The street were I live is on a little peninsula, boarded by a river on one side and a lake on the other. At the end of the street is a walking track through the bush to the end of the peninsula where the river meets the lake. The track is about a kilometre long.
I have been writing a chapter on the birth environment in a new book by Lorna Davis called "Sustainability, Midwifery and Birth", the focus of which is reducing the carbon footprint of maternity care and the midwife's role in that. I took time out from the final edits and rejigging of the content yesterday evening to go for a walk. As I was walking back from the end of the track, musing about the chapter, a young couple holding hands were walking towards me.
The father was 'wearing' a baby in a carrier produced by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. I stopped and said hello, congratulating them and commenting on the lovely baby to be told the baby was born the night before last. As we chatted, they told me they had their baby at home - 'in the water', said the proud grinning father as he gently stroked his daughter's hair. The mother was smiling with that look that new mothers who feel fabulous and proud of themselves do. Their conversation about their birth experience was calm, relaxed and full of a sense of joy. The young woman told me her sister is a midwife (who I know) and that the experience had been wonderful. Her confidence was palpable. Being in their presence was such a gift.
I left that couple and their new baby and walked back home, thinking about their experience. That woman's labour and birth was a perfect example of how birth, when women feel good and in control and surrounded by people who love and support her and her process, is a sustainable, eco-friendly human activity.
If ever anyone needs a reason to protect, promote and support normal natural birth, that woman and her experience provides a shining example of how birth is meant to be.
The most natural thing in the world...