Childbirth activism runs in my family

26Mar10

My husband’s grandmother shared with me all about how she became a pioneer of natural childbirth.  She had her first son the way everyone birthed in the 1950’s.  She was given a spinal (a precursor of today’s spinals and epidurals) and had a terrible headache for a week after the birth.  She wasn’t really given an option.  With her next, she specifically requested to have no drugs or medications until they were needed.  Someone put a gas mask on her right after that, so obviously her request was ignored.

Then came Dr. Grantly Dick Read’s Childbirth Without Fear.  My grandmother read this book, and knew that there was a better way.  She started up childbirth education classes in her area, which taught exercises, relaxation, and breathing techniques to prepare your body for birthing.  She found another doctor who would allow her to birth without taking any medication.  She said that after her third birth, she could have “flown out of the delivery room”, that’s how incredible she felt!  She went on to have 3 more medication free birth experiences.  For the last one, my grandfather was allowed to be there!

In order to be certified as a doula with DONA, one of the requirements is to observe a childbirth education class series.  I have been observing a Bradley Method class on Friday nights.  I was telling my grandmother about this Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth class that I’m taking.  She said, “Dr. Bradley, from Colorado? Oh, we had him fly out to speak at one of our childbirth education classes.”

How incredible is that?!

I’m so proud of the work she did to educate others about childbirth! I’m also glad that today we have options available to us that women did not have 50 years ago.

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