updated March 13 2019
The Bellabirth philosophy is firmly entrenched in the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Sister. But the reality is, to get to a simplified state of mind, one must first wade through a myriad of chaos.
Birth and breastfeeding are biological processes (e.g. physical, hormonal)…left well enough alone, with confidence and support, a woman should be able to birth and breastfeed. It is very rare, biologically speaking, for birth or breastfeeding not to work out (big head…big brain…what is the big idea?).
Birth and breastfeeding, for humans, is also an emotional process. Humans are highly cognitive, and our ability to think (and over-think) is an important part of our ability to birth.
Despite all the attempts to blame women or evolution for the ‘problem of childbirth‘, the problems related to pregnancy, birth and parenting arise when cultural processes interfere with (and complicate) the natural process. Despite all the knowledge and understanding we have gained about the natural, biological process, our human need to control everything, and diagnose and categorise, has led to a cultural process of accepted intervention and power-passing that leaves us generally distrustful of our bodies and fearful of the process. This is called The Nocebo Effect.
Perhaps this culture of controlling birth is about job-creation and economic growth; if we rely on natural processes no one stands to make any money (though that doesn’t stop them trying, and ultimately undermining the natural processes as is evident by the ‘breastfeeding industry’). This economic, capitalist world bombards the vulnerable pregnant women with messages of “you need this item”, “your success depends on these products”, “your image will be improved with this” , preying on the sense of lost identity that comes with the transition into parenthood, a quick fix is a spot of retail therapy. Venture into a baby store, observe the sensory overload of products that will enhance your baby’s development/intelligence/health/well being or will free you from the shackles of baby wrangling.
Those on the fringe who opt out of the mainstream cultural processes are of no economic value and therefore, have trouble finding the support and help they may need. If you venture into the mainstream to seek assistance, you will be questioned and undermined for going against the grain. Whether this be having the audacity to trust in natural birth and baby-led weaning, or to raise your own children without use of daycare, or (gulp) to educate them at home.
How did we get to this point? Where will it lead, or even end?
Personally – I think you can separate yourself from this cultural mess and reclaim your power. It really needn’t be difficult, it can be as simple as saying NO. It is easy to say no once the fog is lifted and the blinkers removed. It is human nature to flock, to try to belong, or fit in. Marketing capitalises on this very natural process, warping it and twisting it beyond anything natural.
In this modern world, to bridge the gap between cultural and biological processes, a woman to be needs to find her power through gaining knowledge and support.
It can mean the difference between a leap of faith, relying on others to get you across the gap safely* and solid bridge forged in your style.
Balancing the overwhelming cultural force with the more gentle and instinctual biological force, to find harmony in the modern world is an individual journey.
I hope you walk your true path with confidence and happiness. And dare I say: May the force be with you.
*safely, according to many, means a healthy baby. And ‘healthy’ means alive. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THE BENCHMARK! This is not even the minimum we should be expecting. And, yet, this is the best you can expect when relying on others. It is vital that a Mother, and her partner, are emotionally and physically healthy as they cross, and once they start navigating on the other side. It is not enough to just be alive on the other side. Let the Journey be Awesome: Create a Birth Map