Experiences of a Birth Attendant

Two births, two days.

I hadn’t met this woman beforehand and had only spoken to her by phone due to her original attendant passing away unexpectedly. Typically, I would spend considerable time with the expectant mother prior to her birth, however, this wasn't possible given the last minute changes.

It was clear from the start that the people attending the birth were not aligned with the mother and I sensed an obvious mismatch of energy between all parties. The woman had many emotional expectations and the people with her were on a totally different wavelength. The birth had a 'party birth set-up' with multiple people present, the lights were bright and it was a noisy environment. At each step of the mother's labour, instead of calm reassurance being provided by the people surrounding her, there were only nervous suggestions. The lack of knowledge, or trust, of the physiology of birth was clear. The environment was a recipe for what happened which involved a stressful transfer to hospital and an epidural.

Then two days later, a completely undisturbed birth. The mother was centred, she centred herself. There was no looking outwards for direction. There was little to no talking. Darkness. Updates here and there from the mother, voicing her need to be witnessed, not looking for confirmation or suggestions. She was the authority and there was no mistaking it. We wrapped her in love and security. We did not tell her how to breathe or pant or push or how to hold her body during a wave. No. There was no need. There is never a need. Watching her sink into her primal brain, how it took over during transition, how her silent contractions turned to low groans and shuddered breaths.

When she did ask for help to release a shoulder a few minutes after the head was born, I stepped in because I trusted her so much and knew that if she was asking, I was not disturbing her. This was my first time actively helping a baby emerge, it was beautiful and an honour to be there. When her placenta took an hour to emerge (yes, an hour), no one stressed her, no one pulled. She guided it out on her own when the stars aligned for her to end her birth.

Sophie Kalech is a Birth Attendant who recognises birth to be a natural process of the female body that works best when left undisturbed in a safe and loving environment.

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