When I was just digging into hiring a web designer to create BumpMama, Britney and her husband Tom came knocking to extend their services, and it was a match made in Heaven. Here I am writing about her birth story and its effect on me with less than 24 hours until this site goes live. With as much time as I’ve spent talking with other mamas over the years running birth, parenting and women’s networks, you would think I’ve heard it all. But her words struck a chord with me. Not only am I a huge believer in empowering women to dig deep into that primal part of themselves and trust their bodies, but I’m a big believer in faith.
And what resonated with me the most, personally, from Britney’s story is that we don’t share the same religious faith. I want to shed particular light on this because I think it is often overlooked in birth culture. Society is so busy inundating expectant mothers with horror stories and claims that the epidural is a must in this day and age, and it has drowned out one of the most important parts of birth for many women: faith. A belief in something bigger than themselves. A belief in the Divine power that flows through their own bodies.
As I read through Britney’s account of the most momentous occasion of her life — giving birth to her daughter, Ella — I was brought to tears. Because I know exactly how she felt at that moment. Because I know that “I can’t do this anymore” feeling that means my baby is almost here. Because I know the instinctual urge to push and don’t need someone else to tell me what my body is prepared to do. And reading how much her faith impacted her journey through pregnancy and birth — and into motherhood — really resonated with me, because I know that experience, too. The thing is, we don’t share the same belief system, and yet we had such similar experiences.
I don’t presume to know what birth is like for all women, but given my experience sharing in so many similar stories, I do think we are all far more alike than we are different. And it doesn’t seem to matter how we get to that place in life. Planned or unplanned. Alone or coupled up with the love of our lives. Christian, Pagan, Agnostic, Buddhist, and so many more… I’ve seen these women walk the same paths guided by totally different beliefs, but the belief in themselves shined through. I say this not to take away from religious or spiritual beliefs. I say this because I want to emphasize that there is a sisterhood to be shared here. Our beliefs do not have to divide us. Instead, even when we don’t share the same belief, I find our paths still merge and unite us as women, and as mothers — if we allow for it.
I am so grateful I allowed my path to merge with Britney’s. Look what it’s brought me. And I’m thankful she agreed to share her birth story with all of us. Her insight on how she was still learning to let go and accept what was happening even during labor is something many of us can relate to. Mamas who are expecting their first child may find Britney’s courage to question her providers’ recommendations to be a breath of fresh air. It’s high time we showcase that birth can be empowering instead of scary, and Britney’s story of her commitment to trusting her body to do what it was made to do is a great way to kick things off. Happy Birthing!