My first birth was a hospital birth. Full of bullying and interventions. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy the experience. I was uneducated in natural birth and even more uneducated in medical birth. The second time around, I had educated myself on natural and medical birth. I desired a home birth with a midwife but could not get one in our area. So I had another hospital experience. Only this time I was just mildly bullied on how I “should” birth and there was no medical intervention. Being educated and confident helped. I was still uneducated though… I had no idea what my legal rights were surrounding birth. The third time around, I was educated on natural and medical birth and my rights. Rights that are very limiting. Rights that give most Saskatchewan women only two legal options: Hospital birth or an unassisted home birth….
Is that it? Those are my options? Birth with people trained in medicine who work in a sick house? Or, birth completely alone with no other trained people around at all in my own house? Of course, if I lived within a certain (limited) mile radius around one of our few big cities that has a registered Midwife, that would be an option. But I don’t. That is the boat most of us Saskatchewan women are in. Our province spans over 651,900 km² of land. My prenatal and postpartum legal care options are the same deal; regulated professional being, doctors and registered midwives (if available) or nothing… The supply simply does not meet the demand. This is not good enough. This is my body. My reproductive organs. My pregnancy. My birth. Therefore, my choice. Who I birth with is up to me. Where I birth is up to me. How I birth is up to me. When I birth is up to me. And it should be the same for you and all women. We cannot have birth freedom until we have government recognized ownership of our own bodies.
There was a time when homebirth was the norm and only option. Women would birth with a midwife, traditional birth attendant, Grandmother or mother. Then doctors became available in the home setting. Next, hospitals moved in, actively wiping out homebirth and all its knowledgeable and wise women almost completely. This also obliterated women’s options. Women’s rights have come a long way in the last 100 years, but in birth, our rights have gone altogether backwards. Where is the balance? We have gone without our options and rights for far too long. These rights must be restored so our daughters and granddaughters have full and safe control of their reproductive bodies. We are all different people and birth looks different to all of us. So let’s make the changes needed that will encompass everybody’s own birth preferences.
In the end, for my third pregnancy, I chose to birth at home. In a way which resonated with my research, health and personal beliefs. Supported and honoured by my husband and a trusted and wise friend. The way I wanted it. My uterus will not be regulated by anyone or anything but the lunar cycle.