Why 20-somethings aren't afraid of birth anymore
There is a sweet breeze of confidence tickling the wombs of 20-somethings everywhere. It's reminding them of their intuitiveness, it's reminding them of their knowledge, it's reminding them that they've been misled. And for far too long.
Let's face it. For the past few decades, movies of old and stories from our mothers have taught us one thing; birth is scary. So scary that you must medicate yourself numb so you remember none of it. With this type of advice, who in the heck would want to go through an experience like birth?
One of my earliest memories of witnessing a birth was in the movie "Where the Heart is" in a scene where a pregnant Natalie Portman labors in a Walmart during a very dramatic rainstorm. I will never forget the fear of torture and pain I understood in her raspy screams. It shook me. Then in the early 2000s, I witnessed the rise and quite frankly the popularity of abortions and unwanted pregnancies begin to surface all around me.
"Oh, I don't want a baby."
"I won't be a good mother."
"I am too selfish."
"This isn't the right time for me."
Then politics began to intensify with Feminist groups declaring that women just wanted freedom over their bodies. But what I think we were really collectively saying was; I am afraid to give birth.
I recently had the privilege of attending a birthing workshop on the island of Oahu with around 12 other women. The workshop was intended to piece together what traditional birth used to look like, allowing more clarity and peace of mind for birthing mothers and birthing assistants. All of the women in attendance were 20-somethings training to become midwives and doulas.
Personally, I was there to learn for my own knowledge center and peace of mind as I enter into my second birthing experience in a few weeks. For me, having the knowledge of a midwife during my birth could only positively affect my experience. Over the course of 3 days, I devoured the long forgotten and intuitive knowledge of birth that I longed for. I re-learned that most complications and fears such as stalled labor, hemorrhaging & difficulty latching were nonexistent at the presence of natural undisturbed labor. It was only with the interference of medications, the pressure to “push”, bright lights and even putting a hat on the newborn that these aggravations would manifest.
I left the workshop and found that my fears were eradicated. I already had all the knowledge of birth deep within my human instincts. All I needed was a little help remembering. I also left feeling hopeful because the class was being led by an independent 20-something who would be spreading this message of seemingly hidden peace to a generation hungry for truth.
Social media platforms have also shed positive light onto birth; instilling confidence in new mothers and maidens. Dori Varga, founder of Instagram page @tribedemama with over 240K followers tells me when asked what her page has done for 20-somethings views on birth.
“Uncountable encounters with young women following Tribe De Mama have shown me just how big of an impact our work has on future mamas – even on those who have never thought they would be interested in having children. From what I heard, our enlightening and empowering posts and articles have given enough information and inspiration to transform women's way of thinking.
The usual mindset seems to be driven by fear of giving birth – based on its horrific capture through movies and just simply the societal baggage carried through the past century. Fooling women into thinking they are incapable, that they need medical help to birth their baby, that their bodies can't handle the pain.
Hearing women speak about what great support our work has been in regards to ‘unbecoming’ themselves, transforming life philosophy and dropping the fear of unmedicated childbirth, and instead searching deep and finding out they are meant to do this... puts a big smile on my face every time. Learning with an open mind is a constant in the midst of the world's never-ending change.”
A woman in labor needs to be supported emotionally, or simply left alone. All the knowledge she needs to birth her baby is already within her. Her job is simply to relax, trust her body, and allow her baby to enter the world.
I think that beyond unlearning the false perceptions of birth, 20-somethings are re-learning what motherhood really means. It is no longer a role seen as a point of stagnation in life, scary or something rather regretful. Motherhood is literally worshipped in 2017. Women are seen encouraging each other from across the globe through social networks; making motherhood and community a thing of necessity. Sometimes the thing needed to eradicate a fear is the knowledge that others believe in your truth too.
20-somethings are indeed beginning to remember, as they are being empowered with the knowledge to move forward. Fear is no longer a requirement.
They are not afraid. Have you heard?