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It's Time We Stop Judging Childbirth

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PREGNANCY
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Maven: She who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge.
Warrior: She who embraces courage, compassion, discipline, and training.

Birthing. It's radical. It's hard work, and it can be complicated. No two births are the same. All births are extraordinary.

My late twenties represented a phase of my life where I lived from a place of fear-based inquiry; I was terrified of most things. I came at life from a place of trepidation rather than curiosity. So it was remarkable for me that I felt very grounded when I became pregnant during that life stage with my now 10-year-old son, something inside me (figuratively and literally) quelled the fear, and I listened.

My pregnancy empowered me innately -- I just felt like I knew what to do. I was in awe at how my body created life. I was fortunate, I found an incredible midwife who helped create a path toward the type of birth I envisioned.

Throughout my pregnancy, I was also exposed to less positive ways of birthing. I heard horrific birthing stories and witnessed many women adopt very deconstruction attitudes toward the whole experience, clinging to the trauma they experienced and unable to move forward from their birthing

We need to help women re-frame the outcomes and traumas of their birthing stories to better support our collective paths as mothers, and women, in general. Empathy is empowerment.

I wondered why as women do we do this to each other? Why do we try to scare our peers with our experiences? Why aren't we embracing this radical thing that our body has accomplished and empowering other women to do the same?

We need to help women re-frame the outcomes and traumas of their birthing stories to better support our collective paths as mothers, and women, in general. Empathy is empowerment. And, while it is true that some birthing stories are very traumatic and these experiences can't be flippantly washed away, we can better support each other by encouraging women to build connections with their experiences and adopt language that tells a story of victory versus defeat.

We aren't victims or bystanders to birthing. We are Maven Warriors. We move through this incredible physical challenge with power, choice, education and wisdom.

According to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Canadian C-section rate has increased from 17 per cent of all births in 1995 to nearly 27 per cent in 2010. In a World Health Organization study on C-sections in 137 countries, in 2008 alone, 6.2 million unnecessary C-sections were performed.

What is needed is a new global mindset towards giving birth, which is inclusive of all outcomes:

While C-sections are often the best approach to ensuring good outcomes for both mother and baby in high-risk pregnancies or complicated births, rates are rising among women with low-risk pregnancies. If you delve into this controversial topic, many experts suggest that women's perceptions of birth, including fears of pain or being 'out of control,' are an important factor informing choices, and increasing C-section rates.

I believe we need to shift in how women -- and society -- classify giving birth. We need to spend more time encouraging women to embrace their unique experiences. We need to concentrate on educating women on what the body actually does as well as different methods of birthing and various outcomes -- without judgment.

Women, whether they are aware or not, already know what to do. They have the wisdom within themselves to navigate this experience -- many just don't have the confidence. What is needed is a new global mindset towards giving birth, which is inclusive of all outcomes: Cesarean sections, vaginal births after a Cesarean, natural birth, with or without medication, water births, etc. Whatever works, with informed choice. The intended outcome is empowerment, and the result will be more confident women- - or should I say radical Maven Warriors -- everywhere.

Georgia Morley, a chef and doula, created an online program called Built for this Baby (www.builtforthisbaby.com) to help people birth intuitively and encourage women to embrace and savour their unique experiences.

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