Birth stories are fascinating. Giving birth is fascinating. Pregnancy is fascinating. Seriously, the whole process is absolutely amazing. I hope (and pray) that I someday have a birth story that doesn’t end tragically. But in the meantime, I enjoy hearing the incredible stories of other women.
We often get preoccupied here in America with vaginal birth versus c-section, hospital birth versus home birth, epidural versus no epidural. And we, sadly, attack other women for their choices — especially if they differ from our own. But one thing most of us take for granted is that we even have a choice in how we birth our babies. Sure, emergency situations arise that can change the choices we make — but the fact that there is a choice in how we give birth is something not all women around the world have.
When I came across this incredible story on The Telegraph about unique birth stories, I knew it was something to share. It is beautiful (and even tragic), and it’s important to step out of our own experiences and see how other women around the world give birth to their babies. Here are five of those stories. Be sure to read the original article to see all of these fascinating stories.
Aderet Shatz, Israel: “My husband is in the army, so he had to get a driver to take him to the hospital when I went into labour. Within 20 minutes of him arriving, I was dilated and there was no time for an epidural. As we are practicing Orthodox Jews, my husband can’t touch me from the birth until I stop bleeding — which can be weeks. Until then, we have separate beds.”
Jean, Democratic Republic of Congo: “My husband is a diamond digger and went away to find work he doesn’t know of his child’s birth yet. I wasn’t able to save money for Lorette’s delivery [a delivery at Cijiba Referral Health Centre, where Lorette was born, costs 7,000 Congolese francs]. I must stay here until the bill is paid. My husband is due to return to our village soon I’m hoping when he does that he will bring back some money and come and get us.”
Yoko Inoue, Japan: “When I went into labour, my husband drove me to The Sun Clinic, five minutes from our home. Here, hospitals are for complicated pregnancies, and we tend to give birth at clinics, which are almost completely government-funded. They are small and comfortable — like staying in a hotel. My son slept on a couch in the labour room throughout it all. My husband is American I don’t know any Japanese men who would be at their child’s birth. Mothers stay at the clinics for five days after birth, to heal and bond. I was taught how to breastfeed and bathe my baby. On the last day my hair was washed and styled. When I got home I felt restored and calm.”
Olga Lapshina, Moscow: “In Russia, no one who can afford it would choose to have their baby in a state-run hospital. I went to the private Lapino Hospital. It’s like a hotel total luxury. Like many Russian women, I wasn’t interested in a natural birth. I had a caesarean with my first baby and wanted the same doctor, Boris Konoplev, for my second. He’s like a celebrity in Moscow a magician, so talented. It was only excitement I felt going in to the operation. My husband watched through a window. Russian men never attend births in most state-run hospitals it’s not even allowed. We believe men are not ready for such things.”
Jenneh, Liberia: “When I found out I was pregnant I was happy, but not when I thought about giving birth. The day before my son was born I woke up with labour pains. I walked one and a half hours to the clinic in Tenegar, but there was no one there because it was the weekend, so I walked home. I had to stop by the side of the road because the pain was too much and I was scared. A traditional midwife was found and I gave birth lying on the ground. I had lost a lot of blood and couldn’t focus my eyes.”