On Birth – and with due deference to Nancy Wainer whose revolutionary thoughts helped so many of us frame our own.

By | reproductive justice, surgical discourse | 7 Comments

I propose that we reclaim birth. Our first step can be the removal of labels from birthing. Birth is birth. Women are women. We’re not mothers, wives, primips, multis or “the VBAC in room 3”, we’re women. We’re women at work, women in the home, women in the revolution and women when we birth. And birth, is just birth. If a woman has had five previous surgeries, this homebirth is still just a birth. The woman-hating surgical discourse has colonised our once great nomenclature and turned it on us, pathologised it, made it an unattainable, risky, undesirable managed process designed to “fail”. And let’s drop “successful” and “failed” from our descriptions of reclaimed birth. Birth doesn’t fail although often the system does.

Alternatively, if we reclaimed our lives, maybe birth would naturally follow on? Now there’s a radical thought!

A survivor of birthrape birthing again, is just birthing.

A woman with a “big baby” is just birthing.

Let us leave the acronyms to those who seek to remove our humanity and have the power in naming our own births. No more FBAC, VBAC, HBAC, EBAC, UBAC, BAC, whatever. Don’t give in to the powermongers, and fearmongers, just give birth.

Give birth at home. Give birth with friends. Give birth on your own. Catch your own baby as she plunges from your yoni and inhale deeply. That is the true scent of freedom. Give birth screaming, give birth whispering the meaning of the universe. Give birth nestled into your lover. Give birth holding the hand of your chosen wise woman. Look into her eyes and see the line going back to when we first walked upright and our bodies adapted to birthing that way. Give birth in a rented deflating secondbest pool in your study, hey, I can recommend that personally!

Give birth in the living room, after your previous surgery. Give birth on the roof this time if you feel like it. It’s just a birth. Give birth in the garden. Last time you had surgery, this time you’re giving birth. Not a big deal. Just a birth. Give birth at your kitchen sink in ironic tribute to your inner housewife.

Give birth to yourself, embrace yourself, throw off the shackles, womankind arise! Even suffragettes just gave birth. (And most of them at home.)

Give birth to boy babies that they may be loved onto earth and cherished from birth, not brutalised to fit society’s demand for drone-like men. Give birth to girl babies that they may continue the line and know the power of birth and the power of women themselves, all their lives.

Birth, birth, birth, that’s all it is. What our greatgrandmothers did at home, alone or with friends and sisters, just birth.

Reclaim our birthright to name our births, own our births and choose woman-centred baby-loving birth. Birth after surgery = just a birth.

© Janet Fraser 2007


By | just for fun | 5 Comments


There are no benefits to:

intact genitals

ecological breastfeeding



spontaneous physiological birth

vaginal birth after caesarean

not travelling in labour

never being separated from your baby after birth

physiological third stage

skin on skin


being respected




being in control of your choices

because they are the normal states for your body.


Do you have any you’d like to share?

Belinda will have her next baby at home

By | who homebirths? | One Comment

My name is Belinda and I live in a town in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

I have only had one child, and she was born via emergency c section at my local hospital. I had always wanted a very natural, very calm birth and when I was pregnant with my daughter asked my husband about home birthing, but he brushed off my thoughts with a simple “the hospital is the place to be, what if something goes wrong?”

My birth story is one that I have since heard repeatedly. I was late, my daughter was in the right birthing position, was induced, daughter turned a little, nasty midwife, waters broken, put on the drip, told to stay laying down, labour stalled, drip turned up, gets to lunchtime on a friday, doctor (who hadnt seen me at all) declares I need an emergency c section due to failure to progress. (I was told afterwards by a doula I met that the failure to progress was simply the doctor deciding he wanted to go home early on a friday)… After my emergency c section I didnt get a chance to hold my baby, and she was taken away by the nurses to be checked over, where later I learnt that before I got my cuddles she had already been held by nurses, the midwife, her father, my mum and my in laws.. This broke my heart, with feelings of guilt over the way the labour had gone, and the fact that I should have been the one to hold my daughter first..
My stay in hospital was long (over a week) and was treated horribly. I was upset, (which they thought was depression and brought in a psychologist), I couldnt feed, and was forced to shove my screaming daughter onto my breast, and no one would listen to me.

I still feel guilt, and sadness over my birthing experience, and it has taken me a while to realise that I cant do anything to change what happened, but I can learn from it.

I know that next time will be different, I want to have the choice to birth at home, with caring professionals who are responsive to my needs. I know the Government wants to take this choice away from high risk mothers like myself and that makes me mad! I dont care about the cost, I want to birth like it should be, no induction, no drugs, no drip, just me, my support team, in a comfy environment where I am relaxed and the baby is too.

Katie just wanted a vaginal birth

By | who homebirths? | One Comment
Where do you live? Perth
How many homebirths have you had? 1 

Why did you birth at home? Because I wanted a vaginal birth and I wanted it done safely without fear or pressure. I wanted to feel like I had given birth. I felt like with the changes in legislation on the horizon, that this could be my only chance to birth at home with a qualified midwife.Did you homebirth your first baby or subsequent babies? My first was a caesarean, my second was a HBAC. I didn’t know that Homebirth was an option. I thought everyone went to hospital and have a baby. I felt Homebirth was something people did elsewhere in the world whom didn’t have access to hospital facilities.

Have you used a publicly funded homebirth scheme in any country in the world? No. I am ineligible for the CMP here in WA because of a scarred uterus. 

Have you experienced hospital or birth centre birth? Hospital birth (supposedly Team Midwifery Care)

Have you experienced trauma around birth? Having a baby surgically removed. I felt like I didn’t give birth. I felt disconnected from my baby. The process was painful and unpleasant. I was recovering from surgery and had a newborn. My partner was looking after me and the baby, totally different notion to how our start to parenthood was supposed to be.

How old were you when you were birthing at home? 29
With what ethnicity do you identify? Australian (caucasian australian?)
Have you had a caesarean? More than one? 1
Have you had a breech home birth? no
Do you identify as disabled/temporarily able-bodied? no
Have you had a midwife-attended home birth? yes
Are you in a relationship? yes
Are you single? no

How did you pay for your home birth? I paid from my wages at the intervals set out in writing by the midwife

Do you work at home or in the paid workforce?  paid workforce
Does your family have a history of home birthing? no

Giving and receiving the gift of birth

By | homebirth, parenting | 6 Comments

Judy Chicago, Hatching the Universal Egg


Giving and receiving the gift of birth.

It is no accident that we call the act of bringing babies earthside a gift. The first gift we can give to our children is the manner of their birthing, so we “give” birth to them. I gave loving, bloody, long birth to my daughter. She was wrapped in my body until she released herself and swam down through me and into the world. Welcome earthside, wee woman, your first gift from life was from me. A birth where loving hands receive us at the end, and no one breaks the sacred space should be the first gift for each child.

I did not give that gift to my son. He was pulled from my womb by uncaring strangers who were painted with my blood not knowing how I blessed them. He was not given birth, he had a deformed version of it forced upon him. Oddly it was ultimately a gift to me though as it changed and altered my life immeasurably and I hope that the sacrifice of his birthright gift will be made up to him in other ways.

I could not parent him as he deserved in his early life because the gift of his birth was too painful to bear. I could only stay afloat, nourishing him with my body but with my soul sometimes absent. I even felt driven to killing myself but came back from the edge realising he did not deserve such a gift from me as that. Although I was a broken mother, I was his mother and in my own way a gift to him as I struggled to put myself back together again. I can hold him more strongly than I would have been able to now, knowing as I do the price of life and the cost of the gift.

When he is old enough to know that we are separate and that our birth journeys were separate, I should like to thank him for coming through my body and helping bring me that gift. While it nearly killed me, it only broke the back of my spirit instead and then brought me back, whole and infused with more pain and thus also with more joy than before. I celebrate my scars, I love them more deeply for their impact and how they force me to concentrate on living above all else.

Ways we silence women

By | consumers' rights, surgical discourse, surgical monopoly | No Comments

This is a beautiful and important post by Heather Armstrong, presented on The Unncessarean. I know many women will relate to it. Unfortunately. Read the rest at the link. Thank you, Heather. Every time this is articulated, another woman comes in from the cold and realises her feelings are valid and important, that she’s not alone and that how she feels really does matter.

Woman Who Didn’t Have a Healthy Baby Reflects on the “Healthy Baby” Trope

“All that matters is a healthy baby.”

Thank goodness someone said that, otherwise I might have been consumed with the worry that I did not perform my birth correctly. Mothers who know that, in the end, their baby is the only real part of birth, don’t need to feel sad if things didn’t go as planned, right?

No one said that to me when I experienced a horrific “birth” experience because I didn’t have a healthy baby. I became the example, I was the living proof of “what if”. You should be grateful you’re not her; your baby could be her baby. I had notes on Jericho’s birth story that read, “I’m so glad my baby is okay/healthy/alive”. If your baby is any healthier than mine was, then you should be grateful. Experience and hopes be damned.

Telling someone they should be grateful they have a healthy baby is like telling a rape victim she should be grateful she’s still alive; she could have been killed. While that may be true, her experiences and her trauma have been swept under a rug. Does she not matter at all because she wasn’t the worst case scenario? So long as she’s alive, she needn’t grieve her losses?

Laugh and cry time

By | consumers, consumers' rights, just for fun, reproductive justice, surgical monopoly | No Comments

Weep as you read about VBAC in the US (and not too far off what it’s like here) Childbirth without choice

It would seem perfectly natural that a woman could give birth naturally if she wants to. Guess what? She can’t.

An increasing number of hospitals in this country are refusing to offer women the option of delivering the way nature intended, if she had a cesarean section the first time around (and guess what — chances are she has because the 31% of all births are now C-sections — up 50% in 10 years).

I wrote an article in this week’s issue of Time magazine called “The Trouble With Repeat Cesareans” on the subject of women’s diminishing patient’s rights. I won’t repeat the story here, since you can link to it here, but will give some of the back story for those who want more:

Finally a breastfeeding product I can advertise!

Tru-Breast is here! Huzzah!