As I have reflected back on my own childbirth experiences, I remember the push to have an epidural, which I refused both times; instead, choosing on my own, less medicine to help me with the process. I also remember at the exact moment when I was pushing my daughter into the world glancing down and seeing my OB/GYN's hands up like he was going to catch a football and his head averted so he wouldn't miss a second of the University of Kentucky football game... another stellar moment.
Today in the Philippines, women and open-hearted men are at the forefront of a peaceful battle, the battle for Human Rights in Childbirth. In October of 2014, we had a gentle triumph: Dr. Teodoro Herbosa the Undersecretary of the Department of Health for the Philippines, came out publicly in favor of Gentle Childbirth.
For me, that morning when I saw a positive sign on the pregnancy test, I was filled with excitement, expectations and a sense of craziness. The thought of survival never crossed my mind. I didn't have to worry about affording care or being able to access a midwife, and I knew that this privilege was due to where I lived.
"A pregnant woman has one foot in the grave." This common saying reflects the reality in many developing countries: bearing a child is one of the main risks to a woman's life. In the poor countries of the world, giving birth is both one of the most significant days in a woman's life but also a time when she is closest to losing it.
When my dad was a kid, he would have the same conversation over and over again. He would patiently listen as people shared the stories about the events surrounding their birth and the role his grandmother, a midwife, had played. It surprised my dad that she had delivered so many babies, and that so many years later, they wanted to express deep gratitude.