Both times I’ve had babies, whether in a hospital in Rochester, NY or on my own bed in western Colorado, my desire for empowered birth experiences for everyone amplified tenfold. Home birth isn’t for everyone – I’ll never tout it as a one-size-fits-all ordeal. But regardless of how a woman’s birth goes, she *still* deserves to feel supported in the days, weeks, months, and years after she has her baby.
Before Iris, I wrongly believed a woman’s fourth trimester experience was explicitly contingent upon how satisfied she felt with her birth. I had a hospital birth as a single mom on Medicaid at 22 years old, and got out of it largely unscathed. My second postpartum however came as a shock: how could I have achieved my absolute dream birth experience of delivering my own baby on my own bed, and still wake up every day afterward wishing I didn’t have to wake up at all?
I can’t change the outcome of anyone else’s birth experience right now, but if Iris’s birth has taught me anything, it is that I don’t want another person to experience the dread I felt after having my second baby if I can help it. I wouldn’t be here if not for the veteran moms who assertively mothered me the way I needed to be mothered after both of my kids’ births. Our great-great-grandmothers didn’t have babies alone. There was no FaceTime. There was the village. There is no village anymore. No new mom should be up on her feet cooking dinner for her family 24 hours after giving birth.
Postpartum suicide is the second leading cause of death for new moms. Think of 5 women you know who have kids. One of them has experienced postpartum depression. And that’s just *on the record*. My goal for 2019 is to connect with moms OFF the web. Face-to-face. In the past, getting women together several times a month was so monumental for me in fulfilling my goal of helping moms feel connected and empowered, and I’ll be pursuing it further in the coming year. In a more intimate way. Because until I stop getting messages like, “I feel so alone, it shouldn’t be this hard,” there is still WORK to be done. Strap in.