I joke in my childbirth classes that “pizzas are delivered; babies are birthed”. While it always gets a chuckle, the roots of this statement run deep.
In our culture we tend to use these words describing the arrival of a baby interchangeably. We treat them as synonyms when, in fact, they are antonyms.
To be delivered is to have something done to you. It is passive. You have no participation in the act except to be the object of the delivery. In terms of birth, to be delivered, is to turn yourself over to the authorities and allow them to do whatever they choose to bring your baby into the world. The care providers call the shots. They lead the way and you follow. For some women, this is exactly what they want. Show up, have a baby, go home. End of story. If that is your informed choice, then I fully support you. But here is the problem…
Giving birth is powerful. It is something that you do. It is active. It is transforming, beautiful, spiritual, and a whole host of other intangible things. It is being the one who makes the choices in pregnancy and in birth. You call the shots. Your care providers empower you to do the work and care for the health and safety of mother and baby as you take the journey. They walk with you, but do not lead the way.
Every arrival of a baby is an opportunity for birth: vaginal birth, cesarean birth, home birth, natural birth, hospital birth… on and on. The focus is not the means of the arrival or even the environment, but the woman who stands at the center of it all.
So my question is this: Do you want a delivery or a birth? And what are you doing today to prepare for it?