Birth Activism That Works

Birth Activism

What Made YOU Care About Birth?

As mothers changed by birth, it is natural to want to reach other people and help them have a wonderful birth experience. But before we get too riled up, I think it is important to think back to what finally got our own attention and caused us to really care about birth in our world.

There are a million ways to reach out and affect change and different people approach this differently. For some media is their area of expertise. Think of Ricki Lake and her movie, “The Business of Being Born”. Ms. Lake was already an actress and media personality. She used her talents to reach millions of people with a movie chronicling the birthing journey of several women and included testimonials from a dozen birth professionals.

I think too of writers like Ina May Gaskin. Ina May isn’t the only woman who helped revitalize the resurgence of midwifery care in America, but she helped make it famous with her book, “Spiritual Midwifery” and with her gift of writing. Midwives like Peggy Vincent who wrote “Baby Catcher” and Carol Leonard who wrote “Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart” also helped spread the magic of midwifery care to thousands with their books and memoirs. The husband and wife team of Dr and Martha Sears changed the way that millions approached infant parenting and boding with their series of baby and parenting books.

Very often personal relationships and family stories are the things that give us the confidence to birth naturally and the knowledge that birth mattes to every woman. I remember hearing my mother talk about her births and I remember her plans for home birth. Even though things didn’t always go as she had planned, I knew in my heart that home birth was an option and for some an ideal. For the vast majority of my students in my birthing classes, they have come to embrace the idea of natural birth for this very reason. Somebody they loved told them that birth could be wonderful and they believed and wanted that for themselves.

Maybe you didn’t think twice about birth until you had your own baby. For many people their only thoughts about motherhood concern colors and furniture for a nursery. Then they have a baby and they suddenly realize that this event called birth is going to change them forever. If birth (even an unpleasant one) is what made you care about obstetrics, would anybody talking to you have changed your mind? Sometimes we have to experience something to know it matters. Sometimes nothing short of a negative experience will open our eyes.

For many of us education is he key to experiencing a wonderful birth. Simply learning about natural birth and how to do it from a trusted friend and childbirth educator was the key to my own ability to experience a fabulous natural birth despite a long and exhausting labor. Because education in particular was the key that unlocked the door to a new world for me, that is where I dedicate my time as a birth activist and creator of change. That is why I teach natural birth classes. That is why I train new teachers. That is why I write about birth.

I don’t know what triggered your passion for birth, but I would love to hear about it. Sharing your story helps others who seek to create change and improve birth for women, children and their partners. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the fray and get a little angry about the way things are going in obstetrics. It is fine to get angry sometimes. (In fact I often think if you aren’t a little angry about obstetrics you must not be paying attention.) But when we forget what started us on this path then we forget how to reach others. Don’t forget the talents you have for communicating with others. Even if your gift is a listening ear and a kind heart- that CAN and WILL create change.

People learn about birth when it comes to their door- when it impacts THEIR life and THEIR relationships and THEIR baby. Do you remember when it touched you?

Think back. Reflect. Is that how you are reaching out to others?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

About Sarah Clark

Sarah Clark is a mother of four, a natural birth educator, a teacher trainer for Birth Boot Camp and a writer. She blogs at the Mama Birth blog about mothering and birth and when she isn’t doing that, sometimes she mops the floor or folds laundry.  (It is really quite glamorous.)