Making a Difference- at SuperCuts

The silver lining to an otherwise gloomy day came to me at a SuperCuts. I know, I’m as surprised as you are about that one. I don’t dare get my hair cut in any mass chain cuttery with the actual name “Cut” in it, but I will take my son there to get a “3” in the back and a “5” on top.

The young lady who was cutting my son’s hair was beautiful, youthful, and personable.  She immediately thought to ask if she could offer the reward of a “l-o-l-l-i” which I appreciated.  Generally, I decline but since she secretly asked and my son needed some coaxing I reluctantly agreed.

With the promise of a lollipop, color of his choice, and an iPhone in hand to keep him still for the 10 minute clipper session, my son was ready for a trim.

The stylist and I, I’ll call her Beth, started talking.  I commented at how great she was with my son.  She went on to tell me how she came from a family with 5 brothers and sisters.  She then told me that I reminded her of her own mother; young, with a child strapped to my person (I wore Everett in the Ergo on front and walked Fletcher in), and seemingly had it all together.

Then she asked my age, to which I responded “26.”

“How old were you when you had your first baby?”

“I was 23.”

She told me that is the age she wants to start her family, and she is just shy of 23.

Because she noticed my carrier she actually asked if I used cloth diapers. When the subject of cloth diapers comes up in real life I have to gauge the other person’s interest level.  Do I bombard them with information and tell them what I do for work?  Or do I just state that I do indeed use cloth diapers?

Since she seemed really interested I went with the first option.  She asked about my favorite brands, and a few questions related to reviewing diapers for a living.  Then we got to the good stuff: Homebirth.

The topic arose organically, we went from cloth diapers, to breastfeeding to homebirth.  To my surprise, she was interested in pursuing a homebirth.  She is still a little naive about it though, considering when I told her about my son being born at home she asked “Without any pain meds?!” in a surprised voice.

Maybe I am stereotyping, but never in a million years would I have pegged this young lady for a potential homebirther. Then again, I don’t consider myself in the “homebirth image” if there was such a thing.  To the general public I assume a homebirther would have hairy legs, wear birkies, have a head scarf, and live in a Yurt.  See the SNL Skit:

Beth was stylish, well accessorized, tan, an unnatural blonde, and so young!

I immediately told Beth that she should watch Business of Being Born, the documentary on the state of our Maternal Healthcare System in the US by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein.

Get this: she has already seen it!  And that video is what inspired her to consider homebirth.

“I already know how doctors are in a rush to get things done and I see how that could mess things up.” she said.

I almost leapt out of my shoes!  A young woman, not yet pregnant, has already seen The Business of Being Born and it impacted her enough to think critically about her future birth.

I gave her a brief description of how easy and amazing my own homebirth (Everett- 10-20-2010) was compared to my first son’s birth.  Then I told her she had to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.  The film and  the book are the things I suggest to anyone thinking of giving birth at home.

Business of Being Born really shows you WHY so many women end up having C-Sections and unplanned interventions. It fit my first birth to a T.  Uncessecary Induction—>Constant Fetal Monitoring—–>Laboring in the Bed—–>Stronger Than Normal Contractions from Pitocin—->Epidural—–>Total loss of control and misery——->Crummy Birth Experience.    I got a healthy baby out of it (although I believe he was induced too early- more on what my overdue baby taught me about my first induction) and I love my son, but it shouldn’t have been that way.  I should have advocated for myself.  I believed, as most people do, that the doctor and hospital staff had my best interest at heart.  Maybe, but only if it fit into their schedule and their ideals of when a baby should appear.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is my Bible for natural childbirth. One doesn’t have to have a homebirth to benefit from the lessons inside.  No truer words have ever been spoken about any topic than when Ina May eloquently explains “Sphincter Law.”  Ever try to shit with someone watching you?  Didn’t work out so well?  Try the same effort (pushing) with 5 unfamiliar faces watching your crotch under a harsh light.  Or, conversely, try having a BM in your own peaceful bathroom, alone, in normal conditions.  Doesn’t giving birth on your turf, in your home, make sense?  I’ve already professed my love for this book, you can read more if you want.

I’d like to think my chance encounter with Beth, and my positive homebirth experience, has only solidified her desire to look further into homebirth (and cloth diapers!).  Even though she is only 4 years younger than me, she is in the next group of women in line to give birth.  As with all things, the ripple effect of her deciding to homebirth will reach others.  Her friends, her family, her own children.

I was one of  the lucky ones. My labor resulted in a vaginal delivery.  For that I am so grateful.  This isn’t always the case, clearly, because the C-Section rate in the US is 32.9%. {The Unneccesarean}

I want the Beths of the world to know the facts.  Understand their rights, not just as a woman, but as a person.

Even if Beth decides to give birth at a hospital, with an OB or Midwife, she should ask questions. “Why do you say I HAVE to have the baby by 39 weeks?  Why do I need this test?  Do I have to have a cervical dilation check?  Can I walk around during labor?”  Not every OB is bad, and not every Midwife is good.  A woman can have a good birth experience at a birth center, even a hospital, if she asks the right questions and finds the right care provider.  More importantly, her partner has to advocate for her against any outside pressures.

My mistake was the same one that every other mother makes.  I trusted a broken system.

I want to run into a million more Beths and talk about homebirth and cloth diapers and breastfeeding.  Not in a pushy way, or a “holier than though” way, but just a way.  They say knowledge is power right?  Since schools and universities don’t teach “How to Have a Baby 101” the conversation is up to those of us who know.  Unfortunately for many of us, we learned the hard way.

So next time a subject you are passionate about presents itself in a SuperCuts, go for it.  You may just make a huge difference in someone’s life, or look like a crazy.  Take that risk, option B won’t kill you if it happens.

How many people have you had the chance to chat with about your chosen passion subject(s)?  Do you think you made an impact?  How do you handle not coming off as a zealot while hoping to make a difference/ educate?

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  • Kate

    Hah. A couple weeks ago I went to get my haircut. It’d been quite a while since I had it cut last. So long in fact that I recognized the woman who was cutting my hair and pointed out that she’d been about ready to burst, she was so pregnant the last time I’d been in there. Her then unborn baby is now something like 15 months old to show you how long it’s been (hangs head in shame). 

    The last time she cut my hair I vaguely recall discussing childbirth with her, though I don’t remember the details now. This time the subject of potty training came up and I mentioned that I was cloth diapering my son. She seemed generally interested, admitting she didn’t realize people still “did that”. I kinda just mentioned quickly my experience with it because I didn’t wan t to bore her in case she was just being polite in talking about it. 

    I really never go too into the details of cloth diapers unless people seem like they really are interested in the logistics of them. And I really am not about, as you said, acting holier than though when it comes to cloth diapering either. It’s a personal preference for me. When it comes to talking about cloth diapers, I just like to spread some insight into modern cloth diapers where I think it could be useful. Especially when there are enough people out there who just don’t know there are modern CD options to be considered. 

  • Amy

    Wow didn’t know you were only 26 – not that you look old Kym. I’m only 26 too with 2 children who are 4 and 1. I wanted a home birth but couldn’t due to complications – and the fact that my husband was dead against it. I love my cloth too 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Hubbies can be hard to convince!

      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  • this is fantastic 🙂

  • Novice Mama

    I love this – I think you just described my pregnancy. 

    I watched “The business of being born”, then hired a midwife for a planned home birth.  I read just about everything Ina May has written, and I became quite educated on the whole birthing process – home vs hospital, drugs vs natural, etc.  

    I was really disappointed when at 39 weeks, my midwives were concerned about my blood pressure and sent me to the hospital for lab work.  I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and induced that day.  I was so disappointed, but I still birthed my son with no pain meds and with the helpful guidance of one of my midwives (who essentially had to be my doula since she wasn’t a hospital employee).  It wasn’t the birth I wanted, but I got it as close as I could.  Although, man, did I wish I was in my birthing tub when I hit transition. Maybe next time… 

    Oh, btw, I had never seen the SNL skit before.  LOL, thanks for including it!  

  • Vivi101090

    Its funny that you say you didn’t peg her as a homebirther and that you were surprised that she had seen the business of being born….I too saw it before getting pregnant with my second with my classmates in our biopsych of birth class non of whom had children yet. I don’t think I fit the homebirth type either. I’m a 21 year old college student and just had my first home water birth a few weeks ago (1st DD was hospital). I nursed my first for two years starting when I was 17 years old and plan on breastfeeding this baby just as long. I’m a cloth diapering co sleeping mom and I think that always surprises people who think I’m too young to have kids. I’ve been fortune to have a good education and positive role models including the professor who teaches the birth class at my school. Her goal in planning the class was to educate young women about all their choices and provide them with the research to back up these choices before they are ever pregnant and make birth a natural and normal thing again in our society. I think its great to spread the word and break down those stereotypes 🙂