Today we’re travelling back in time. We’re going back to a time when childbirth was a very different experience altogether. A time when women were celebrated for their innate skill to be able to carry and birth the future generations of the human race. When women came together to guide each other and to be each other’s strength, in the journey of bringing their children into the world. The evidence that we have from these times is mainly from stone carvings. The women depicted in these works of art ooze power, strength, calm and tranquillity. They almost call to be worshipped, even after the many, many centuries that have passed by. They do not invoke fear, they do not portray vulnerability.
Flash forward again to today and what is the first image that pops into our minds when we think about childbirth. Well I imagine that what enters my head is very different to yours. I have been witness to women birthing their babies in the way of the women in the stone carvings. I am one of a privileged few. What most people think of when picturing a woman birthing her baby is likely to be one of the movie scenes of Hollywood. A mother, lying on a bed, her feet in stirrups, tied to machine after machine, screaming in fear, surrounded by a barrage of medical professionals and a squirming, clammy husband in the background somewhere. These are the images of childbirth today.
So, where did it all go wrong? What changed?
I think the turning point was when humans made the connection between conception and pregnancy. When we realised how women got pregnant, pregnancy was no longer celebrated. It was looked upon as unclean and undignified. The men involved of course were not vilified in this way and this belief still holds true today- just think of the words we use when describing a promiscuous woman vs a promiscuous man…
So, the birthing women were shunned from society and denied access to medical help- after all who would deserve the assistance of a doctor after committing such an undignified act. Society lost any respect for women and the power that we once held was gone.
Time moved on and women lost their belief in their own power to birth their babies, believing what society was telling them. Understanding that the sin they had committed would be punished by the suffering they would endure when they gave birth. It was widely accepted that women would die in childbirth- any advances in medicine were denied to labouring women, doctors were not allowed to attend women in labour. It was left to the fate of the gods and no one cared.
Is it any wonder that the fear of childbirth was rife?!
Eventually time moved on and women were slowly allowed medical assistance, even access to medications that could relieve any suffering they were feeling but things were far from rosy. Doctors thought themselves gods, hospitals were full of infections and women were still left petrified of giving birth.
Medicine moved on further and now things had gone in the complete opposite direction. Instead of being denied access to medical assistance, it was forced upon women, they were made to take drugs to ‘numb’ their bodies and their minds. They would wake from the drug-induced state and have no recollection of their babies being born- often with the use of instruments and cuts. Brutality was the only word for it. This was not even that long ago and, in fact, still goes on in some countries.
This is what women of the world have come to know as childbirth. This is what we are told. This is what we are made to believe. But what if we could go back to our ancestors? What if we could once more reclaim that inner power? What if we could be the woman that commands to be worshipped as she brings forth new life into the world?
We just have to believe. We just have to know that it is within us. We have to fight back against those that would have us believe otherwise. As women, we are fierce, we are strong and we have a duty to our daughters to change the world, to claim back childbirth and to, once again, stand in our position of power.
If you want to learn more about how to reclaim that power and to understand why giving birth doesn’t need to be the scary experience we are told it is- then sign up to one of our hypnobirthing courses
, read a book on natural childbirth, search for images of home births, speak to a friend that had a positive birth. Do anything to start the process of unlearning all that we think we know about childbirth and start to the realise the strength that has always lain within you.