I actually can’t take all the credit for this poem!
It was a collaboration between me and the award winning Manchester based spoken word artist Ben Mellor.
I knew this poem was special when the first midwife I read it out to cried.
This poster contains an except of the poem.
I was grateful to have performed this poem to Ina May Gaskin herself at an International Conference in Norway: Women’s Right’s In Childbirth: Take Back Control!
It’s Not Because
The birth of my second child’s featured on a BBC1 documentary ‘Childbirth – All or Nothing’ (It’s on YouTube)
It wasn’t the kind of birth that is normally seen on TV.
People said I looked relaxed and focused
And they asked me how I prepared.
AND THIS IS WHAT I SAID…
It wasn’t because I’d read the books –
Childbirth Without Fear, Birthing From Within
or anything by Ina May Gaskin,
And it wasn’t because I’d searched home-birth
chat forums and Facebook groups
to answer the questions I’d been asking.
And it wasn’t because I had a birth pool,
Or had a doula and listened to what she had to say,
practiced Self Hypnosis or drank
raspberry leaf tea three times a day!
It wasn’t because of any of these things,
though I did all of them and more,
It’s simply because I’m a woman and this
is what my body was designed for.
We’ve seen what childbirth looks like on TV, right?
Women lying on their backs on a strange and unfamiliar bed
The fear and screaming, stainless steel, the panic and the dread.
But what if all the horror and trauma can sometimes be
a self-fulfilling prophecy?
What if the received wisdom
that birth is dangerous and unpleasant is simply
a cultural attitude we can change when we just listen
Listen to our bodies and the knowledge they possess,
listen to our rhythms when need things to progress
We are part of a process as old as life itself, engrained
in our DNA, way older than waiting times and targets,
and an overstretched NHS.
And yet birth happens best when it’s undisturbed,
when it’s dark, and quiet, and you’re unobserved.
Birth requires 100% concentration and focus
And we can’t do that when the locus of control rests outside of ourselves
We need to feel safe, and loved, we need to feel trust
And yet it seems so unjust that we are not being “allowed”
To birth unimpeded, at our own pace
In a quiet and dark and familiar space
So if you’re planning to birth, please know this one thing,
That fear causes tension and that causes pain
When we learn to relax we can manage the strain.
You can do your own research, find out how to prepare
To free the wisdom within us – it’s a truth we must share.
Words by Kati Edwards and Ben Mellor (Copyright)
Feel free to get your mits on this gorgeous natural birth poster to inspire all those who read it.