I have been meaning to do a post for a while on natural birth, especially what I learned at the Water Birth workshop with Barbara Harper.
There is SERIOUSLY so much I learned (and I thought I knew a lot already, I'm a bit of a birth junkie!), and I don't think I can begin to try and write it all out right now. Barbara Harper is an amazing woman, and I highly recommend that all expectant mothers at least read her book, Gentle Birth Choices, before they make their decisions about how they would like to birth. Natural birth certainly isn't for everyone in our culture, but for some mothers it can be amazing and is totally worth it. Interventions are great and necessary when they are warranted or wanted, but I have a feeling that a lot of women don't know that they even have options. And of course there are so many women that have unnecessary traumatic births, especialy with their first (and that leads them to actually find their options for their future babies).
Anyway, the thing that impacted me the most about the workshop is really seeing how birth works. That babies were designed to be born. That if you just keep your hands off, everything will most likely be fine. It's good to have skilled people there in case of problems, but the key is to only intervene when there actually are problems, and not to go causing them in the first place. I always knew this, but the workshop hit it home for me. Watching so many births where no one touched or bothered the mother and baby were so powerful. People in our culture are complete control freaks, and it seems to impact birthing in such a negative way. Birthing in the water is so natural, peaceful and beautiful. It was amazing to see the babies come out, and then "snap" into themselves, and be drawn out of the water on to their mother's chest (the "habitat"). It was so, so amazing. It was incredible to see that there is truly no rush (baby won't try to breathe until his skin feels air, and as long as the placenta is still attached he gets all of the oxygen he needs), and that the baby usually knows how to birth itself. Baby and mother are both programmed with reflexes to ensure a safe delivery, if only they are allowed to work together, unhindered, to get it done.
There is so much more I could write (and I know this isn't written very well, but I don't have much time for writing, or thinking, these days). I believed deeply in birth before, but now I have more faith than ever. I can't wait to be able to be there for women going through this awesome journey (no matter what they choose of course, every birth seems to move me, no matter how it happens, but there's just a different dimension to natural, water births for me).
Here is a video I just came across that I like. I especially love how no one pulls on the baby at all to get her out. Everything just happens perfectly. And YES, this is a birth video so there is nudity.
Also, preparingforbaby has a lot of great videos on YouTube (check out her playlists, especially the waterbirth one). Here is part 1 of 4 of that series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DTwuiGgnHY
Maybe some day I will be able to post more about what I learned, but in case I don't, I just wanted to get a quick little thing out there.