Wise words from Justine Caines OAM in the foreword for Birth Journeys. The moment of birth and the hours and days that lead up to it are dismissed by many in our society including mothers.
While the Birth Journeys book steers clear of birth politics as much as possible and leaves it to each reader to draw their conclusions and make their own well informed choices, there is a clear message from Justine’s foreword that is carried throughout the book – through the introduction, birth stories, story editorials and information pages: “birth matters and how you feel matters – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
You only need to ask your mother, your aunty, or your grandmother about her births to see the impact birth has had on her. Even as she denies the importance of birth and comments that she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about, the emotional and mental impact of her birth experiences is written on her face and betrayed in her voice. A family member told me she didn’t see why people thought birth mattered so much…and then went on to share her birth stories. She spoke of pain, frustration, fear and pressure put on her, the sense that she had failed and couldn’t give birth. Her feelings of disappointment and anger were still strong more than 40 years after her first birth.
How do you have a positive birth? One that leaves a positive imprint on you? A good place to start is reading the journeys of other women who have been able to have positive births to see what is possible and learn from their stories.
Birth Journeys contains 29 detailed, beautiful and powerful positive birth stories chosen with input from midwives, doulas and mothers to be. It also includes information from Australia’s midwives, doctors, doulas and birth educators including Assoc Prof Hannah Dahlen, Dr Sarah Buckley and midwife/academic Rachel Reed.
The latest special is 50% OFF the ebook until Jan 2nd 2014. Download the ebook from www.birthjourneys.com.au for just $7.50 AU.
What if you are reeling from a bad birth? A “bad” birth may look “normal” or “good” from the outside while on the inside it has left you feeling sorrow, pain, disappointment, anger, guilt or hurt in some way. Birth trauma can be from any kind of birth where you have felt frightened, unsupported, in danger, unheard, or violated. If a mother is hurt or cut down in the process then the birth outcome is not optimal.
Reading stories of women who have healed from bad experiences, or who have explored their feelings as they have prepared for a more positive and empowering birth next time is helpful for many women. The message of Birth Journeys is “YES your feelings are valid. And healing is possible. You don’t have to feel this way forever.” You may have been let down by carers who did not keep you feeling safe, loved, respected and heard. You may have been set up for a negative birth by our culture of fear of birth and denial that birth is important for parents as well as babies. You may have been let down by a system of care that failed to provide the best care for you as an individual. Whatever reasons or lessons are revealed by your story, a different story is possible next time. Birth Journeys shares many stories from women who have walked this path too – each with a sensitively written introduction so you can pick and choose the best stories for you.
A good place to begin your journey to healing and a positive birth next time is talking to Melissa and Debby from www.birthtalk.org and getting hold of their book “How to Heal a Bad Birth” when it comes out soon. Melissa and Debby also wrote a piece for the Birth Journeys book on how to heal from a traumatic birth.