If this is your first birth, the change it involves for you from being someone's child to someone's parent is really beyond description. And if this is a second or subsequent birth, the change is also a major one. What we are hoping to help do with Year of Birth is put you in a frame of mind and heart in which you are most open to the experiencing and appreciation of the wonder of this transition your are making. However often it has happened and will happen, bring new life into the world is never a "minor" matter. It's worth experiencing to the fullest, and we hope this book will help give you the confidence and receptivity you and your baby deserve.
It starts, of course, with preparation. Once you know you're pregnant, it's time to start looking for a professional caregiver and for other support. Whether your present inclinations take you at first toward a midwife or doctor for your prenatal and birth experience, it's worth remembering that you and your baby have a right to caring, non-routine attention that treats you with real individuality and sees birth as a natural and inspiring aspect of life rather than as a medical event or a mechanical/technical process.
Follow your intuition to decide whether you want to go on with the person you first contact for professional care.
Did your feel a real connection or just a sense that you were being fitted into a routine? Did you feel concerns you brought up were really looked at or were you "humored?" It may take two or three visits to find out, but you will know at some point what your real feelings are. And it's important to remember that at this time in the world you don't have to settle for being "processed". There are sensitive, caring people out there in the smallest, least varied communities and in the latest, most impersonal cities. There are also word-of-mouth networks, even if made up of only three or four people in a tiny community, through which you can find direction toward caring care. (Please see our Resources section for organizations that may help you find people in your area.)
What Is A Good Birth?
A good birth experience one in which all involved benefit as they really can involves respect for your baby, respect for you, and respect for the way the birth process begins or extends family life.
Respect for you baby means a recognition that babies not only are conscious at birth, but that they are wide-open, super-receptive beings going through and putting real effort into a tremendous transition. Your baby will be making a crossing from one world, one whole way of being, into another. This crossing can be, and is meant to be, a deeply enabling experience, one that brings a baby into the world with all her or his abilities intact and ready to expand.
Respect for you involves a recognition that you, as a woman, have the inborn ability and instinctive knowledge to give birth, and that what you need is the kind of support that brings out your real self and abilities. This support should be backed by competence, so that as the time of birth arrives, you can go into it with the confidence that the people attending you have the knowledge and experience to provide whatever help you may need. But it also should be patient, reassuring, loving support that gives you enough good information and encouragement about the birth process to help you find your own way to approach it with the security that your feeling won't be ignored or overridden, and that you and your baby will be given the time and the psychological "room" you need to experience birth together.
The birth experience does not end at the moment of birth. The first hours and days together with your new baby are a very special time a "marriage" of your expanded family. You all deserve time and relaxation together. The willingness of those attending you to be on hand but stay in the background to let you have this time and relaxation is a key thing to examine as you make a choice of who will guide your prenatal and birth experience.
Finally, a good birth involves you and your baby being allowed the most conscious, least-medicated birth process you both can manage. If you approach giving birth with good preparation in the way of nutrition, exercise, and the support of confidence in your capabilities, and if you take advantage of helping nutritional agents such as raspberry leaf tea (which helps achieve muscle relaxation), you can go into the experience with confidence that you'll know what you need. And since all medications for birth have some side-effects, they are worth minimizing and, whenever possible, avoiding. The over-medication phenomenon that caused so many babies and mothers to be robbed of the experience and connection they deserved at birth grew out of the isolation and lack of information that so many women once experienced in our society when it came to giving birth. An enormous amount has happened to remedy that unfortunate situation, and this book is meant to help you get the support (personal and informational) that you deserve.
The First Months After Birth
The reason that this book covers a full year rather than just the nine months of pregnancy is that birth, so often regarded as the final goal of the pregnancy process, is in reality another beginning. And after the abundance of information about birth, the time most women feel least supported is in the first few months of their lives with a new baby. After receiving so much attention as their due-date approaches, the changes that accompany life with a newborn can make the withdrawal of that outside interest a real loss. So we are trying in Year of Birth to give you information and ways of looking at things that we hope will help you and your baby get the start together that you truly deserve.
We hope you will find this a useful companion in the first months after birth as well as those before.
About The Quotes You See Throughout This Book. . .
Some of the most valuable support and useful information comes from others who are going through, or have recently gone through, pregnancy and new parenthood themselves. While the quotes that appear in the articles in Year of Birth are our own expressions, most of the quotes in italics are from new mothers in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota. Customers of Crib Diaper Service, they answered questions we asked them in collaboration with the people at Crib. We thank these caring moms, who were so generous with their feelings. We also thank Crib for their cooperation and support.
. . . And Why This Book Will Never Be Finished
Since there never can be a "last word" about something as fundamental as having and living with a baby, we hope you will add your own feelings to those expressed by new parents in the quotes throughout this book. Our plan, as part of what we hope will be a communications service for and among parents, is to continually update Year of Birth and make it representative of the broad range of people's experience and their collective wisdom. So we hope that you will use our e-mail address to pass on anything you would like to share about your own experience and your sense of what others would profit from knowing.
Toward a Good BeginningYear Of Birth Forward | First Month Intro
From The Beginning Home Page
All contents copyright © 1991 by Crystal Press. Used by permission of authors. Neither text nor illustrations may be reproduced in any form, in print or on the Intenet, without permission in writing from the authors, John Milder and Candie Snow, who may be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact us at that address to purchase copies of Year of Birth.