While looking through the program of talks at a local ecological living exhibition, I stumbled across this presentation: “France’s first birth centers to open…at last!” (Ouverture des maisons de naissances en France… enfin !). Reading this triggered tears of sadness, and brought back a distant memory of the pre-infertility me and life before infertility.
When we first started trying for a baby back in 2011, France’s highly medicalized history of birthing was a preoccupation of mine and I wanted to be as proactive as possible in finding the best birthing option for me here in France. After reading a blog post entitled “Maternity care in France”, I wrote the following:
“I just read your post entitled “Maternity care in France”. I am an American living in France with my French husband and we are starting to try for a baby. My mother is a Midwife in the States, so I have grown up with the idea of natural child birth (or as my mom calls it when teaching the med students “physiological birth”) and hope to give birth with as little medical intervention as possible. I have to admit I am a bit frightened to give birth in France after hearing the birth stories from friends who have had babies recently. I was wondering if you might be able to ask the American woman you were corresponding with in France who teaches at a Midwifery college if it is okay for me to contact her by email. It would be wonderful to have a little advice on how to find a place here in France where I am comfortable giving birth. Thanks for your help and your blog.”
The American midwife living in France responded: “You are very wise to be thinking about how to organize a peaceful and wonderful birth before even being pregnant! That alone will probably guarantee you a wonderful birth… so I would say you are mostly there.”
Little did I know just how far away I was. As the possibility of giving birth in France in an environment I had hoped to find five years ago becomes a reality, giving birth now seems so far from my reality. I’ve lost so much confidence in my body over our years of infertility. I’m working hard to trust my body for a pregnancy, while trusting it with a physiological birth is far from my preoccupations.
Rereading these emails after five years of trying for a baby and countless infertility treatments is surreal. It is honestly hard for me to remember back to the time before infertility, to a time when my dream of becoming a mother was a question of when, not if. In a way it is reassuring to remember that I wasn’t always in the throes of infertility. And I hope that someday, reading back through these blog posts will also seem surreal, and that I will be reassured to no longer be in the throes of infertility. On some days this hope is clear and carries me, and on others well…sigh.
Maisons de naissance : vers des accouchements moins médicalisés
Maisons de naissance : neuf structures ouvriront bientôt leurs portes