Ok. So I was all ready. I was going to start MY birth blog. I was going to be all profound about how cool birth is (which it is) and I was going to be “one more voice out there telling women that they don’t need to be afraid of birth” (which they don’t for the most part) and I was going to share little nuggets of wisdom with the families that I help who bothered to take the time to read what I had to say (as if they don’t already get enough of me in our hour-long prenatal visits). I had the first post all written and ready to go. I got my beautiful blog layout complete with beautiful birth photography courtesy of Tamrah Ryan of CT Ryan Photography, and I was ready.
Then I made a mistake.
I started reading other birth blogs.
You know what? Out here in the internet wilderness, the sheer number of great birth blogs and amazing women writing them is overwhelming. (There’s probably some written by men that I haven’t found yet, as my husband is happy to remind me). I had no idea of the effect reading these blogs would have on my psyche. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? How could my adequate (but admittedly not amazing) writing compete with what all the other amazing women: mamas and midwives, and other birthy ladies were doing? How could I be as thought provoking and as wise and articulate and compelling as what was already out there? I paralyzed myself with having to be perfect and well researched and timely and newsworthy and so on and so on.
I admit that I almost gave up. I almost said to myself, “Even though I have announced the pending launch of my blog on dear old Facebook (which I did to hold myself accountable—that’s working out great so far), even though I might have a few interesting things to say, I am going to toss this idea. I don’t have time anyway.”
And the truth is, I don’t really have time. I have two small children, a midwifery practice that is busy enough, a home to maintain (which I don’t do very well), and not enough time to do the things I have to do already let alone do the things I actually want to do.
But then I came back to the reason that I wanted to start this in the first place. I was sitting in a room full of women telling stories about birth. Stories of their own births and stories of births they had attended and it struck me that even with all this information “out there,” women on a daily basis are still being mistreated in their births. Whether it is subtle intimidation, more overt bullying, or sometimes even outright abuse, laboring mamas and their babies, at their most vulnerable moments, are being treated in this way. And sitting in this circle of women I realized that I needed to do something more.
I’m thrilled to say that in the bigger picture, things are changing for the better. More and more women are choosing out of hospital birth and more specifically home birth. Last week the CDC announced that homebirth had increased by 29% between 2004 and 2009. You can read that report here. The overall number of homebirth is still very small though, the national number is still less than 1%. But an increase of 29% is huge when prior to 2004 the numbers had actually been going down!
I am proud to be part of that bigger picture. Still, serving families one-on-one, while amazing, is very small. Sometimes you make a difference in that family’s life. Sometimes you don’t. Either way, the blessing and the curse of being a homebirth midwife is that you are still only working with one family at a time. It’s a trade-off: in a small homebirth practice like mine, I feel a great amount of joy in the closeness I feel with my families, but I know I am not reaching that many people.
So here I am. I am a homebirth midwife and I love my work. I hope that I will occasionally say something that means something to you. I hope that I can make a difference for some mama out there who doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground, and that this blog, no matter how amateur, might be one more way that I can connect my personal experience to the bigger picture.