So if you’ve read my other posts you’ll realize birth and spirituality are my jam…this past week those two worlds were celebrated simultaneously and that was AWESOME. Christmas has always been my favorite Holiday, not because of gifts, but because of the love and wonder surrounding it. This year though I really began to think about what Jesus’ birth was really like…
1. It was unassisted. Mary had to use her own instincts to birth the soul that Christians follow today. No doctor, no midwife, no pain medications or medical interventions…
2. Unsanitary conditions. I mean what is more dirty than a barn?
3. Afterwards she rested…the Magi/Wise-men didn’t come until sometime after 40 days. Mary’s main focus during Jesus’ first months of life would have been recovering, establishing breastfeeding, and NOT entertaining or parading her infant about.
The first two points really contradict how our current society views childbirth. There is so much fear surrounding birth and all the things that could go wrong. Where I live in the Midwest, home births are not as common as hospital births. Unassisted births would likely raise more than a few eyebrows…how or where a woman chooses to labor & birth should not be controversial or questioned.
When a woman is provided the space to intuitively give birth, she will know when something isn’t right…even if it’s her first labor. If in a medical environment, women can relinquish their power because “the doctors know better”. However, sometimes they don’t and it’s the mother who has to live with the emotional and spiritual consequences. The medical community has not yet connected the relation of postpartum depression to labor/birth disappointment (if you will). Up to 20% of moms experience post part I’m depression in the US and despite being a developed country we have the highest maternal mortality rate…this can’t be a coincidence. When you take a natural occurring event and try to schedule, manage, or intervene it only causes more issues and can be more fatal than letting it run it’s course.
The third point also reflects how skewed our culture is when it comes to postpartum care for women. If you give birth at a hospital, your stay is generally a few days and then you’re sent home. The first follow up is by your OB, 6 weeks after giving birth…uh what? Some women are blessed to have supportive family that help with the housework, let the mother rest, and cook meals. But in reality the majority of women are left to adjust to motherhood, alone. Not only that but if she is a working mother, she may have to return to work within the first month of giving birth just to pay the bills. That makes breastfeeding nearly impossible and can cause her even more emotional and financial stress.
If you still believe that our current birth & postpartum system isn’t broken, then watch out for 2018. Changes are happening and people are realizing they want to live happier, healthier, and hopeful.