One of the best things I’ve done for myself getting ready to have my baby has been to read positive and inspiring birth stories. One of the best sources for positive birth stories is Ina May Gaskin‘s Spiritual Midwifery, as well as the first half of her Guide to Childbirth.
Another source has been the blogs of women around the country who have written beautifully about their births.
I think that as women, over the last 4 or so generations, we’ve lost touch with the positive experience of birth – it’s something we don’t ever discuss in detail and even among friends tend to gloss over whatever parts are “tmi”, which, frankly, is almost EVERYTHING to do with birth. So the details we want and need to know are bad secrets, because so very few have any good stories about their contractions, their transition, their pushing, their perineums… Because the experience of birth is so very skewed to the technological/medical model, women embracing natural childbirth have to be “sensitive” to the feelings of those whose births are, by choice or by force, managed by outside hands and precision machines and numbing medications. (If you think I’m on a soapbox at this point, I promise you that you have no idea how much farther I could go. As a childhood heroine of mine, Anne of Green Gables, once said, “Oh Marilla, if only you knew all the things I want to say and don’t.”)
Suffice to say that I wish to proudly herald the telling of the birth tale. I wish to restore to our collective memory this positive “good secret” kind of birth, so that, in the spectrum of birth experiences, the sterile, white gowned “normal” we know now slips back away from the center and women realize the fabulous capacity inherent in themselves to bring out their babies.
To that end, here are links to some wonderful birth stories I’ve come across online. If you know of more, please suggest them in the comments section.