Pregnancy and Birth
Pregnancy and birth have held a special place in my heart for many, many years. Perhaps it comes from spending so much of my life either pregnant, giving birth or bonding with our little ones.
Maybe it evolved from the 30 years I’ve spent caring for pregnant mothers and their newborns. It could be because I still spend almost every weekend teaching chiropractors and holistic birth providers pregnancy-specific care to support natural birthing. Most certainly it has been enriched by embracing the chiropractic philosophy of trusting and respecting the innate, natural order of birthing. Needless to say, it was with great pleasure and love that this issue of Pathways was born.
In my years spent immersed in birthing, I have watched mothers struggle with the desire to birth naturally because of the fears imposed on them by the runaway technology-based birth industry. Before this high-tech intrusion, women gave birth without high regard for an outside authority. They worked to trust their intuition and respect their bodies’ inherent ability to function as it was created to. Under the guise of helping the process, modern medical practices spread the fear of pain, failure and disaster. They undermine the very foundation of women’s trust, and divert their ability to birth from within. Western birth practices constitute one of the most profound examples of how we have allowed the mystique of technology to overcome practical intuition.
When we look at the alarming rise in the C-section rate and the increase in dangerous interventions, the record appears grim. Today, women who are choosing home birth are being scoffed at as merely following a growing fad. I find it disheartening that the normal, natural process of birth is engulfed with such fear and ridicule by the self-appointed powers-that-be. We have allowed these ideas to override our innate trust in, and respect for, our bodies’ own ability to function.
Throughout my 30 years of care, I’ve discovered that the most important service we provide is to turn a pregnant mother’s attention away from her learned fears, and back to her inherent ability to give birth naturally. This starts by challenging her belief in the myth that obstetrics has irrefutably improved maternal and infant health and safety. From there, we encourage them to trust and respect their own intuition and their body’s wisdom in the age-old process of birth. When a woman seeks her strength from within, she finds the greatest inspiration—her awakened, internal spark of power.
One of my favorite birthing videos, Giving Birth, produced by birth educator and activator Suzanne Arms, is exemplary in leading women to this place of trust and power. A midwife in the documentary offers these precious words of wisdom: “Another fear that women have is in losing control in labor, and that is something that any midwife encourages. That moment where a little bit of chaos can take over, and that woman can make those sounds and open her legs and allow that pressure, with all the love and support around her, and be vulnerable, and let that process take over… it is powerful. It is strong and it cannot be prevented. One woman told me in the middle of labor that she realized that this great power that she was feeling was, in fact, her own. It was her body. It was her baby. So instead of being in this dynamic of working against this great energy, she merged with it, and she stepped into it and she said, ‘This is me. This is my body, this is my baby.’ And she owned it. That was the turning point for her.”
Another midwife adds, “This kind of understanding of birth— that the body has its own ability to deal with the pain of labor, and that the pain of labor is not unnatural or abnormal, and, if given enough support and privacy, a woman can do it, and it’s the major achievement of her own strength and creative capacity that nobody can ever take away from her for the rest of her life. That leads her to be a fiercely protective, strong, confident mother.”
I am very hopeful for the future of birth, because what I see happening in all aspects of our society today is a wonderful shift in understanding and perspective. When one side of the scale becomes so over-weighted, a natural phenomenon occurs: a wake-up call, a spontaneous evolution which strives to achieve balance. To use a term coined by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., a “newedged” science is emerging—one which rocks the cracking foundations of all fear-based, learned reductionism. As this paradigm shifts and we are reconnected with trust and respect, all aspects of our lives will evolve, including healthcare, family life, education and sustainability. What a magnificent pregnancy and birth we are taking part in!
Read Dr. Ohm's bio here.
Dr. Jeanne Ohm is the Executive Editor of Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, a quarterly publication offering resources for parents to make informed health care choices. Find out more about Pathways to Family Wellness magazine.