Birth circles, homebirth meet-ups, and other social events

18 August 2011 at 5:14 pm 1 comment

Recently, on a parenting listserv I’m a part of, there have been several pleas for real-life, in-person get-togethers to discuss birth. One mom began by asking if others would be interested in a natural-childbirth-focused discussion group, and the discussion along those lines made me think about the idea of birth circles (I’m not aware of any currently active birth circles in the Boston area at the moment, unfortunately), where women can talk about their birth experiences–natural or “unnatural,” midwife-attended or medically-guided, homebirth or hospital birth–in a non-judgmental environment. Separately, I asked if some people would be interested in having a homebirth-focused meet-up, which could be attended by moms, partners, kids, and indeed whole families interested in homebirth–whether they’ve had a homebirth, attempted homebirth but transferred, are planning a homebirth, or are even vaguely interested in one.

What I think is really interesting about this desire for face-to-face gatherings is that, no surprise, the Web has made more information more readily available to more people than we’ve had in a long time. Clearly, my mother in the 1970s–though she did manage to find a LLL phone number somewhere–did not have access to as much information or sharing of stories as we do today online. But, just as clearly, in previous generations, women did have access to a female-centered community which talked about birth experiences and shared information–my grandmother, who had two children in a railroad flat in a Lower East Side tenement in the 1920s, attended by a midwife, must have talked to other women about birth; her mother, my great-grandmother, who had three (or four? memories are hazy that far back) children at home in a Sicilian peasant village in the 1890s, also attended by a midwife, must have similarly had a community to talk to.

So, no big surprise here–it seems like we still crave that real-life sense of community, especially about important or highly emotional things (and birth, certainly, is both). What about you? Do you have real-life friends or contacts who have had homebirths, or used midwives, or are interested in a midwifery model of birth? Or are you the only one you know, as some moms too often say, outside of whatever online communities and message boards you’ve become a part of?

–Christina

 

 

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