There are so many things that I did not know about the functions and inner workings of my body until I started my training. This stuff is important, and we shouldn’t have to do a degree to know about it. In general, there are huge gaps in what we learn at school and in adolescence about women’s health in particular. Especially as girls, we are taught from a young age to doubt the capabilities of our bodies. If I could hope to achieve one thing it would be to open up conversations around women’s bodies, because quite frankly they’re amazing.
Most of my knowledge as a midwife is around pregnancy and childbirth. One of the most interesting and sometimes frustrating things as a midwife is the way our society talks about birth. The frames of reference we have available to us on a day-to-day basis regarding pregnancy and childbirth are generally pretty extreme. Mostly, birth is shown to be an emergency with a lot of stress, screaming, pain and mess involved, as this is the typical scene depicted. Of course, there are rare situations where all of the above are true, but generally labour and birth are not as dramatic an experience as shown on screen.
Women are consistently fed the narrative that they are not capable of giving birth unless in a hospital with a hoard of trained professionals, medical equipment and a load of drugs. This is just one of the ways women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive choices are undermined by dominating patriarchal structures. Of course I see situations pretty much on a daily basis where all involved are relieved and thankful to have these resources available to us when needed. But essentially I believe there are systemic issues at play that prevent many women from entering pregnancy in a state of self-assurance.
I am writing this from the perspective of someone who has witnessed and supported women through childbirth. But I am not aiming for this blog to solely be about becoming a mother or the experiences of pregnancy. Rather, I see it as a place to document and develop the chats I have with friends about our bodies, how they work, and how we connect to these issues. A lot of this will relate to questions people often have about pregnancy and giving birth. I think it would be great if women could enter pregnancy (whether it is planned or not) with a bit more knowledge and confidence about their body’s ability to grow and birth a baby.