Here in the United States, it seems so common to hear negative birth stories. Often I have heard from clients, friends, and family about the painful and scary experiences that they have experienced themselves or heard from others. After attending births as a doula and reading both of Ina May Gaskin’s books, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” and “Spiritual Midwifery”, it is evident that there are positive birth stories out there! Not only do positive birth stories have the ability to empower mothers, but they can have a profound positive psychological effect.
Birth stories have always been a part of our history. Traditionally, women would hear birth stories from the other women in their family. By the time they were pregnant themselves, they would have a much deeper understanding of giving birth. In our isolated culture, this tradition has commonly been replaced with stories of fear and has only served to perpetuate the idea that birth is a scary, painful, and dangerous event. With birth being so medicalized, it is no wonder that so many people view birth as something that needs to be controlled. However, women continue to demonstrate their innate ability to give birth without medical interventions, especially in an environment that fosters relaxation.
It is for that reason that I strongly believe one of the most important things I can do as a doula, is to share positive birth experiences with my clients. By doing this, I hope to counter the effects of the negative birth stories that they may have heard and give them faith that they too can have a positive birth experience. I also strongly encourage anyone who is planning to give birth or supporting someone through their birth experience to read the two books I mentioned above. My hope is that women focus more on sharing encouraging birth experiences with those about to give birth and help to empower them through their journey into motherhood.