I’ve been a little slow keeping up on posts recently because my husband and I had the opportunity to complete a coast to coast cross-country road trip these past few weeks. It was amazing to see so much of our large country- from the Appalachians to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Atlantic to Pacific, Badlands, Rewoods, Yellowstone, Great Basin, St. Louis… there’s far too much to name here!
In our time away, I didn’t keep up on all the latest birth stories. However, that doesn’t mean that I was completely without birthy fuel the entire time! Here are a few of the ways I kept up with birth and babies, despite all the long hours in the car.
- The further west we went, the more public breastfeeding we saw, and the less gawking eyes. This was refreshing and encouraging to me.
- We saw breastfeeding activism alive and well! In both Kansas and California we saw several billboards advocating for breastfeeding and advertising free support and information.
- In a consignment shop in California, there was a whole bin of used cloth diapers for sale. A whole bin! I can’t find them in a single store around my house! (And they were quite reasonable too- $5/cover, etc.)
- We noticed that circumcision rates went down the further west we went. If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I am not as heated about the circumcision debate as some are, and I cast no judgement on parents who choose to circumcise. However, it was nice to suddenly not be the only one with with an uncircumcised baby.
- I had the privilege of talking birth with several women we stayed with. I always love hearing individual birth stories, and also getting to explore how different maternity care is in different locations. One woman from Vancouver explained that she got to choose a midwife who stayed with her whether she had a home or hospital birth, and if she had to transfer to OB care that midwife then became her doula. She could also decide at any point where she wanted to deliver. Midwives in her area were all non-nurse midwives, but their training was standardized and they all had hospital rights. Where are the American hospitals that encourage teamwork between “lay” midwives and OBs, I wonder? (Sigh…)
- Women talked about hospital water birth, freedom of positioning in pushing, and being encouraged to try natural birth, to name a few topics. In my local hospital, supoprt for these choices is very difficult to come by. It was nice to hear that in some places women are being offerered some options.
- Two of the women I talked with were VBAC mamas who were given fair chances to labor on their own. That’salwaysexciting to me!
This cross country trip gave me a chance to see trends in babies and birth that are quite different from that of my own area. How about you? What is birth like in your city? Are options available to you, or do you have to search far and wide to get the birth and mothering resources and support that you want? Thanks for sharing!