Tuesday, November 20, 2012
A week ago, I taught the 10th grade at the San Francisco Waldorf High School about birth and midwifery. Two students sent in their essays. Thank you to Isabel Dow and Madison Evans for contributing to this blog. And, by the way, Aubrey had her baby at home, yesterday! A girl!
Maria’s Classroom Visit
I had been looking forward to Maria’s visit for over a week, and was so excited when Maria found time to come to our class. Last week she had to cancel to attend a birth. I was not disappointed one bit by her visit, and loved feeling how passionate she was about her midwifery. Two days before her visit, our Embryology teacher, Dr. Burkett had led us through all the frightening details of birth, so I thought I knew what I was in for, gritting my teeth in anticipation. While Maria was talking to us and asking us for our input and opinions, my views on birth began to shift. Through her loving, vivid descriptions of the birth process, I realized that the pain of labor pales compared to the bright glowing joy that comes with birth.
After a short discussion, Maria showed a video of a water birth. In it, the mother suffered through many intense contractions, which looked extremely painful. When the baby finally came out, I watched as the mother, all pain and suffering aside, lifted her child to her chest as pride and joy filled her whole being. I laughed with happiness for her. That was the moment that I realized why mothers are so willing to go through pregnancy and birth, for the sake of a new miraculous birth.
After recovering from watching the video, we put on gloves, and Maria showed us, and let us feel, a real placenta and umbilical cord. Although my stomach heaved at first, my curiosity allowed me to move passed that, and I experienced it totally.
Next we moved over to the couch, where a pregnant woman, her due date coming up any day, lay smiling. She was so kind, letting us prod her tummy, feeling her baby’s bum and hearing its heart beat. Sensing this was an amazing experience, I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing and feeling the baby!
Having Maria visit changes my view of birth radically. Before she came, birthing a baby seemed shockingly scary and horrible. However, now I have realized how wonderful it must be to create and nurture a life within ones own body. Although there is much pain involved, it is all definitely worth the effort.
A Visit from the Midwife
I enjoyed and learned a lot from the midwife’s visit. Seeing a video of a mother giving birth helped me realize that birth is natural and amazing. Feeling the baby in its mother’s uterus and hearing the heartbeat helped me realize the wonder that there is a real baby living inside the mother’s womb. I thought touching the placenta was really interesting and cool because it is rare that you can see and feel something that comes from inside our body. After learning so much about the placenta through our class, it was really neat to see it for myself. Learning about water birth was very interesting. I don’t think water birth is for everyone but I do think it is important that the mother at least knows the person who is going to help her give birth. Before Maria came, I never thought about the baby having good or bad experiences during birth. Now that I have thought about it, I do think it is important for a baby to be born into a good environment with both of its parents there. I now have a new appreciation for pregnant mothers and the birth process.