FIRST THOUGHT: Pregnancy 101
When you’re pregnant, you hear plenty of old wives’ tales from friends and neighbors. Carrying high? It’s a girl! Dry skin? It’s a boy! Got mad heartburn? Expect your newborn baby to have a full head of hair. Devouring an ice cream cone a day? Baby must need her calcium. You’ll also realize that when you Google any pregnancy symptom, you will get sucked into a terror-inducing internet-baby-forum spiral. Avoid! Take comfort in the fact that many generations of women before us birthed child after child, all with little to no expertise from those helping out. Today, thankfully, we’ve got a bit more knowledge of how to create life and bring Baby safely into this world.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 332,107
Pregnant mamas have a lot of options for their birth plans these days. But despite their far-reaching presence, midwives are still a bit of a mystery in the United States. However, midwifery is definitely on the rise. Midwives are trained individuals who specialize in assisting women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2014, 332,107 births were attended by certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives, representing more than 8 percent of all U.S. births.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Clemmie Hooper, Author and Midwife
I am seriously girl crushing on today’s Woman to Watch. I don’t use that term lightly, so you know I absolutely mean it. Clemmie Hooper is the reason why I check Instagram so often. She’s a no-nonsense midwife and writer quashing every stale image of midwifery that came before her.
Clemmie and her seriously hilarious DIY-enthusiast hubby have four daughters, including a pair of twins. She’s in her early 30s but has already amassed a global fan base through her poignant and fascinating blog, Gas and Air. A self-proclaimed part-time midwife and full-time mother, Clemmie claims that since the age of 4, she wanted to be a midwife. Since pursuing that career path, this British gal has earned her fair share of on-the-job experience.
She shares those experiences through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum episodes in her aptly titled book, How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out. Clemmie isn’t afraid of things getting messy because, well, that’s precisely what happens when you have a baby. She’s candid, sincere and straight up about essential birthing tips. Mamas won’t get the typical cliched advice like, “Make sure to get a pedicure before labor.” Instead, Clemmie focuses on the real real, y’all, like how to prevent tearing during birth and what you actually need to pack in your labor bag.
Clemmie understands that things in birth don’t always go the way they’re planned. And that’s kind of how her life evolved too. After earning her midwifery degree, she got pregnant at 22. She and the man who would become her husband moved so he could pursue a job, leaving Clemmie to navigate a new community as a young mother. Then came another baby and another and another, and her career as a midwife to the masses took off.
What Clemmie does so well, in addition to the whole helping-women-give-birth thing, is that she depicts motherhood authentically. She shares stories of her dreary and hangry hours-long commute to and from work, her weariness and love for a sick kiddo, and how after having a child, mamas do, in fact, pee accidentally. It’s real talk with a side of humor and some serious knowledge. Clemmie’s hope is that no matter where you are, whatever birth plan you have, you feel empowered and in control of your body and your birth experience.
QUITE THE QUOTE
While birth and motherhood can be full of complications, living your best life doesn’t have to be. One of Clemmie Hooper’s favorite mantras is simply:
“Do more of what makes you happy.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
Head shot by Philipa James.