Maybe the freebirth activism should be seen not so much as an insistence about how we all should be giving birth, but instead a call to continue to keep the conversation going and figure out a way to make childbirth as safe, stress-free as possible, with women surrounded by caring, comforting caregivers.
The more time I've spent in the company of pregnant women and their partners, studying ethnographies of midwives, and hearing freshly trained doctors' accounts of delivery clinics in various parts of the world, the more I've come to understand that our collective birth narrative is by no means a universal one.
As medical professionals rushed into the room, my anxiety grew exponentially with each passing second. When I started to pray, there were no words coming out. I just kept sending thoughts and emotions to God. Somehow out of my hope that God would see our family through, I managed to whisper, "Thank You."
Author Brittani Sonnenberg has received high acclaim globally, including The New York Times Books Editors' Choice, for her new novel Home Leave. In it she masterfully narrates the layers of stories, anxieties, and familiarities that seep in and out of the heads of women and their family members who embody this itinerant lifestyle.
Most births don't have complications but some do, and it is unfortunate when women feel they or their births are failures for failing to meet their preconceived notions of success. Women should strive for a birth that is manageable and meaningful, but without a sense of entitlement that it must be fast, painless, and stoic.