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Birth Geeking with the next generation

by Ann Charles on March 22nd, 2013
Kemi and Ann

I’ve had an amazing evening tonight.

I got to meet one of my birthy heroes, and share her knowledge with some young people who are very special to me.

I’ve been a leader with Girlguiding for almost 12 years.

As well as being a fantastic organisation for young women, Girlguiding – through the international umbrella body, WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) – runs activities with international development themes as a focus.

A theme for this year is maternal and child health.  My Guide group has done some activities looking at the different provisions for pregnant women in first and third world countries.  One of our challenges was to speak to a Midwife.

Step forward Kemi, the amazing woman behind Invisible Midwives.  I thoroughly recommend her posts on Facebook.

Being an all round lovely (and brave) person, Kemi kindly agreed to come along to my Guide meeting to have a chat to the 10-14 year olds.

We warned the parents and Guides in advance, as per guiding policy.  Although we did have to reschedule our first planned session, as Kemi had to catch a baby that day (what a wonderful reason)!

Junior Red Tent

What followed was a wonderful chat.  Kemi explained a bit about what she did and how women’s bodies work to get the baby out.  We all had a bit of a giggle the first time someone used the word ‘vagina’.

We moved on to birthing positions.  ‘What would be the worst position in which to give birth?’, we asked.  “Standing on your head,” replied a smart ten year-old.

The girls decided they thought Louis XIV was a bit cruel.  I can’t see any of them being told to lie on their backs so the King could watch them give birth

The older girls worked out that standing up would be a good position for having a baby, as gravity would help you.  We moved onto waterbirth – why wouldn’t the baby drown?  The benefits of delayed cord-clamping and needing to do your own research soon followed.

A ‘real, live pregnant lady’!

We were also honoured to be joined by a Mother of one of the Guides, who handily is pregnant at the moment.  She very kindly allowed Kemi to help some of the Guides feel the baby in her tummy, and Kemi demonstrated how to find the heartbeat.  We all got to hear the difference between the ‘whoosh whoosh’ sound of the placenta and the ‘clip clop’ of the baby’s heartbeat.


To round things off, Kemi showed a video of a waterbirth.  We had a chat about the noises women make in labour, and the difference between effort and pain.  The waterbirth happened to be at home, so this prompted a discussion about homebirth.  Kemi suggested to the girls that wherever they decide to give birth in the future (should they choose to have children), they need to:

“Surround yourself with people that love you.”


Ultimate feminists

As the ‘ultimate feminist’ organisation, I’m proud that we are able to talk to the girls in this way.  There’s something special about being a girl-only space.  We made it very clear that we don’t expect any of the girls to have children – unless they want to!  But I hope that after tonight they will have a few positive images in their mind, should they ever decide to take that step when they are older.  Much older!

It’s OK, next week we plan to make giant towers out of newspaper and eat chocolate until we’re sick.  So it’ll be pretty much back to normal.

Although I am starting to write the syllabus for a ‘Red Tent‘ badge in my head…

Have you ever done birth education with teen/tweenagers?  How did it go?  Please let me know by leaving a comment below!

One Comment
  1. I’m so pleased it went well! Sounds utterly wonderful – what lucky girls! Red tent badge is an awesome idea!

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