I am always searching for new ways to define the empowered birth experience. Empowered birth is dynamic and shifting, and can be different for each person. I chose to stay home, because I wanted the intimacy and quiet of my living room, with a few choice individuals attending the birth of my son. I didn’t want to have to fight for things that I knew were necessary for me: laboring in different positions, birth pool, skin to skin contact. I chose a midwife who believed in my ability to birth. I forged a relationship with her so that when it came to the moment (or 13 hours of moments) when I had to meet myself at the very edge of what I thought I was capable of, her strong voice in the distance saying ‘that’s the way, Andrea’ got me to the other side.
Since then I have immersed myself in all things birthery, constantly looking for that ever elusive ‘what-is-it’ that defines an empowered birth experience. What I’ve come up with is this idea of people ‘holding the space’ for the birthing mama. And while I can’t exactly quantify what happens in that regard, I can say that the women and men who know about this just know. Birth is sacred.
Here’s my work in progress list of what I find to be essential to the Empowered Birth Experience:
- mama is able to move freely
- she can eat or drink at her own discretion
- know your birth team is in line with your birth philosophy
- have discussed birth plan in detail with birth attendants
- informed consent for all procedures
- mama can labor and birth in any position she choses, including in the water
- respect is given to the sacred experience that is birth
One thing is clear; if you really want an empowered birth experience, then be dedicated to getting it. It really is up to you to listen to yourself and find the right birth team, the right environment, and the right way for you. Empowerment is all about making your own choice.
How do you define the empowered birth experience?