I just had breakfast on this beautiful sunny Mother's day in my home here in Ireland.
Sitting outside in the, somewhat chilly, Irish spring sunshine I'm taken back to the day I became a mother myself. We had spent most of my pregnancy in Ireland but decided to go back to Germany for the birth for several reasons. I wanted to have my first baby with my best friend, we had trained together, and I wanted to be near my parents too. Another factor was the lack of child birth options in Cork at the time. Everybody went to either Finbarr's, Eriville, or the Bons and after seeing those places I was sure I did not want to birth my baby there. There were no community midwives in Cork in 1989, so we packed our bags and drove the 1500+ km back to my home town Bremen. And that was where it happened! On a super sunny Sunday, she popped into the world after only 6 hours of labour.
The joy and overwhelming gratefulness for this amazing experience is impossible to describe. It made me complete and gave me the purpose I needed at a time in my life where decisions needed to be made. Although I had been a midwife for almost a decade at that time, it opened a whole new avenue for my professional life also. Birthing your baby in a supportive, familiar and safe environment is key to a mother's wellbeing. Dimmed lights, upright birthing positions and choosing your team are essential to a happy and safe experience. Scans, blood test and other observations are necessary to ensure you are having a low risk pregnancy.
On my return to County Cork I made sure that we had those boxes ticked when I started working with the often very alternative clients. Babies were born in tipees, yurts, benders and old cottages and mothers were safely born there too. My practice has grown over the years and my mothers have changes over the last 3 decades too. Unfortunately, most of the old chestnuts about home birth have not changed though. Despite overwhelming evidence that midwifery care and home births are safe options, we are still confronted with mind boggling ignorance. How often do we hear the 'you are so brave' sentence thrown at mothers who make an informed and safe choice?
Why are women still accepting outdated and non research based treatment in hospitals?
Only recently did I see a post on Instagram showing a mother birthing in lithotomy, under bright lights with total strangers by her side.... with the #beautifulbirth attached?
While I'm glad this mother was happy with her experience, to me, everything was ...wrong.
Why are we still accepting this as normal? When will we take charge of our own path to mother hood?
Still, I am very grateful to all of my babies who made me the mother I am and to all the babies and mothers (and dads) that choose a safe path to motherhood with me by their side.
Happy Mother's Day to you all.