to facilitate empowering moments in women's lives through supporting their labour and delivery. So that they may take that positive experience into their lives and have the strength to negotiate what is ahead.

For further reading on a home birth safety study please read Home birth study.


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