Tonight I got the chance to talk to high school and college students about birth activism. But of course it was more than just about pregnancy, labor and delivery...it was about looking at our culture critically. I have to share what I have learned about reaching this demographic!
What I heard:
"What is a midwife?"
"Why DO we give birth on our backs?"
"You can be in labor for over a day?"
"You can eat in labor?"
"Can you really have an orgasm in labor?"
And also...the questions I asked:
"Does she know why she's getting induced?"
"How did she decide to have a homebirth?"
"Do you know your birth story?"
"What images come to mind when I talk about having a baby?"
"Have you seen The Business of Being Born?"
My biggest joy was how much these young people wanted to see placenta pictures! They were fascinated! "What is a placenta?" led to so many other topics. About rushing things, nutrition, breastfeeding, the "mess" of childbirth.... Who knew that would be such a hit? I had only the last minute instinct to bring pictures from my births...I almost didn't! Now I know...and you do too.
So. Let's put ourselves out there a little more in honor of all those placentas...most are never shared with the world or even noticed by their hosts. Meanwhile, teenagers are so curious about them! "How big is this?" "How much did it weigh?" "That's IN you!!??" Am I alone when I see a disconnect? Why not push yourself to overshare when something inside you tells you to take a chance? I am so happy I did. You never know what questions you'll be asked next. Imagine what you might be privileged to answer!
Each person that saw my pictures (yes! so graphic!) or talked to me for a few minutes think differently about childbearing already. A few admitted "oh, we'll be talking about THIS on the way home..."
Now...how can I feel this way every day?!