Birthowl’s natural childbirth

I gave birth completely alone

Article from ‘Marie Claire’ magazine:

I gave birth completely alone

If you thought a homebirth was radical, prepare yourself for freebirthing – where there’s not even a midwife on hand. Allison Tait investigates the growing trend of pregnant women going solo.
Rixa Freeze, 29, a doula from Iowa in the US, endured a 10-hour labour with no medical assistance. She gave birth to daughter Zari on October 31, 2006.

“I was sitting on the edge of the toilet, supporting my baby’s crowning head with one hand, when it occurred to me that my husband, Eric, might like to witness the birth of our first child. Having spent the entire 10 hours of labour almost completely alone, I now wanted to share her arrival.

“Eric came in from our bedroom as I half-squatted on the floor, a pile of towels underneath me. Zari arrived with a swoosh and I gently lowered her onto the nest of towels. Her initial crying subsided as soon as I scooped her up to my chest.

“A few moments later, Eric took a photograph of Zari and me – and when I look at it today I realise what a raw and beautiful moment this was. It was just us – no strangers and no unnecessary noise.

“Two and a half hours later, when the placenta came out, Eric cut me off a small piece to eat; the mild taste was surprising. Later that afternoon, as the three of us relaxed together in our bed, a family for the first time, Eric told me I was right to give birth this way. Initially, he had expressed doubts, out of concern for the baby and me, but now he too realised it was the right choice.

“For me, it was the only decision. When I first heard about freebirthing, or unassisted birth as it’s also known, it was as an academic, in 2003. I was in the first year of a postgraduate degree in American Studies, researching birth-related issues, and a midwife I met mentioned it to me.

At first, I reacted like most people. The idea of giving birth without any medical assistance on hand sounded scary and a bit radical, especially for someone like me who didn’t exactly grow up in a particularly alternative family.

“My curiosity piqued, I read as much as I could on the subject and grew to really respect the women who had chosen this path. I discovered that we have such a culture of fear when it comes to birth. Look at how films portray it – a woman on her back screaming as a doctor comes to save her and deliver the baby. That makes it hard for people to imagine any other way than a medical birth.”

Photo by Chris and Jenni


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