Empowering Choices For Childbirth And Feminist Dads

I was 23, I just found out I was pregnant with my boyfriend of 3 months – so you can say it was definitely not planned. But I wasn’t freaking out at all, I’d had a strong maternal instinct my whole life up until then, often fancying myself even as a kind of surrogate mother to my younger brother. As the relationship with the father was also so recent I wasn’t even sure he’d be on board with having a baby, but I was dead set on having it alone anyway if he wasn’t; being a single mother? No problemo for me! But, he was on board, and although our relationship as a couple didn’t survive past 4 years, we’re still best mates to this day and have co-parented marvelously. I think I knew he was going to be an excellent father.

So what was my ‘aha’ moment in all of this? It began with my own mother. She suggested to me right from the start that I go with a midwife and have an at-home birth in water. At the time, where I was living in Costa Rica this was not a very common (or accepted) practice. But for whatever reason, the idea resonated with me instantly. My partner took to the idea as quickly as I did, even though there was some fear & doubt coming from his own mother.

As we delved into this process everything changed for me. Even though my mother had always been of a Buddhist mindset, I myself had never been particularly spiritual. Neither had I really ever questioned what my womanhood meant. During my pregnancy and in preparing for my home birth I began to study a lot about this history of childbirth, ancestral matriarchy and also the development of Western medical advances. I had no ‘beef’ with modern medicine, but I became acutely aware of how male-dominated this ‘business’ of childbearing had become.

I was shocked to see how much violence there was in the silencing of the mother’s needs and choices, how she was being educated by fear of pain & death instead of being championed as creator & supporter of Life.

Yes, I was reading “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, but I was also reading “Women who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype”. I began to feel more & more like a Goddess Woman Warrior, and it was exactly what I needed to bring my little girl into the World in a manner where I had the strength, the power and the confidence that this was the ultimate female empowerment. I was not going to be bullied into an unnecessary planned C-section (but was psychologically and financially prepared for that just in case, and firmly believe this can be a life saver when needed). I was going to channel the fear of pain during childbirth into strength, and I did- I prepared for that like I was going to run a marathon!

This experience is the most pure example of being a woman I’ve ever had. I came out of it more alive, more eager to champion other women, and men alike. Because after almost 16 years, my daughter’s father has shown decision making that is always in favour of us: my daughter & myself. He has made enormous sacrifices, including encouraging us to move to a whole other continent simply because he knew her future as a young woman would be full of better opportunities, even though it meant he would not be physically close to her as much. He wanted her to grow up in a place where the freedom of choice for women is respected, where it’s safe, somewhere she could grow up to be independent. And that’s why, in my story, he is after all the true Feminist.

As sisters, mothers & daughters the notion of Feminism can reside in us, even if somewhat buried in obscurity, but when we can achieve this same notion in our brothers, fathers & sons, well then, that’s when we will truly find peace and equality.

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