While planning my first empowered homebirth 9 years ago I would hear quite often that I was brave. And I would smile and move the conversation along to another subject reasoning that the person I was speaking with was too ignorant of the truth to actually engage on the subject of birth. But until my mind had settled into the new topic of conversation I would be waging a battle inside my head: I would be screaming how “brave” has nothing to do with it.
From what I’ve heard from other pregnant women since, I was not alone. Many thinking women today seem frustrated with the obstination they face in society. They even form whole groups which declare their lack of bravery as a means to spread their message.
But I’m rethinking that position. I wondered long and hard over the years why they thought it was so brave. Ignorance, obviously, but was that all? I hoped for a better excuse than that for the people I encountered.
While it is still unnerving to have someone look at you in wonder and amazement as if you have a third eye or are a circus act, and the truth of the matter is that taking responsibility for your own childbirth in an effort to work with the process is the safest approach, it is also brave.
It is, in fact, quite brave to have a baby at home.
It takes a lot of bravery to seek the truth.
Most people are content with mediocrity. If you don’t know this, just look at the reason you’re here: Women (and people in general) are so inclined to go with what appears the easiest, that we eventually end up with birth looking like a medical miracle instead of the natural order. To even so much as wonder anything aside from what we’ve been conditioned to believe takes a lot. To actively pursue the truth when ignorance is such bliss is quite brave.
It takes a lot of bravery to challenge the establishment.
You’re not trying to challenge anything, I know. You just want to find the safest and healthiest path for your baby. But in so doing, the establishment is challenged by you! The men involved have spent their entire careers focused on this topic. The institution has spent generations indoctrinating western medicine, including the medicalization of birth, into a large portion of the world. For any lay person to question a self-declared expert in their field of study, let alone a woman in such a “delicate” state, is not generally appreciated.
It takes a lot of bravery to follow your own path.
The masses are loud, and apathetic, and condemning. They don’t understand why you don’t just do what’s normal, and don’t really care to understand because then they’d have to deal with the issue in their own lives, too. It’s much easier to make harsh judgments, criticize you over them, and go back to their regularly scheduled programs. So not only are you on your own, alone, but you must also then defend these choices, advocate for yourself and your baby, and develop thick skin while hormones rage, you’re needing to nest and have support, and you feel most vulnerable.
But you, you push through. You persevere, you do what it takes, you challenge yourself and do what you know to be best for your birth and your baby, fully aware of all the risks, including that of losing relationship with friends and family.
Now I like to think that every time someone tells me I’m brave, that they’re not really commenting on me at all, but themselves. They know they’re not brave, they know they’re not strong enough to challenge their own thoughts, let alone a system, to find the truth, and go down that narrow path. And when they tell me that so boldly I can’t help but hold my head up high and say “Thank you”.
Does it bother you to be called brave? How have you dealt with it?
Share your thoughts in the comments!