Birth is a miraculous thing, because it's one of few things that every single thing on this earth has in common, but I'll narrow it down to humans for now. 😉
Even if you are a man who decides to never give birth or have children with a partner, you have been birthed. So here it impacts us ALL. Not just the process of birth, but the gross appropriation of what once was a natural process, revered as sacred and to be respected. Birth is now managed by a highly medicalised institution that results in high proportions of trauma for both mother and baby.
What happened? Well, like most things, man wanted to know how something works and if they could make it "better." As if the natural workings of mother nature didn't have it all sussed out already. Birth was taken by the patriarchy, from midwives to male gynaecologists.
All knowledge of it was diluted, lost. We started to see the interventions cause pain and death, but then blamed birth as risky, instead of those that managed birth as causing risk. And so here we are, in a culture where we're so far removed from the process that most of us know nothing of it until we become pregnant ourselves, and in many cases we venture down this road towards labour with fear. Fear of pain, fear of things going wrong, fear of death.
We write birth plans that help educated us somewhat, but even then it's to inform our body and mind of pain and risk we may need to prepare for. Managed third stage or natural? Episiotomy or natural tear? Drugs or hypobirthing?...
Systems don't give up control, The patriarchy won't relinquish its control. Men and women and all non-binary, we have to do this TOGETHER. Because even though maternity care is literally "of the mother," it is not just a mother issue to be pushed aside, so that we're reliant on the traumatised person to push a written complaint through to a system that will just continue to ignore it.
We need to change the conversation from MORE STAFF to MORE EDUCATION! We don't need to keep recycling stories of risk and trauma to women every time they become pregnant, but instead support them with education. We need to begin disseminated down to the children, what our bodies are capable of and stop being embarrassed to discuss it. Birth unites us all and stripping people of this knowledge and connection keeps us further disconnected and makes it harder to stand up for a unified cause that can alter the state of society for the better. Changing birth culture from medicalised and traumatising to responsive and healing can positively alter the entire state of humanity.
But as long as this conversation stays amongst the proportion of people that birth, and even smaller population of people that have been traumatised but found healing to come forward and fight, society will continue to ignore it. As Desmond Tutu said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.” and we need to change it.