What “Trusting Birth” Means to Me

Trust Birth

Ever since my last post about trusting birth (and the fiery discussion on facebook that was sparked off by it) I have felt compelled to write again to clarify my position.

The last post was somewhat bashed out in response to an infuriating conversation on a well-known facebook page, in which a woman was being given incorrect, paranoid and downright dangerous advice pertaining to her high-risk pregnancy. I was very angry, and frustrated, and in my frustration I neglected to be clear enough about how I feel about this issue and about what trusting birth actually means to me.

Trusting birth, for me, does not mean trusting birth at all costs. It does not mean giving birth unassisted at home. It does not mean assuming that my doctor is out to get me, and it does not mean viewing the hospital doors as the jaws of hell. It does not mean that, in my eyes, natural birth is the only One True Way. And it certainly does not mean that I feel the experience of birth is more important than a satisfactory outcome – mother and baby alive and each in one piece.

I trust birth, in the sense that I trust it will happen as it’s supposed to. Trusting birth, to me, means that I trust my body to work as it’s meant to with this particular baby and with this particular birth. Trusting birth does NOT mean that I don’t believe that complications will happen to me – far from it, I am always aware that something could potentially go awry which is why I could never feel comfortable giving birth without a trusted professional nearby. When planning my homebirth, I was acutely aware of the fact that the hospital was half an hour away, so I was happy that my midwives were clear that they would urge me to transfer the minute something looked as though it wasn’t going as it should.

I trust that if my body needs help to bring a baby into the world, that it was meant to happen that way. I trust myself to seek experienced, professional birth attendants and I trust that they will put the health and well-being of my child first, and yet do their best to allow me to have a pleasant and emotionally safe birth experience also.

For me, trusting birth means that I don’t automatically assume that I will need medical intervention to bring my baby safely into the world. It means that I will suck it up and deal with it if it comes to that, because my baby’s health is paramount. So many people are under the impression that the majority of labours need to be augmented which simply isn’t the case – again, another reason to find a care provider that you trust completely.

The “trusting birth” I was referring to in the previous post was the blind, ignorant faith that complications couldn’t possibly happen if you’re relaxed enough/have a good enough diet/trust birth enough. That is not trusting birth – that is pure, unadulterated arrogance. I hope this has cleared up my position on this issue.


  1. Suzanne says

    This is the message I took from the original post you made. I don’t think you needed to clarify your position again, but I can see it was important for you to do so. I actually feel exactly the same way as you about ‘trusting birth’ and chose to have a home birth with two midwives present. I trusted my body and my baby to do what they are designed to do during labour and birth, but recognised that I needed an experienced, trained midwife present to deal with any situation in which my baby might need help. I’m not so naive to think that if I educated myself, birthed without fear, trusted the process etc nothing could possibly go wrong; to me, that would have been irresponsible.

    • says

      Thank you, I really appreciate that. And I completely agree with you. Whether people like to admit it or not, lots of women (but more babies) die in childbirth every day, even those women who live in a tribal setting and don’t have The Fear that we do in western society. Birth is beautiful and wonderful and certainly shouldn’t be feared, but it is worthy of respect. It strikes me as very arrogant when people assume that the risks associated with the perinatal period don’t apply to them because they have ‘prepared’ – and it’s insulting to the millions of women who DO prepare, eat a whole foods diet, read Ina May, do the fear release stuff, etc etc and still end up needing assistance.

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