Do you ever walk around and notice how beautiful things are? Trees are everywhere. They are hard to miss, but also easy to miss. A wildflower, so unappreciated by us and such a beautiful thing if you stop to look at it's symmetry and how it just grew like that by itself-no special help from outside forces. Sometimes it got like that despite the attempts of outside forces to get rid of it.
My close friend had a baby two weeks ago. The beauty of her birth has been on my mind. Firstly, she had a home birth. Regardless of your comfort level with regards to home birth, I only mention it because it sets the stage for the following information. When she went into labor, she was nearly 43 or 44 weeks pregnant. If your unfamiliar, due dates are calculated as the 40th week from when they guess you got pregnant. So she was likely an entire month "late" according to common standards.
The second significant fact is that her baby was over ten pounds-10 lbs. Since she was birthing at home, she had him without medication. She did it in the care of some fantastic midwives. And it went completely smoothly. Had she gone to many hospitals in our country, she would have been told that her baby was getting too big for her body or that 10 days was the limit on how long past your due date she would be allowed to go. She defied both of these very common paradigms. Her body handled it beautifully-uninterrupted, with a little assistance, her body did the work. She told me that even after he was born and she held him, she was surprised at how much he weighed. And there are other women doing this too. This woman gave birth to a 10 pound baby in the car on the way to their birth center. See the whole thing here (no nudity shown except a baby bum.) (Get a load of how calm the dad is. So perfectly supportive in what could have been a very stressful moment.)
When I hear these stories, I think of a night with some friends and I were talking about birth a couple of years ago. Two of us had given birth and one was around her 35th week of pregnancy. One of the interesting facets from that conversation was when one woman shared a story of a woman she knew who gave birth to an 12 lb baby vaginally. Everyone in the group (except me) agreed that that was just not possible. "How did she do that??" These women, most of whom have never had babies, all agreed that someone else had done the impossible and missed the opportunity to consider that it is possible. Adult, educated women have been so miseducated about birth and what their bodies could do that not even one of them considered a different view point. Our bodies can do this, but why do we think they can't?
We live in a dual world where we're surrounded by beauty and also bombarded by messages that beauty is very specific: an immaculate lawn, clean car, a birth at 40 weeks to a small baby, etc. We're told that having a baby is a beautiful thing, but that our bodies aren't really able to give birth. For sure, there are times when we need help with the lawn, car, or birth, but a little reeducation about what is really possible would go a long way. When we buy into messages that beauty or birth as one thing and everything outside of that is undesirable and dangerous, we make more work for ourselves in trying to get the natural world or our bodies to conform to that image. But I'd offer the easier and healthier thing is to let go and appreciate the variety in the beauty that already exists including, but not limiting ourselves to one specific thing.