It’s my birthday on Monday. My partner in his usual last minute style took Daughter and Little One out this afternoon to get some presents. The Teenager has got me something (with the help of his girlfriend) with money I gave him to get his haircut. Little One is hoping for croissants for my birthday breakfast and I’m hoping to have lunch out somewhere nice…
Whilst thinking about how I’m going to enjoy ‘my’ day, I’ve also been thinking about my own mum and what her birth experience was like in 1976.
I am my mother’s third daughter. My eldest sister was an undiagnosed breech and after a very long labour, born by emergency caesarean. My mother recalls spending many hours of her labour humming nursery rhymes (a technique I found myself doing with my births too). My middle sister was a successful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) as was I. For each birth my mother was shaved. She was given an episiotomy as standard ‘care’ for her vaginal births. A fact I find totally shocking. Having had an episiotomy with my first birth I know only too well how much the pain and discomfort of this impacted negatively on the first few weeks of my son’s life. A woman’s body (including her perineum) is designed to give birth. A few years later when left to it’s own devices, my body gave an amazing demonstration of the ‘fetus ejection reflex’ propelling my daughter into the world and taking the midwife by complete surprise.
I wonder what maternity care will look like in another 37 years. If my children have children, what will their experience be like? I feel there is a surge of change at the moment with the emergence of some fantastic movements and campaigns, such as The Positive Birth Movement, Tellmeagoodbirthstory and Midwife 4 Me campaign and I am so happy to be a little part of this change.