Sunday, June 13, 2010

Face of Birth

For those of you that read here often you know that I'm passionate about bellies, birth and babies. Over the past 2.5years I have taught about 200 women pre-natal yoga and it is a true blessing to sit amidst women who are growing new life. It's a blessing to witness and to share in a little bit of their wonderful journey.

At the end of every six week block I ask my students, one by one, what word has come to them in their practice. Usually they only think of it when asked, usually in the verbalising do they only realise how powerful words are. Common answers are: confidence, faith, breathe, determination (this is particularly common for women preparing for a VBAC and who believe their first birth was an unnecesarean). But last week one of my students said something that made my heart absolutely swell. She said:


"I just thought I had to do what my OB said. I didn't think I could ever ask him questions, challenge his opinion or question his motives."

On that same day I was informed that the local private hospital has a cesarean birth rate of 65%. That's double the national rate. That's a lot of unnecesareans. A few months ago one of my students was the only woman on the ward who birthed vaginally.

I understand now that not every woman has an emotional attachment to birthing vaginally. Some women don't want to do it, some women have liberating cesarean births. However, to know that there must be so so so many women who follow the words of the OB like gospel and hand-over their choice and body saddens me beyond explanation.

I discovered this exciting trailer for the Australian documentary "Face of Birth". For me it's not so much about where a woman births but it's about her choice. A pregnant woman should never surrender her choice. I cried when I watched this - the passion and love and unity in this short piece is palpable. I am especially moved by the words of midwife Jan Ireland - negative birth experiences can affect relationships, marriages and can contribute to post-natal depression and other mental health disorders.

If you know a pregnant woman, encourage her to watch this. To seek out information and to make her own choices. Because in taking responsibility for our birth only then can we experience the liberation.


  1. We are so blessed here. Today I was packing birthing kits with a group of my Girl Guides, who even at 10, could see how fortunate we were to have hospitals and not use five pieces of guaze and a few pieces of string, a piece of plastic and a pair of gloves, to have a clean birth. Amazing. Bless them. I hope they always feel that fortunate and able to make their choices. You do good work Jodi, you really do.

  2. Good for you, Jodi.
    I can not BELIEVE the possibility of home birth becoming illegal in Australia. What the last woman said was absolutely correct. It's not a feminist issue, it's a human rights issue.
    That trailer looks wonderful. When I saw the trailer for The Business of Being Born, I was absolutely hooked and wanting all the information I could find. This looks like another wonderful documentary.

  3. I am so excited this documentary has been made! There is so much truth in what these women are sharing. The prospect of losing my choice to birth at home is devastating for me, I hope all Australian women (and men) take note of this issue and stand up for our right to choose what is best for ourselves and our babies no matter what that choice is.

  4. I so needed this video right now- thank you! xo m.

  5. Wow, the film looks wonderful. So beautifully and effectively crafted! I will be sharing this.

  6. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this Jodi. It looks amazing. I can't wait to watch it. Gives me goose bumps.

  7. it is amazing, the things we still need to fight for. the passion in your belly for bellies...well thank you.

  8. Hello, came across your blog via a few others, and had to comment on your last post re CHOICE.
    I have lived on this planet for 55 years and had my first child at 27. I was so truly blessed to have a doctor (Mr) who had come over to Australia from England and he was a practicing LeBoyer doctor. I was always told what was going on, given encouragement and support all the way through, could ask as many questions as I needed and always answered and never once did he doubt my ability to have a natural birth. I say this because I am a very petite lady and most of my friends were less encouraging and most thought I would have to have a c section.
    Good on you and your great work, our body, our baby, our right.

  9. Thank you for this. The key as you have pointed out is CHOICE. I was in a fortunate position to have every aspect of my children's births go exactly the way I wanted them to be, natural and with little pain relief. I had a supportive husband (still do), GP, obstetrician, mum, midwives and during my pregnancies attended classes designed to enjoy childbirth in all its painful glory. While I did choose to give birth in a hospital, I am sure I am one of the lucky ones whose choice was respected all the way, no questions asked.

  10. As someone who works in wellness for pregnancy and is currently training to be a doula I cheered when I read your post. What has happened to our society when child birth is suddenly considered dangerous and a medical emergency and the chance for women to experience freedom of choice when it comes to their babies and their bodies. Hoorey to you Jodi for giving back some women some much need confidence in there bodies and their choices. Also how amazing does that doco look, can't wait to see it.

  11. Watching that trailer has bought tears to my eyes.

    To think that the best moment of my life was giving birth to my daughter at home, and that perhaps for my next child I will not have the choice to do that again.

    Every woman has a right to choose where she wants to birth. Why can you choose to have major abdominal surgery but not choose to birth safely at home with midwife support? The AMA just make me so angry. Urgh. I can't even type anymore I'm so mad.

  12. I have had two babies both were VB. First was private with little choice second was public were I made all the decisions and had to argue with the hospital board as they wanted to induce me just because I was 10 days over I won and agreed to be induced at 14days I was induced knowing it was my decision and I was comfortable with that as it was my CHOICE cant agree more !!!