Nancy Salguiero, 32, a chiropractor and birth coach from Ottawa is expecting her third child on Oct. 10 and she’s invited us watch. She’ll be live-streaming the birth for anyone who wants to see. Sign up on her website and you’ll be alerted, via Facebook or email, when she goes into labor.
Why is she doing this? Well, she’d like to show the world that birth doesn’t have to be the screaming emergency-waiting-to-happen we so often see on TV or in the movies.
“I really think it’s important for women to see what a normal, vaginal birth looks like,” Salguiero says in a video-taped introduction to this project. “It’s important to change our visual blueprint.”
Salguiero believes that women are taught to fear childbirth and might get a little reassurance from seeing an undisturbed birth. She may be on to something– a report released this week suggests that tocophobia, the fear of childbirth, increases the chance for a c-section. No surprise there.
Where does this fear come from? One source may be television and movie versions of birth–even “reality” shows need viewers to stick around during the commercial break and tend to edit for dramatic purposes more than anything else. But a normal, undisturbed home birth, from start to finish, can actually be more like an Andy Warhol film than Knocked Up. (It’s usually a woman and a couple other people wandering around an apartment or house looking sort of out of it and occasionally stopping to rub the woman and listen to her moan a little. The lighting is usually not great. Labor, and Warhol’s performers, who were sometimes asked to sleep on film, tend to prefer the dark.)
But I don’t say this to deter you from watching Salguiero’s birth! In fact, if you’ve never had a baby, check it out. I just watched her second birth (posted below) and it’s pure antidote to the alarming images we see elsewhere. It’s good to know that this kind of birth possible– if not for every women– certainly for many.
And speaking of possibilities, it’s not just us ladies who could use a blueprint change-up. According to Eugene R. Declercq, PhD, Professor of Maternal and Child Health, Boston University School of Public Health, witnessing an undisturbed, vaginal birth is something even medical and nursing students never experience! So tune in, one and all.
Here’s the labor segment of her second birth:
If you’re concerned about the graphic nature of this project be reassured: Salguiero plans to give birth in a tub and it’s very hard to see what’s going on in there. What she wants us to focus on is the laboring– the sounds she makes, the movements, the positions. These are the kinds of things we could stand to be more familiar with, not the money shot. “There’s more to seeing the baby come out,” says Salguiero.
My Never Ending Labor: A doula’s home birth story