Thursday, January 19, 2012

The challenge of slow birth

I spent today delivering the new Slow Birth doula cards to different practitioners' offices. One supportive physician read the words "slow birth", and laughed - "Some of our doctors won't like that...they're always talking about births that are progressing too slowly!" 


These words might prove challenging for some people. 

I am an example of Slow Birth. I think maybe, just maybe, after over a quarter century as a doula, I'm starting to understand birth. It has been a slow gradual process. Each birth teaches me what I need to know for the next birth. Birth forces me to slow down, then stop, then really look at it. I feel like I'm just starting to fully appreciate the nuance of birth. 

It shakes me and demands my respect.

I have heard some people say that I know birth. I don't. None of us can truly know birth, because each birth is totally different.  But, I know this much - Birth takes its time. Birth is challenging in every way. Birth doesn't respond easily to control or what we want. Birth loves surprises.


So, think about it. Slow Birth is not about having a slow labour, or having a fast labour. Slow Birth is about honouring birth and surrendering to the rhythm of the body and the baby.

Slow Birth reminds me to take whatever time is needed to prepare each family for the early years of parenting. This takes time. Time on the phone. Time in person. Time texting back and forth. Time talking, laughing, crying. Every client requires a different approach. This is not a conveyor belt. It's not textbook. It is a creative process. It is bespoke. It is organic. It is slow.

As a Slow Birth doula, my job is to remain aware, to remain flexible, to read the body, to translate its messages, to listen to each woman and family, to remind each woman that she can trust her body, to help her draw on her life lessons, to help her build her own community. 

Slow Birth, as an extension of the slow movement, is my commitment to each doula client and her family to nurture stronger connections, and to discover each family's pace, each family's needs.  Slow Birth is about supporting the birth of each family with time and care. Ultimately, the aim is to help clients build their own connections within their community, slow down, and enjoy the first years of family life together. 

Whatever is long as it takes...that's what Slow Birth is about. 

- Jacquie Munro - Slow Birth, Vancouver Doula


Step-parent's Cove said...

Great post.

Nicole Gamble said...

This is a great read ! Really enjoy all your blog posts!

Keelytm said...

I love this philosophy! I agree that we too often try to control things that refuse to be controlled, like birth. It's always "rush rush rush, get that baby out, rush," and we forget to stop and take in what is happening, and how amazing it is. That is one of the things I have loved about a lot of the doulas I've met. They appreciate life for what it is, in a calm and almost reverent way.

MaryElizabeth said...

This is great! I have had a very slow birth and a quick birth that felt both fast and slow, but it is truly about Respecting birth, and flowing with it.

SAH in Suburbia said...

You sound like an amazing doula. The women that you work with are blessed to have you. I had 'fast' births and barely understand the concept of what it means to progress slowly so it's nice to read things from your perspective.

Katy said...

What a great post! I just found your blog and I think it's very informative. Thank you for posting this information! It's needed!!!