Thursday, June 10, 2010

My First Birth Talk

Yesterday was the big day! My first speech on the topic of natural childbirth. It was fun! I hope I get the chance to do it again sometime.

A few months ago I was asked to give a talk on the subject by a girl (also a doula) who is the education coordinator at a local crisis pregnancy center. The girls who come to the center for help are given points for attending classes, which they are then able to spend buying maternity and baby items in the center's boutique. J., the coordinator, gets all sorts of birth and community professionals (doctors, WIC coordinators, La Leche League leaders, pregnancy massage therapists, doulas, etc.) to come in and give talks on pregnancy, birth, and baby care, so that there's a lot of education going on while the girls attend classes.

I worked at this center a few years ago for about a year and a half as a member of the housekeeping team, but this was the first time I'd ever seen them in action - and I was super-impressed. I have never seen such a selfless outpouring of love toward mamas in need. It was amazing. This center is providing so much to the community and to the mothers who really need it. I am in awe of them.

Anyhow, J. had asked me if I would give a talk on the subject of natural birth and birth stories, so last night I gave my presentation - a 45 minute talk on childbirth, covering the topics of (1) why natural birth, (2) my birth stories, and (3) how to achieve natural birth. It has taken me a good month to put together this simple presentation (outline, powerpoint, elaboration, etc.), so I am really in awe of people (teachers, etc.) who do this on a regular basis!

It was an interesting experience giving this talk to a "virgin" audience - an audience who has literally never heard any of the points that I had made. Most of these girls are living the typical American pregnancy - going to the OB, submiting to each and every test, going to the hospital and submiting to every procedure without question, and giving birth with the worst that the American maternity system has to offer mothers. So the concepts that I was offering - non-prone pushing positions, upright birth positions, laboring without IVs, laboring while mobile, birth balls, waterbirth, laboring in water, birth at home, birth with midwives, doulas, etc. were actually being heard for the first time. Pretty amazing.

Some of the girls looked pretty disinterested; some were quite interested, and the rest were in between. Amazingly, some of the highest interest levels seemed to come from the three dads who attended - something I wouldn't have expected!

Anyhow, I had fun, nerve-wracking though it was. And I did get a few questions, amazingly enough! (Plus a few fed to me by J., which I'd asked her in advance to do! LOL!) I don't know if I said anything that will remotely make a difference (for most of these girls, natural birth v. medicated birth is the least of their problems), but it was an interesting first experience.

Has anyone out there done a speech on birth? How did it go for your first time? Any hints? (I should say that I am not a natural in front of a crowd, so a lot of my inadequacies are purely from personality and natural ability - I have a lot to learn as a speaker).

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