‘In Labourland’ is a short visual series exploring what is required in the course of normal, supportive care for a birthing person planning a normal, natural physiological birth.
Inspired by a story a woman once told me, this visual series seeks to help women understand what they need to know to help the birthing process work best.
The woman told me that in labour, she had wanted to go ‘into herself.’ She did not want to talk. She wanted everyone to go away and be alone. And yet, she felt obliged to ‘be polite’ to those in the room; making small talk to the midwives she’d never met before even when every cell in her body was screaming to her to shut herself down. To shut everything and everyone else out. To focus inward.
No one had told her about the existence of Labourland.
Our current process-driven maternity services and litigious culture make it more and more difficult for women to have a ‘normal’ vaginal birth.
Intervention is increasing. I can’t remember the last client I had who hasn’t been recommended their baby to be induced for one reason or another. My doula colleagues tell me the same story.
Some of my clients accepted the offer of induction and some declined.
Helping parents-to be to be more informed and make the choice right for them I see as my job. My job is not to steer them either way.
Many birthing people are never told about their options; let alone given enough information to make an informed choice of the risks and benefits.
A ‘normal’ birth, it seems, is no longer one without intervention or medication.
Humans have been giving birth since man and woman began.
We have been born of our mothers since time immemorial.
With 7.7 billion of us on planet earth, we are pretty good at giving birth.
We possess genetic memory of how to birth from all the generations who’ve birthed before us. And yet, fear, myth and misinformation seek to blast us off course making us lose trust in our own near-perfect knowledge of childbirth. Our instincts.
As Independent Midwife Deborah Neiger says, ‘Birth is a normal life event. Sometimes it becomes a medical event but that should be rare.’
I quote Michel Odent, the well known French Obstetrician:
“The truth for women living in a modern world is that they must take increasing responsibility for the skills they bring to birth if they want their birth to be natural. “
Kati is a doula, KG Hypnobirthing Teacher and Trainer, birth activist, spoken word artist and speaker based in Ramsbottom, Manchester. UK.