Ever since I saw this hilarious video of Genevieve Howland, aka Mama Natural, “hulk out” on a processed foods scientist, I knew she and I were sisters on similar missions.
So when I became pregnant last year, one of my first steps was to sign up for Genevieve’s free pregnancy week-by-week series from a natural perspective. I loved the series so much I signed up for her awesome online birth classes.
With humor and grace, evidence and affirmation, Genevieve is helping change the culture of childbirth in our country.
Now Genevieve is taking her mission to the next level with a beautiful new book that is out this week, The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth. She was kind enough to share an excerpt from the book below. ❤️❤️❤️
Just as the food industry went off the rails a few generations ago, I believe the birth industry has as well.Making babies is still pretty standard stuff. Sperm meets egg. Sperm fertilizes egg. Mama uses a due date calculator. Mama feels nauseated, exhausted, and increasingly huge for nine long months.The question of how best to nurture the developing child in the womb, though, and—especially—how best to bring that baby into the world, is where the debate rages. There are a lot of competing voices out there. There’s a lot of righteousness and finger pointing.
So, what’s everybody yelling about?
Birth used to be an ordinary, natural process.
Until the advent of modern medicine, babies were typically born at home, and mamas-to-be were attended to almost exclusively by women—either female relatives or, in most cases (even as far back as antiquity), hired midwives.
By the mid- to late 1800s, however, a kind of turf war broke out.
Midwifery became associated with old-world folk medicine, whereas newly licensed physicians—exclusively men, many of whom had never even seen a live birth—began to advertise their more “modern” and “sophisticated” techniques.
A few decades later, an American obstetrician by the name of Joseph DeLee called for a ban on the use of midwives altogether—he referred to them as “evil” and “barbaric.”
DeLee also put forth a bold new notion: that pregnancy, rather than a natural process, was “pathogenic” in nature. In other words, pregnancy was like a sickness or a disease, and he thought it was best treated as such.
By the 1930s, hospital birth had replaced home birth as the norm. And things continued that way, with midwife-attended birth declining year after year after year….