Monday, March 16, 2009

i've been thinking

and so has he.

But while he's probably daydreaming about why his belly-button exists I've been thinking about all the comments on my birth post.

Thank you so much beautiful mothers. For sharing your birth experiences in this space. I expected more criticism but I was so utterly overwhelmed by the passion in your voices. How wonderful it is that you all want to share.

The language of birth is so powerful. I'll note here that becka a doula from Vancouver, Canada suggests we refer to cesareans as cesarean births. Using the phrase c-section makes it entirely medical and we should acknowledge that it is still a birth expereince for the mother and her child.

While the language of birthing remains fearful in many circles it is inspiring to know that there are women all over the world willing to share their sacred stories. However, I do believe that one of the major obstacles in changing this society of fear is silence.

I remember when Ché was only a few weeks old and I was in a room of new mothers at a local child health clinic. I was the only one who had a positive birth experience. And I didn't share my story because I didn't want to offend anyone. Because I didn't want the mothers who had a cesarean birth to feel like they had failed. And I didn't want the mothers who had agonising and fear-driven vaginal births to look at me like I was loopy. I was silenced because I didn't want to come across as the hippy-yoga-mum who loved her birth. Who felt like she could stand on the tallest mountain and confess her pride to everyone below.

Yes I roared throughout my labour. I opened my lungs, my mouth, my heart, my pelvis and my vagina and I didn't do it quietly. But it took me months after Ché's arrival to feel it was ok to share my story with women who didn't have the same experience. When I started teaching again I really felt that I was in the perfect position to change perceptions of birth. And that was when I really opened up and shared every moment of my journey.

It wasn't long after that I connected with pregnant women on an entirely different level. Where I could gently guide them through their pregnancy and encourage them to wrap their arms tight around labour - to embrace that wonderful rhythm and push their baby out into this world. And it was then that I received phone calls and emails describing 'the best expereinces of their lives'. A few of my students refused cesareans they were so determined. One student was crying to me on the phone because after 2 hours of pushing she was wheeled down to theatre to prep her for an emergency cesear. Despite the 13 people in the room and the constant advice of 'don't push' from the medical team she held tight to her midwifes hand and pushed her beautiful 9.5pound baby into this world. Through tears she told me that she was just so proud of herself. Later she told be that the obstetrician had never seen anything like it before - the sheer determination and power of a woman in control of her birth experience.

When I heard her story I cried too.

I will never again be silenced about my birth experience. Nor will I be ashamed about my opinion and beliefs.

When I took Ché to his last check-up at the child health clinic - the same place that I sat in silence 17 months ago, the early childhood nurse said to me: "I have to tell you Jodi. I have never in all my career seen so many happy mothers and so many calm and settled babies." At that point I wasn't really sure what she was referring to.

"...they all went to your yoga classes in their pregnancy. You're doing a great job."

I blushed. But it was then that I knew that all those positive stories were slowly but surely sinking in. Women were beginning to share, listen and experience for themselves. Just as it should be.


  1. I had one of those scary births that ended in a cesarean, but I am truly encouraged by good and positive birth stories. So, you just go right ahead and shout yours out for everyone to hear! There is so much wrong with our perception of birth--and especially with the hospital perception of birth. That really NEEDS to change, and sharing our stories is one way to effect that change. Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. I had two beautiful births. I too roared through them however in the end I felt so incredible. I was so proud of myself, so satisfied. Giving birth has been the most liberating thing I have ever done and my greatest accomplishment.

    Society has portrayed an image of birth which is distorted. Women are scared for good reason due to what they hear. Positive experiences such as your own must be heard! Thank you!

  3. I love the photo and that sweet squirrel pillow. :)

    I had two amazing natural births (vaginally and without any medication) both of which happened very quickly and in hospitals. It was the most difficult, raw, painful, and yet powerful experience I have ever had, and oh so worth it! I agree with Nadia in saying that it was definitely liberating and also my biggest accomplishment. :)

    As we all know though, sometimes things don't always go as planned and many women, including my own mom, have had to have cesareans.

    My two birthing memories were different in feeling because of who was in the room with me, along with the environment in which I was in.

    Whether having a natural or cesarean birth, in a hospital or at home.. I feel the most important thing is being surrounded by a loving and positive support group.

    I believe what you are doing is so important! Keep sharing your beautiful story. :)

  4. You are so sincerely sweet.

    I roared throughout my birthings too:)

  5. That is so awesome Jodi! I love hearing about women being empowered and supported, and feeling both confident about and proud of their birth experiences. I also really love this model of women supporting women, and community building. Traditionally this is exactly how we used to live and learn from each other, and I really believe in the power of both sharing your stories and knowledge, and receiving stories and knowledge within a community of supportive women.

  6. I had 2 vaginal complication free births and truly believe in letting your body do what it is supposed to do. To go with the screams and moans and to embrace the whole experience as positive and liberating. I did also have a wonderful OB who was very pro vaginal deliveries and my husband and sister to support me. I felt so proud of myself and will always advocate to women to embrace what they have within themselves. Don't be afraid, the pain is there for a reason!!!

  7. as a woman who is not yet a mother but hopes to be in a few years, this post made me so excited at the thought of the whole process of birth . . . using your own strengths; and even weaknesses, to bring your own wee one into the world.

    thank-you for sharing this


  8. Thank you for this! I'm due May 24, and prepping myself for a natural, vaginal birth. I'm determined to have it, and posts like this give me more strength. :)

  9. As you know Jodi, I have had two proud and amazing cesarean births. I believe in the will of each person to share their stories, at their own wish. Birthing of any sort should be seen as a magical experience. I can proudly say the way I did it is still very empowering, after all we are strong women bringing children into the world, how we do it seems one small piece to the big puzzle. Each person has reasons and choices, that need to be respected too. It is beautiful in every form and neither should not be frowned upon.


  10. thankyou for your posts about birth, they inspire and help me believe in myself. ive always known that when it is my time i want to have natural births but for a long time was scared at the thought of having a baby, figured it was just something that had to be endured in order to get the bundle of joy,at the end. after hearing so many stories i am curious and looking forward to it. i know i will be able to do it. if you were to write a book on childbirth i would deffinately buy it!

  11. This gave me shivers! I didn't feel like I was able to comment on your original post because I'm yet to experience giving birth; but I really hope I can have a natural labour, and that I can have a similarly positive experience of it.

    Good on you for having such a wonderfully positive influence on so many mothers-to-be. When the time comes, I hope I can find a pre-natal yoga class with a teacher who is as positive as you are.

  12. Girl, tell everyone your positive birth story - there are not enough of them out there. I told everyone about my incredible, beautiful birth because I wanted people to know it was a natural thing - and that it was AMAZING - life changing, life-altering, and I was proud. Be loud about a great birth because the world needs them.
    And you know, I have a hunch you should diss your deadlines and focus on your yoga. It seems like too good a gift to give up. If I lived nearby, I'd be at a class.
    My word verification is tizerme. So please, do, come on, tizerme.

  13. I mean, don't stop writing, but don't keep the stress associated with writing. It's crippling. Well it is to me anyway.

  14. I love these posts, you are such a beautiful thing you. It really has resonated with me as I think about what seems so long ago. I had to have 2 cesareans, don't have a choice but I still love to hear about what I missed out on. I haven't been to Italy either but I still like to hear peoples holiday stories.

  15. That has to be the most wonderful, in your series of wonderful pictures, of your boy. My little sister is just about to have her first baby and is having a home birth. I am going to send her here for inspiration.

  16. jodi you certainly seem to have a gift for inspiration, both here with your blog and in your classes. congratulations for having such clarity and integrity and for making a difference to women and their births. xx

  17. It's so nice to hear about a positive birth experience. It's nice and overwhelming and emotional and connects us as mothers. I didn't have a great time when I had my biggest boy and was determined that it would be a positive experience when I had my littlest and it was. I had the most fabulous midwife who assured me from the word go that I would know exactly what to do to get my baby out and I did. I was on a high for weeks afterward and felt invincible and proud and strong. I still feel that way and it's been nearly 2 years. Thanks for sharing your story and making me think back on mine :)