Introduction: Creating The Birthing Experience You Want
The way we have come to expect a “traditional” pregnancy and birthing to look and feel has dramatically changed in our modern, technically enhanced times. The once customary rite of passage, with its inherent understanding that women were designed to give birth, has morphed into a sterile and oftentimes lonely medical procedure. This shift in thinking has inadvertently led us into an era where many women feel as if they are bringing new life into this world without really being present for the experience.
Before the 1920s, most births took place at home and were attended by doctors or midwives, but by the 1930s women were ﬂocking to hospitals, hoping to experience the revolutionary methods of “painless” childbirth. Even though the doctors of the time did not deliver on this ridiculous promise, we continued to follow and “improve” on these new scientiﬁc practices, and before we knew it, we had unintentionally relinquished control over the entire childbirth experience. Every aspect of hospitalized childbirth became almost mechanical, and they were all orchestrated by a doctor.
Read More Women were separated from their husbands, sedated by drugs that made them oblivious to the birthing process, and kept in sterile environments. Breast-feeding was discouraged, and breast milk was replaced by “enhanced” infant formulas. As time passed, we completely forgot how to own and control pregnancy and childbirth: the natural, normal aspects of delivery no longer existed.
Doctors gave great arguments to pregnant mothers. As Dr. David Chamberlain, an expert in prenatal psychology, said, “The doctor’s byline was, ‘Let us do it. Trust me; we know how to do this.’ But they didn’t. All they had to offer was a protocol. They treated every mother the same, every father the same and every baby the same.” According to the World Health Organization, “By medicalizing birth, i.e., separating woman from her own environment and surrounding her with strange people using strange machines to do strange things to her in an effort to assist her, the woman’s state of mind and body is so altered that her way of carrying through this intimate act must also be altered and the state of the baby born must equally be altered. The result is that it is no longer possible to know what births would have been like before these manipulations—they have no idea what ‘non-medicalized’ birth is. The entire modern obstetric . . . literature is essentially based on observations of ‘medicalized’ birth.”
Before women could muster up opinions to the contrary, technology took hold once again, to the point where today the Cesarean settion is the most common form of surgery performed in any hospital. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 1 in 3 babies in the United States is delivered by Cesarean section. USA Today reported that in 2006, 31.1 percent of U.S. births were by C-section, a 50 percent increase over the previous decade. Some doctors are even referring to C-sections as vaginal bypass surgery! While C-sections can be lifesaving operations when either the mother or the baby faces certain health-related problems, many health-care experts believe that a good number of C-sections are performed unnecessarily. Too often, they are scheduled to meet the personal needs of obstetricians or the hospital staff or to conform to the hectic lives of mothers themselves.
In almost every country in the world outside of the United States, 75 to 80 percent of all low-risk pregnancies are attended by midwives. In the United States, most women are still opting for a hospital birth, but many report afterward that their experiences were less than ideal and sometimes traumatic. Often, they are disappointed with the clinical character of the process. Women often say that they felt as if they were not included in their childbirth. Other mothers have told me that even though they were well informed about “what to expect,” they were too scared of the pain to be emotionally present, so they relinquished control to the medical team. They did not know how to deal with the totality of the experience in real time because they really weren’t prepared.
On top of individual experiences, the main conversation about birthing that is often shared among traditional health-care providers, birthing professionals, and even girlfriends is that childbirth is a painful ordeal, an uncomfortable means to an end. The discussion then compartmentalizes the process into two categories: “successful” mainstream or “alternative” vaginal births, and “unfortunate” or “scheduled” C-sections. Yet this negative and limiting conversation doesn’t have to exist at all.
Today, many women, as well as mainstream health-care professionals, are speaking up against the current culture of childbirth, and changes are happening, even in hospitals. Doctors and midwives are uniting to ﬁnd better solutions to the increasing rate of C-sections, as well as the rising costs of hospital births. Husbands and partners have reentered the birthing room. Mothers are encouraged to breast- feed by both ob-gyns and pediatricians: medical statistics now back up what many women have known all along, that breast-feeding is the healthiest feeding option for both mother and baby.
The next step is for pregnant women to relearn the true experience of childbirth. We deserve to have a say in the medications we take or decide not to take. We need options so that we can decide where we will deliver our babies and who will be present at the delivery. We can take personal responsibility in creating exactly the kind of the childbirth we want. We want to be treated as partners instead of as patients. We want to bond with our children immediately after their birth. And we want to design and create a childbirth that is safe, peaceful, and secure. These ideals are what BornClear is all about.
The absolute truth is that there are no rules when it comes to creating what you really want for your childbirth and for every aspect of your life. In fact, there aren’t any rules except the ones you make up. The BornClear program was created out of my own experiences. When I was ﬁrst pregnant, I searched for new as well as ancient ways to create a peaceful and memorable birth. I wanted to fully educate myself, so I pulled information from many resources, piecing together and creating exactly what I needed to be mentally, emotionally, and physically ready.
I started to prepare my body for birth by learning to control the connection between my mind and my body through a variety of mental and physical practices that included pre- natal yoga, meditation, and deep relaxation. Over the course of my journey, I became able to fully trust my natural birthing instincts, as well as my body, and I found myself tapping into a deeper, more enlightened space in my mind. Nine months later, I witnessed the birth of my daughter. What impressed me most was that I felt completely awake and present to the divinity and wonder of the birth. Two years later, I experienced the same with my son, whose birth was also peaceful and beautiful.
My life’s work has always been about teaching others how to create lives they can be proud of. After my childbirth experiences, I decided to focus this mission more speciﬁcally to be able to share my extensive birthing knowledge and life practice tools with other women. The BornClear approach that I have developed works whether you plan on giving birth at a hospital, at a birthing center, or at home. What’s most important is being mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared so that you can create the birthing experience you want for yourself and your family.