I so admire Ina May Gaskin. In my view, her’s is a life dedicated to empowering women. I hope that mine is too. I believe that how babies come into the world matters. My own births were far from perfect. Things happen. But the thing that I took away is that every woman should feel as empowered as possible. Mothers should have as much information as possible.
In Laos where we work, women have very little information. If their birth is normal, they are certainly allowed to birth alone because birthing alone (or with the help of family) is the norm. But when warning signs turn up in pregnancy or the birth shows signs of complications, the women we work with have few resources to identify and act on these problems. And so, many women wait to long to seek help or help is too far away regardless. So women die and babies die.
It is our hope that by making a start: training nurses, giving birth kits, we are beginning the process of giving all women in the area of Laos where we work a chance at a safe, empowered birth. There is a long way to go until every mother has a trained nurse or midwife by her side. But I hope that I will see the day when that is possible.