Typically, when we think about a survival situation, like TEOTWAWKI or SHTF, our minds race to food storage, defense, clean water, growing gardens, and raising livestock; often times, we forget other necessities, like good medical care and childbirth. According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it.
If you are a Bible-believing person of faith, you might also remember the verse in Matthew where Yeshua (Jesus) was speaking of the end of days and his second coming.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.… let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:” – Matthew 24:7-8,17-20
Important We Prepare for Mothers and Children
If Yeshua openly foretold of these mothers, it seems mighty important that we prepare for them and their children. Unfortunately, almost everything that we have ever been told about childbirth comes from dramatic television shows and movies, designed to play on our emotions based on this sudden “emergent” event. But what if I told you birth doesn’t look anything like this in real life? How could I best prepare you for a true, med-free delivery in a survival situation, that would help you feel confident if the situation arose?
It is not my intention to teach you how to deliver a baby. I am not a doctor and I have no authority on the subject. I would implore you to seek advice from a licensed birth professional, or if you trust the Internet, there are plenty of youtube videos and websites that give great detail on how to deliver a baby. My intention, instead, is to show you that birth is not just about wearing gloves, removing a nuchal cord, or placenta delivery. These take moments, while labor takes hours and sometimes days. I encourage you to prepare for those long laborious hours as well.
Importance of the Mother’s Psyche
As a certified Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Postpartum Placenta Specialist, and Beravement Doula, I recognize the importance of the mother’s psyche when it comes to childbirth. More and more women are diagnosed every day with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Postpartum Depression that was triggered by their traumatic birthing experience. The saying, “As long as the baby is healthy…” is very much outdated and, honestly, incredibly damaging to the mother. I would like to propose that birth in a survival situation is more about the emotional health of the mother than the physical act of giving birth. I have heard it said many times by many midwives, “Normal physiological birth is as simple as not letting the baby hit the floor.” I promise, you can catch a baby, but getting the birthing mother to the pushing phase is another story all together.
The Birth Psyche
I am not a physician nor a scientist, so I will be sourcing facts from which I, and many others in the birth community, have found laden in truth, as well as from my own experiences as a servant in the birth room. Before Hypnobabies, the peanut ball, pitocin, obstetricians, and hospitals, women birthed their babies at home, in the woods, or on their farms and ranches. Sometimes there was a doctor or midwife who attended the birth, sometimes not. But almost every woman knew she would be deeply changed afterwards, and hopefully whoever attended her birth would gently usher her into motherhood.
Ina May Gaskin
Ina May Gaskin is one such midwife who helped pioneer the revival of med-free births in North America. She has written several books and is highly respected among birth professionals. In order to obtain a safe and natural birth in a crisis situation, I find it best to take our cues from the Natural Birth professionals.
In Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Gaskin coined the term “Sphincter Law”. The Sphincter Law states, “[L]abors that don’t result in a normal birth after a ‘reasonable’ amount of time are often slowed or stalled because of lack of privacy, fear, and stimulation of the wrong part of the laboring woman’s brain.”
Basically, the body has many sphincters, including excretory, vaginal, esophageal, and cervical. These sphincters can dilate or contract based on the emotional state of the person. For example, when someone walks in on you in the loo, they startle you, your veins flood with adrenalin, and they have indirectly stopped your “go”. This “contracting” of your excretory sphincters is your body’s normal reaction to fear, humiliation, regret, or lack of privacy. This is also why our throats tighten before a big speech or presentation, relating to fear.
Sphincter Law Applies to Birthing Woman
The Sphincter Law also applies to the birthing woman. These same emotions of fear or shame can and do stall labor. In a survival situation, I would find it incredibly important to respect the emotional and mental state of the birthing woman. Imagine the fear she might feel in such a situation; the fear of birth itself taunts every young girl and woman as it is. You can picture her in this crisis situation, giving birth to a child she fears for, in a questionably clean environment, all while the “world falls apart” around them all. Preparing the birthing woman emotionally for her birth can drastically change the ease at which the child is delivered.
Example of Sphincter Law in Delivery Scenario
In my first years as a doula, I had an example of the sphincter law at work in a delivery scenario. I worked for a couple who wanted a med-free birth, and they wanted to deliver at a local hospital under the care of an obstetrician. Their labor started on its own. Her body worked through the ebbs and flows of her frequent contractions. We determined it was time to head to the hospital, as her labor had progressed quickly and I believed we were close to delivery.
After settling in at the hospital, her contraction pattern was progressing as normal, until her nurse came in. She made a statement along the lines of, “You don’t get a medal for having a natural birth.” The nurse blatantly opposed my client’s well thought out plans. You can imagine my client’s loss of confidence and new distrust of her care provider. From then on, each time that particular nurse came in to check on my clients, her contractions would significantly space out, nearly stalling labor at some points. We would work for hours getting her patterns back to normal before the nurse would come back. These stall outs left my client labeled as “failure to progress” and she ended up with a cesarean section at 10cm dilated. My client could have been saved from a major surgery had her entire birth team been on board with her decisions.
The nurse’s comment initiated an immediate lack of trust, as well as fear and loss of esteem, which directly impacted the birth psyche and, ultimately, the safety of mother and baby. This is why we must respect the birthing woman and always offer encouragement instead of negativity. This will be especially significant in a survival situation.
Preparing for Birth
While you are preparing your checklists for survival, add a little box that says “Birth Prep”. You can easily and quickly prepare for a natural birth by simply acquiring a few books on natural birth or taking a childbirth education course locally.
Books on Natural Childbirth
I highly recommend Ina May Gaskin’s books, Spiritual Midwifery and her Guide to Childbirth, as well as Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon. However, there are many other books to choose from, based on your group’s preferences. Use these books for quick reference guides during pregnancy and labor.
Tomorrow, we will continue in this section on Preparing for Birth by talking about the birth team, place, and much more.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 76 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 76 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.