Occasionally I am daunted by the marketing task before me. When you get down to the basics, that is what I need to do, market birth as a normal event. The passion I have for normal birth might inspire a few people to change the message our society conveys about birth but most people will need a fabulous childbirth education class, lots of good books to read, a circle of friends who trust in birth, and even that might not be enough.
Thanks to Observant Midwife for a great entry exploring Shame. It astounds me that pregnant women planning a normal birth continuously find their trust in birth assaulted by the media, "friends" and family, and often their care provider as well. Your care provider you can (and should!) change if he/she is not supportive. For every unsupportive friend, find encouragement from a supportive friend. Read lots of good books, subscribe to a positive birth blog a homebirth or birth circle listserv (search yahoo groups to find one near you), attend a good prenatal yoga class and come up with a list of positive statements/facts about normal birth to share with family members. You might have to be very proactive in order to find the information/support you need to birth with empowerment.
A close girlfriend who is pregnant with her first called to chat about pregnancy the other day. She asked several questions and mentioned she was going to check in with other friends to learn from their birth experiences. I warned her not to compare apples with oranges. I might very well be her only friend who strongly supports normal birth and so she might not find the same perspective on birth from her current circle of friends. Sometimes it is better to turn to books and solid evidence based research (Henci Goer) before friends. Too many women, either view birth as a medical event or (and I fell into this category with the birth of my first) assume that just because THEY think birth is normal they can have a normal birth in a hospital. So how do you market normal birth and how do you help moms understand that a normal birth in a hospital is not a given?
Midwifery Today1 has a great article in their summer issue, "Go Tell It: Using Media to Educate about Birth." There are midwives, doulas, researchers, educators who have created great tools to educate the public about normal birth. Blogs, Wikipedia, Internet Video, Ads, TV Media, Film, Radio, and Podcasts have been created to help you strengthen your trust in birth. I have a few blogs listed on this site. Search YouTube for "homebirth" or midwife to find positive stories of normal birth. The Argentinean organization Dando a Luz has some great video clips promoting the rights of women and babies during birth2. And I love the site Gentle Birth created by California midwife Ronnie Falcao.
Take out a pen and write down the things you need to know right now in order to birth with empowerment. I would write more but I have to get the kids to bed so take your list and start researching!
1 Sharon Craig, "Go Tell It: Using Media to Educate about Birth," Midwifery Today 82 (2007) 44.