Monday, July 12, 2010

Dispelling Birth Fear

People in our culture have been programmed to fear birth. They are taught to believe that birth is inherently dangerous and must be left in the hands of the “experts”. In order to dispel these myths, they must be shown how safe birth is when it is left alone. They must hear, read, and see the truth so that they can learn to trust birth again. Providing reliable information about normal birth is a good way to take down the curtains of lies and expose the truth.

It is imperative for people to hear positive stories about birth. It seems as if, as soon as a woman becomes pregnant, everyone, including strangers, feels the need to share birth horror stories with her. Women don't need to hear those; they need to hear good stories. They need to hear the story about their neighbor who had the home water birth in her jacuzzi tub. Or about the woman at the deli counter who gave birth, with the presence of a midwife, next to the tree on Christmas morning. People who know these empowering, uplifting stories need to speak up and tell them. No one can tell a positive birth story too many times and hearing these stories can be so encouraging. They should also be warned away from childbirth education classes that teach women how to “deal” with birth in a hospital. Instead, they need to hear that they instinctively know how to birth their baby with or without whomever they choose to attend them. Attending local birth story circles at free standing birth centers or midwifery offices is a good way to hear these positive stories.

Women also need to read good material. They shouldn't read books about how to “survive” pregnancy and birth, but rather, how to embrace and be transformed by these events. Books, stories, articles, and websites about normal birth need to be recommended and shared. We've all heard that information is power and it's the truth. Women need to be fully and completely informed about their ability to give birth without any interventions. They need to read material that reminds them of what their bodies were made for and that they and their baby form a very successful team. Sharing websites, blogging, publishing articles in the local paper, or making brochures with reliable information are good ways to share the truth about birth with people.

Being able to visualize what normal birth looks like is also a key factor in dispelling birth fear. Watching positive birth videos and documentaries that depict birth in its unaltered, untainted glory can be very affirming. Women have so many visuals from movies, television shows, and other media that show birth as being a horrifying, dangerous experience. Very few women have seen what a birth looks like when it is left alone. Thanks to video-sharing websites, there are a lot of beautiful births too be seen if someone takes the time to search them out. Making a play-list or posting them on social networking sites or blogs is a great way remind people of birth truth. Someone could also host a birth video movie night (complete with popcorn) and share some inspiration.

Getting information about birth truth is crucial to dispelling the fears surrounding our society's view of birth. Making positive birth stories the norm and sharing videos of normal birth will help restore confidence in birth. Inundating the public with important, reliable information will ensure that pregnant mothers will make decisions about their births based on facts and not fiction. Social networking sites and blogs are making it easier than ever to share birth truth with people from all over the globe. Lies cannot stand up to the truths about birth and when a birthing woman is armed with birth truth, she is unstoppable.

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