Bodies Are Chaos

Chicago Birthing From Within Mentor Holly Barhamand, of Kick-Ass Birth, mic drops with this article on detaching your self worth from your bodily functions:

Well, what if your body IS a lemon? <— That’s a link. Go read. We’ll wait.

Our bodies are chaos, at best.

These things suck, yet they happen. And birth is just one more biological event with a million seen and unseen factors.

We HAVE to acknowledge that sometimes all of the parts aren’t syncing up to create this beautiful, angels-sing-from-heaven birth.

Sometimes our hormones are wonky. Sometimes our babies aren’t lined up perfectly. Gestational Diabetes. Pre-eclampsia. Footling Breeches. Meconium happens.

Bodies are chaos. Say it again for the folks in the back.

To shrilly persist in the maxim, holding our poster board “YOUR BODY WORKS!!!” leaves no room for the turbulence of nature.

What Holly is saying is so, so very important. When we emphasize a particular process or outcome in birth, when we set up This Way as an ideal, and everything else as a disappointment or second (or third or fourth) best, we say to parents who haven’t birthed That Way “Your experience was sub-standard.”. Even if we talk with them after the fact about “You tried your best.” or “Sometimes sh*t happens.”; if we talked prenatally about trusting our bodies, avoiding interventions, or having a ‘all-natural’ birth, we planted the seeds of self doubt and feelings of failure.

Even our language as we talk about other births matters- “She ended up with a cesarean.” “She was doing great, but she went for the epidural”. How often have we said these things and subtly registered our disappointment or disapproval in our tone, our body language? How much harder is it for us to be aware of the message we’re sending? “They labored and worked really hard, and gave birth by cesarean.” “She knew her body and herself, and the epidural was the best thing for her in that moment.”

Birth is a messy, complicated thing; and the very best thing we can do for birthing families is teach them to be adaptive and aware- meeting each moment of birth as it comes, without focusing on achieving a specific outcome.