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.
Earlier this month we filmed an interview with Dr Agnes Gereb, the Hungarian obstetrician and midwife who was imprisoned and is currently under house arrest for supporting women giving birth at home. The filming was for our ONE WORLD BIRTH new documentary film which will be released this summer.