I’ll never forget my experiences as a young girl going with my mother and older sisters to work for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. My mother worked in banking, and I was amazed to see how many responsibilities she had. My time spent with her at work, while definitely detracting me from wanting to work in the corporate world, helped me see my mother in an entirely new light. She was no longer simply the woman who made sweets on weekends and enjoyed her episodes of “Murder She Wrote,” and British dramas on PBS. I learned to see my mother as someone other people depended heavily upon.
Although I don’t (yet) have children, I’ve brought my nieces and a mentee to work with me so they could witness the life of a teacher from the other side of their report cards. I’ve never thought, though, what it would be like to bring a young girl with me to a birth or to sit in on a childbirth education class.
We may not all see ourselves as activists, or “radical doulas,” but the work we do is definitely political. We help women find and use their voices. We help them act from a place of empowerment instead of repression. We hold space for them so they feel safe during some of the most precious moments of their lives. We provide information and education so women are making the most informed decisions they can during pregnancy, childbirth and ultimately in the rearing of their children. Yes, we fight the good fight for women to birth as they wish.
The moment I realized that I needed to be a birth worker, I briefly lamented not having been exposed to the beauty of birth as a girl. Surely, I thought, I would have become a midwife or OB/GYN. Bringing our daughters to births may not seduce them into doing the work that we do, but just imagine how difficult it will be for anyone to say, “No,” to a girl who has seen birth up close and personal, and watched her mother make it happen.
Have you brought your daughter to birth? Did you attend a birth at a young age? What impressions where you left with?