Birth is a Creative Process – Not a Surgical Procedure

-“Birth is a creative process, not a surgical procedure. I picture dancers on a stage. Once, doing a pirouette, a woman sustained a cervical fracture as result of a fall; she is not paralyzed. We try to make the stage safer, to have the dancers better prepared. But can a dancer wear a collar around her neck, just in case she falls? The presence of the collar will inhibit her free motion. We cannot say to her, ‘this will be entirely natural except for the brace on your neck, just in case.’ It cannot be ‘as if’ it is not there because we know that creative movement and creative expression cannot exist with those constraints. The dancer cannot dance with the brace on. In the same way the birthing woman cannot ‘dance’ with a brace on. The straps around her abdomen, the wires coming from her vagina, change her birth.” –Dr. Michelle Harrison

Visit to read an entire blog post about this quote from childbirth educator, Molly Remer.

My babies

I post this as a mother who has experience cesarean surgery personally.  I post this for these two little girls who were born this way and who might someday give birth.  Cesarean surgery can be a life saving procedure and we should be thankful we have it.  However, birth in general should not be approached as a condition that “could” require a surgery from the moment a woman experiences the first contraction.  That mindset creates anxiety and impatience.  A waiting for something to go wrong, instead of a trust that it will most likely go right. And it most likely will.  My first cesarean was a completely unnecessary procedure that happened because of this mindset.  This mindset was held by my care providers and was filtered in to me and my support persons through their words.  There was no medical reason for the procedure, but I did not know that at the time.  It was not a simple procedure, and my very healthy pregnancy ended in a 5 day hospital stay to straighten out complications that both myself and my baby experienced and suffered through after surgery – because of the surgery that I did not need at that time.

As I labored over those last 7 hours with my second baby, I rocked.  I moaned.  I danced on all fours.  I labored.  I felt it fully.  I embraced it as a dance.  I was not afraid.  I knew my body and my baby would tell myself, my midwife, and ultimately my obstetrician if we would require any help to birth.  Until that warning occurred, I was to labor.  I was to dance.  I danced… and I am so very happy to have had that opportunity.  That personal expression.

About Kelli

I am Kelli B. Haywood, LCCE, a childbirth educator certified through Lamaze, a birth doula, and prenatal yoga instructor. My two little girls light my life. I am the wife of artist, musician, and teacher - John Haywood.
This entry was posted in Birth Stories, Birth Topics, Healthy Pregnancy, Pregnancy Care Providers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Birth is a Creative Process – Not a Surgical Procedure

  1. Hey Kelli, good post. I just spent three days with my wife at a midwife conference and came away amazed by the ladies present. They hit the c-section topic hard, just like you. As the dad at two home births (my two sons) I wouldn’t change a thing, but it’s easy to see how a Doctor would have jumped in to save the day when it wasn’t in danger.

    I blogged on the conference and the idea that women who have hospital births get an IV right away.


  2. Kelli says:

    David, thanks for commenting. Currently, there is a real mainstream practice of care providers “managing” births through medical procedures that aren’t always required at the time they are administered to keep birth safe. This brings very negative affects to both mother and baby, because both are put under the risks of those procedures and experience the side effects of those. It is a practice that puts the health of our mothers and their babies in peril. However, being a mother who has benefited from medical procedures as well as having experienced them at a time when it is unnecessary, I highly support information for every mother either through exploring on her own or through taking childbirth education courses. I know from personal experience how much of a difference it can make in your birth. Seeking out a good childbirth class and completing it, gives you enough information to help you choose the right care provider for your needs, talk with your care provider, and decide together what is the safest means for you to give birth. Sometimes, it might be through cesarean, and that is ok. We can definitely be grateful that we live in a time when that is possible. I am and for my second pregnancy, both my baby and myself benefited from necessary cesarean. But, also know that much of the time, it will not be, and this goes for mothers who have had previous cesareans as well.

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