A Force of Nature

I got to witness Hurricane Sandy up front and close.  Out my living room window, I watched as some of the most massive trees on our property got uprooted and thundered to the ground. These trees had been standing for hundreds of years, with circumferences of 3 or 4 feet and were as solid as they make them. It was a humbling and terrifying spectacle.

I heard a teacher once share that fear of birth (and fear of women in general) is directly related to our fear of nature. This idea emerged in my mind as I contemplated Sandy. Yes, nature in its fury can definitely be terrifying, but usually it isn’t. On a day to day basis, nature is beautiful, glorious, and life affirming. Since we moved here into our little neck of the woods, I have soaked in stunning sunrises and reveled in autumn’s vibrant paintbrush. I have felt the energy of the trees, surround me, sustain me, and ground me. And yet, in the aftermath of the hurricane, I couldn’t help wondering if moving here wasn’t a mistake. The city seemed so much safer, more stable, as if Sandy had barely hit. But my body wholly resisted that thought with the knowledge of what I would be giving up- all the joy and pleasure that I experience everyday in living in the beauty of the natural world.

Thanks to Sandy, the parallels to childbirth became crystal clear to me- in the medicalization of birth, we have all moved to the city. In fear of the “what if”… we have given up almost all of the pleasures of the natural birth experience. Most women aren’t even aware that those pleasures exist!

The threat of nature- the power of that natural world that lies beyond our control, is equally met by the repercussions of our efforts to tame it, to control it, to technologize it. In other words, city living may protect us from some of our fears of nature, but it puts us in danger in entire other ways. As does the technologization of childbirth.

Thankfully now more than ever we have access to a ton of information that can help us make informed decisions. NO ONE can tell you where and how to birth… that is something that each woman needs to answer for herself.

But before you make your choice, ask yourself- do you know the full spectrum of your options?

I would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below…

Sheila