My name is Carla Sargent. I am a home birth mother of three, midwife, secondary school teacher and soon-to-be self-published author/editor of a book on home birth in New Zealand.
I have been fascinated by pregnancy and birth for as long as I can remember. So, when I left school I followed my dream and became a midwife. Although the birth of my first baby put an end to my midwifery practice (midwifery and early motherhood were not particularly compatible), I have remained passionate, informed and involved about birthing matters. I am driven to help others to experience empowering and gentle births, including advocating for and supporting women's rights in retaining their autonomy around their bodies, their births and their nurturing parenting practices.
Where I've felt able I have been involved in our local home birth group (the Waikato Home Birth Association). I spent three years hosting home birth coffee groups and I wrote a series of breastfeeding articles for the magazine we produced. It is exciting to have recently renewed my involvement in this important organisation and I look forward to being a part of the new 'management team' who want to do our best to spread the word about the safety, beauty and power of home birth, and to support those in the community that wish to investigate home birth as an option for them and their families.
Much of my energy over the past five years has been spent working on a project that I've dreamed of accomplishing since Laura's birth almost 13 years ago... I've been compiling, editing, and writing for a book of New Zealand home birth stories. The book is called Where the Heart Is. Its inspirational stories and images are divided into five chapters: Home Birth From the Start; Healing Birth; Facing the Unexpected; Birth and Death; and Maori Birth. I'm so excited that the book has almost reached completion; it's going to be awesome!
But my biggest source of pride is my gorgeous family. The best times in life are spent hanging out with Laura (12), Luca (4), Jonah (3) and Mark. I am a very fortunate woman.
About Birth Rite
Birth Rite has developed as a means of sharing ideas and information with others about important issues related to birth, breastfeeding and parenting. Becoming a mother is a sacred rite of passage. Women deserve to give birth in ways that acknowledge what a profoundly special and honourable process this life-transition is. Likewise, being born is a sacred rite of passage. Babies deserve a gentle, loving journey from womb-life into the arms of its mother. When the process of birth is treated with the respect it requires, the birth of a baby, and the subsequent birth of a mother, become life's most celebratory and spiritual occasions. The importance of how we are born and how we give birth are hugely significant.
In order for mothers and babies to experience the birth they deserve, women need to arm themselves with good information and support. The medicalisation of childbirth has lead to widespread fear of what is one of life's most natural processes. Women have lost trust in their ability to give birth and have, instead, put their faith in 'the birth machine'. The Western world is condoning, promoting even, the extensive use of medical technologies and interventions, intrusions to the natural birth process that are rarely necessary and which frequently do more harm than good. Birth Rite aims to support women in reclaiming their autonomy and trust in the birth process.
Through the sharing of experiences, stories and ideas, it is hoped that Birth Rite will develop into a community of support for new mums and families who believe in gentle birthing and parenting practices. It is my hope that readers will comment on blog posts, sharing their own stories and ideas, and will ask for support and advice to overcome any hurdles they are faced with. I am really excited to see where this project leads its 'sisterhood' in our lives as women and mothers.