Name: Gail Hart
How would you describe yourself: mother, midwife
1. What change(s) do you want to see in birth?
I would like to see a better understanding of physiological birth and the benefits to both mother and baby. I think it is crucial that we begin to understand the role that interference plays in harming the optimum birth process.
2. What people / places / philosophies / things do you envision being some of the catalysts in birth change?
The humanistic birth movement in South America. The concept of Choices in Childbirth being one of the basic human rights.
3. What is the first thing that needs to change with how the average person views natural birth? What are your ideas (big and small) to help this change?
The average person confuses normal birth with pathological birth and thinks they are the same thing. Much of the culture believes birth is a dangerous physical condition which requires medical help, and this basic misperception affects their decision making. The truth is that NORMAL birth is truly natural, spontaneous and safe, and rarely requires medical aid.
A normal birth forms the basis of normal emotional and psychological well-being for both the mother and the baby. When we disrupt the normal process we risk harming their emotional/psychological well being in addition to causing physical harm.
4. What is the best advice you would give a pregnant mama who is looking into her birth choices?
I tell her if she is healthy, she can give birth on a haystack alone. Her body will probably do the job just fine. She should look within her community to find people who will help her be comfortable in labor. Part of that “comfort” is knowing there is access to medical aid if needed, and her helpers will see that she is not interfered with unless aid is necesary. Then she can relax and enjoy her birth!
5. If you could give a few words of advice to all the women (even those not pregnant) that haven’t found their voices yet, what would it be?
Be healthy, and learn what that means for YOUR body and mind!
Fear, worry and anxiety can sap your health, so learn the truth rather than fear things which aren’t worth worrying about.
You go to a doctor when you are sick, but the rest of the time, your health is up to you.
Your body will take care of your baby while you are pregnant.
It is up to you to take care of yourself!
Refresh your mind as well as your body by relaxing and exercising in sunshine and fresh air.
Eat well and enjoy fresh wholesome foods.
Surround yourself with kind and loving people who respect you and your choices.
Enjoy your pregnancy. Enjoy your baby. Enjoy your life!
That’s the truth we all need to hear.
Life is a great gift.
Enjoy every moment of it!
6. What encouraging advice would you give anybody in birth (mama or any birth worker) when faced with that seems like the present “doom and gloom” situation?
Well… remember the advice above.
But also, remember we human beings wander greatly off the path, but we do usually make progress towards the truth and a better way of living.
Our cultures seem to swing like a pendulum between one extreme and the other. Eventually we find a balance. I think this will be true about our understanding of birth. Eventually we will come to appreciate normal birth as the great miracle it is; this wondrous event which changes a woman forever and builds a loving family.
We will respect and honor that physiological process, and interrupt it only when intervention is truly needed. And even then, only in the most gentle way possible, so that we don’t disturb the bond between mother and child.
7. What do you think “We” can do to help women find their truth, their trust and their responsibility in birth?
We can stop feeding their fears!
We can concentrate on helping women learn what is RIGHT about their bodies, even as we educate them to ways of achieving better health.
We can affirm their strengths, reassure their worries, help them address their fears. We can support them when they need our strength to help them through times of trouble, and those rare events when problems arise. Pregnancy is usually wonderful. Sometimes it is hard. That’s why women need midwives.