Having recently appeared on BBC Wales News and BBC Radio Wales talking about my freebirth, the thoughts that have been running around my head are along the line of…
“Woman gives birth without any help” – is this honestly news? It shouldn’t be.
The birth was beautiful, magical, empowering, affirming, but I don’t think it should be the exception. It shouldn’t be a spectacle. I think the majority of women are physically capable of birthing without assistance. I know that most would also rather not, and that’s okay too. I think whatever kind of birth a woman has it should be all those things.
When I think about the baby and the journey we have been on in her short life so far, it really feels like the birth was the easy bit. We talk about birth as though it is the main event, the pinnacle of our achievement.
And yet I have been told by women they felt me in the birth room even though I wasn’t there, just from the work we’d done together during their pregnancy. I know some colleagues who barely made a birth and then poured their heart and soul into postnatal care, where they worked themselves to exhaustion like never before.
The birth is the intermission. The pause.
Things that were harder than giving birth…
The stressful pregnancy that nearly broke me where the only light I could see was the one in my womb.
Moving all my belongings, clothing and food, from one refuge to the next at an hour’s notice in the rain and the dark. I hadn’t washed my dishes and the baby was screaming and Judah was so tired but we couldn’t stay a moment longer. Dragging everything through a million layers of security, getting soaked and lost in a strange part of the city.
Making myself officially homeless, involving an all day wait in the housing options centre, overheated and overcrowded, with a fussy feeding baby. Not enough food for me and Judah so I went without. Sweat dripping down me and Judah running riot, biting through his tongue, blood everywhere – but we couldn’t miss our turn. When his tablet ran out of charge just as we made it to the interview room and he growled in my face and knocked his Ribena all over the floor and I couldn’t even hear what the woman was saying.
Crashing another car. Sitting in the car on a hill trembling with fear, tears rolling down my cheeks because I genuinely couldn’t trust that it wouldn’t just roll down the hill while I was in the house.
The endless services - if there's anything that's intolerable to a freebirthing mama, it's engaging with services.
The debilitating migraines and the fear that rises in my throat, still. The dissociation and the ongoing jolts of adrenaline that punctuate my days and nights.
I would give birth again tomorrow if only to bathe again in its innocence and ecstasy.
I would choose that meaningful pain and power over this senseless chaos.
When I felt wise but knew nothing.