For 100,000 generations of human evolution, birth has existed as a normal life event, one of joyous celebration and intense initiation. Our species’ survival has depended on it and so birth itself has evolved and been designed to occur without a need for interventions or medical procedures. Wherever we choose to give birth we must feel comfortable, empowered, safe and relaxed. Since the beginning of creation, babies have been made and born at home. When animals give birth they generally wait until they can be alone and safe. We humans are not so different and we also need privacy to open ourselves to the power and mystery of birth. In the comfort of our home we can feel safe to open to these natural rhythms that have brought new life to this planet for hundreds of thousands of years. While trusting the process of birth we are able to tap into our greatest gift as women, the ability to create and bring forth life, therefore truly allowing the initiation of motherhood to flow through us.
In 1900 almost all U.S. births occurred at home. By 1940 that rate dropped to 44% and to 1% by 1969. Surprisingly, in less than 100 years hospitals became the common place for women to come for support during this sacred, powerful and life-changing event. Beginning in the 1970s a renewed interest in natural birth occurring at home with midwives began and has continued to have a revival in our country. Although there are still less than 4% of babies born at home and midwifery remains illegal in 12 states, many women are choosing to bring their babies into the world surrounded by loving hands. Midwife Lindsey Meehleis says it well: "When I first became a midwife, one of the main reasons was because the baby's experience of birth was just as important to me as the mother's. I had witnessed so much separation and disconnection from hospital staff as a doula. The startling observation of common practices as treating baby as checklist of things that had to be done, rather than a person starting new life, sickened me. Each birth that I am blessed to attend, I make it a ritual to slow things down after birth. There is no rushing, no separation, no loud voices discussing yesterday's football scores, no hats, no swaddled up burrito baby's...Just 100% pure uninterrupted bonding between family and this new life. Fingertip exploration, heart to heart bonding, deep eye connection & sacred communication. Welcomed into the world in a room filled with so much love. I promise you this friends, if every human was welcomed in this way...the world would change."
Thanksgiving morning I pulled on my leather boots and trekked out into the snow drifts up to my knees. I was on a treasure hunt... I grabbed a shovel frozen to the ground and set off, determined. The day was clear and turquoise blue. The turkey was already in the oven and soon friends and family would gather to celebrate the abundant harvest and the many blessings of our lives. I set out walking east towards the 14,000 foot mountains that rose up majestically, protecting our small mountain town. Just south of our greenhouse lay the frozen garden beds, covered in snow and ice. The season's spiral in full swing, I wondered if the earth would be frozen or if the snow, as white and cold as it appeared, had in fact insulated the soil. I scooped away a foot of snow where I thought I remembered the carrots growing, their green fern-like leaves reaching to the sun. Sure enough I saw a speck of bright orange contrasting the dark soil and the white snow...my hands dug into the cool moist earth lifting up the sweet abundance. I sang a song of gratitude and carried a bowl of dirty carrots into the house to wash them by the fire. Then my mother and I cut them up into small circles, each carrot unique in shape and size, bursting with life. We cook them up together and make them into a family recipe~cheesy carrots! SOOOO Yummy! As we later gather with our tribe of neighbors, family and friends we all feast on the treasures of the season and give thanks for all the blessings of life. My heart soars with gratitude, and we celebrate into the night laughing next to the crackling woodstove, preparing for the coming winter!