Two years ago I made a decision that has changed the course of my life.
As a result of my mother’s reaction to witnessing my second home birth back in 2009, and how gentle and empowering it was compared to her ´humiliating´ birth experiences, I felt it was important that others also have the opportunity to witness a peaceful birth.
Undisturbed birth, where no one interferes with the mother, and all those present are there to support her wishes and her normal physiology, looks nothing like the images we have seen from typical hospital births. As a result, I decided to have my birth live streamed online. The birth of my son Oziah was seen by an audience of thousands of viewers from around the globe, anxious to witness a normal birth for the first time.
This birth was likely the most witnessed birth in history and progressed exactly as I had hoped and anticipated. It was a peaceful and supported birth attended by my family and two close friends. My baby was born calmly, in a tub of water in my living room, and caught by my own hands, with midwives in transit.
I have since been sent hundreds of messages from women all over the world thanking me for changing their lives and inspiring them to also make choices that led to peaceful birth outcomes.
My birth was an example to the world as to the potential almost all women have to birth undisturbed and also an example of the freedom of choice protected under Canadian law.
Unfortunately, as I understand from the experiences of friends and family, these rights are not being upheld for all women. I had access to midwives who respected me and my full scope of options in maternity care. Many women, do not have access to such high level care. Many women are bullied and coerced into unnecessary procedures and interventions, not only costing taxpayers but costing those women’s self respect and dignity. Through supporting women´s legal right to fully informed consent and refusal, all women can be as empowered as I have been through three safe and gentle births.
Since this birth, two years ago today, my life has been consumed with mothering my three children and also helping other mothers have as gentle a transition into motherhood as I experienced.
I have been pulled into the world of childbirth activism and advocacy. I have attended meetings on parliament, facilitated at an international childbirth conference in Washington, D.C., hosted two years of a birth and baby film festival, and have been invited to speak numerous times at Carleton university. I am an active members of three local childbirth advocacy groups and I have also been asked to be an expert contributor for WholePregnancy.org and blogger for the Ottawa Mommy Club.
I have been fulfilling my dream in the world of birth, working directly with women, empowering them to create the births they envisioned for them and their babies. I have had the pleasure to attend births as a doula and have also mentored many women from far and wide online.
I believe community is important and I started two local community support groups here in Ottawa for parents.
The Positive Birth Movement was exactly what I was looking to create for local peer to peer positive birth support. I joined forces with the positive birth movement and have held monthly meetings since January of 2013. So far we had 100% success for the moms creating the gentle births they planned, with three more babies coming before the end of the year. You, too, can start a positive birth group in your community.
Building on the need for community, I have become a Pathways Connect leader. Pathways to Family Wellness is a holistic, conscious parenting magazine, designed to give parents information and resources to follow their own conscious parenting path. Pathways Connect is a way to build a community of like-minded parents, because, after all, it does take a village to raise a child, and we all need support.
My three big upcoming projects are my new book, that I am SUPER excited about, and you will hear more about soon, a complete online childbirth empowerment course that is in the making, and I will be hosting the first Childbirth Empowerment Intensive Live Experiential Weekend in 2014, I can’t wait!.
I feel the need to apologize for not blogging as regularly as I would like. As you can see, I have taken on quite a bit on top of life before Oziah.
I have my big projects, and most importantly, I have my three loves, and oh, how they have grown.
Oziah, will be two on October 16 and he is full into the terrific two’s. He is always chasing after his big sister and brother wanting to be included in all the fun and is learning to talk.
For a while, his vocabulary included, hot, mama, and bum. Unfortunately, he didn’t put them all in one sentence :). He has now started signing and also has included more words like: me, house, duck (any bird), papa, car, more, and done.
Here are some pictures of Oziah. A lot changes in two years!