My original plan for this blog was to focus solely on pre and postnatal health and fitness. Then I realized that one of the requirements for my Childbirth Education course is to keep a journal of the process of my training. I thought for about half a second of writing a journal on–gasp!–paper, and then realized that was not going to happen because every piece of paper I own gets scribbled on by my 3-year old or lost in the shuffle of my crazy life. The only sacred place for my writing is in the electronic realm, and preferably on the Web where no one can accidentally delete my file. (Right?) I also realized that if I started a blog devoted to birth-y stuff, I might save a lot of my Facebook friends from the constant barrage of birth/pregnancy-related articles that usually launch from my profile.
So…this blog will have lots of posts on fitness, including exercises that are appropriate and useful for women who are pregnant or postpartum, and information about health and wellness during the childbearing year. There will be posts in which I discuss the challenges I experience as a pre and postnatal fitness specialist, and where I can hopefully add value for my clients, who may be inclined to pop by after they take my classes. There will be posts about prenatal, birth and postpartum care (including breastfeeding), and posts spreading the word about evidence-based practice, which will hopefully help women to make the right choices for their own bodies and babies. I have lots of birth-y bees in my bonnet. They will buzz here. Feel free to listen and comment; feel free to challenge me if you think I’m full of it. I love a good debate. Bottom line: I’m learning all the time, I have no desire to tell anyone what to do, and I respect women enough to believe that women can make choices about how to manage their own bodies, whether or not their choices are the same as mine.
With that said, full disclosure: I support physiological childbirth (see “About”), and keeping interventions to an absolute minimum. Pregnancy and birth are normal. Pregnancy is a state of health (albeit one that can make some women, such as myself, feel like utter crap…but more on that later!). Midwives are fantastic. Doctors are fantastic. Doulas are indispensable. Women should give birth where and with whom they feel comfortable and supported. I question the medicalization of pregnancy and birth. I respect birth. I’m in awe of birth. And I don’t romanticize pregnancy or birth. I had hyperemesis with both my pregnancies–hence the nearly 10-year gap between them. My first baby was born in a hospital: an uncomplicated five-hour labour and normal vaginal birth after a Cervidil induction at 41 weeks 3 days, supported by an amazing doula and fantastic family doctor. My second baby, nearly 10 years later, was an entirely unexpected emergency c-section at 41 weeks 4 days after a planned homebirth. I was schooled, to say the least. (I’ll write more about both of those experiences later, too.)
I remember my first child’s birth as the most amazing day of my life. I’m still trying to integrate the trauma of my second child’s birth into my life in the present. I’d be lying if I said that none of this blog–or my work in the birth field–was cathartic.
And now for the legal disclaimer. I’m not a health care professional: I grew up observing my mother (a family doctor) care for pregnant women and deliver babies, I’m well-read in the history and practice of pre- and postnatal care, I’m certified to work with pre- and post-natal women by a major fitness organization, and I am a student with Lamaze International. And while I may rightfully be called Doctor, I’m not a physician, nurse or midwife, and this blog is no substitute for the information that an experienced clinician can provide. Nonetheless, I hope the information and commentary I offer here can be a useful part of some women’s journeys through pregnancy and birth and into parenthood. It’s a roller coaster, to say the least. I hope some of you will join me.