on birth videos

twice in the last week this question has come up.  why on earth would anyone post their birth video on Youtube?  well.

years before my children were born, i got the chance to be a part of the births of my friend Jess.  i got to see her belly grow, i got to help do a work trade for her birth pool, i got to see her work through early labor, i got to hold her child’s hand as she birthed his little sister.  it was such an honor to be with her and her family.  but more, it was a blessing.  it let me witness a woman laboring, doing the work of giving birth.  it let me imagine myself in her place.  seeing Jess birth at home made me sure that that’s where i wanted my babies born too.

Ina May Gaskin says that only .5% of babies in the U.S. are born at home.  most women don’t get to see their friends or their sisters giving birth.  but that doesn’t mean we don’t need that knowledge and depth of experience.  anytime you stand at the beginning of a new thing, it helps to know that others have been where you are.  that others have tried to do what you are doing.  that others have even had a measure of success and joy in the midst of the experience.

i also happen to love watching birth videos!  my favorite slideshow was a family in England playing Scrabble in between contractions.  although i can’t really imagine enjoying Scrabble at any time, especially between contractions, the pictures showed a warmth and care that was really amazing.  sadly, it’s not available online any more.  while Mabel was in the belly, i loved reading Journey Into Motherhood, an excellent collection of all kinds of positive birth stories.  here’s my favorite slideshow on Youtube.  and of course, our girl’s birth…


  1. While I have absolutely no desire to share videos of my kids’ births with anyone, being able to watch other women’s videos was a great education for me in what “real” childbirth is like…with my 2nd, when I was a “bit” louder than all the women with epidurals on my floor, and a nurse told me to pipe down, I was able to not feel intimidated, because I had seen videos of dozens of other women, and knew that pretty much no one is silent while pushing out a big baby! (my midwife told her to hush-up herself and leave, btw, and then told me she screamed her head off during pushing. loved loved loved my midwife.)

    I couldn’t agree more – in our culture, where so few women see their mother, sisters, friends giving birth, it is crucial for women to see what real, normal, unmedicated birth is like, so that they know what to expect, what to look forward to…

  2. After seeing this wonderful video many times, I still start crying with the first note of the song and cry all the way through. I think of how brave and strong and beautiful you are, Kortney. How supportive and creative and loving you are Andy. And how unique and lovely you are Mabel. I can’t wait to see the next one.

  3. Angela–i had the feeling that i was a “bit” loud while pushing out Nicolas…our midwife said that it often sounds louder to the woman laboring. tell that to our neighbors in the 400 sq ft duplex where M was born!

    mama–now M sings along with Bruce. it breaks my heart, it’s so beautiful.

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