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Hindsight is 20/20. We can’t go back in time and do things differently in the whole childbirth conversation since the 1950s, any more than a woman can replay her birth the next day. However, we can face the reality of the past and change the future just as many of us have thought about our next birth.

It’s amazing how many women actually say: ‘If I could do it again, I’d do things differently’.  In fact, many women who have laboured will actually tell you how they would have used skills.

  • I could have relaxed better’
  • I could have used better breathing skills’
  • I won’t have ‘gotten into labour’ so early but done other things until the contractions really got intense’

Imagine if someone, any one or all of us had been told from the 1950s onward how very essential being skilled to birth our babies actually is and always has been. But no one told us. How did that happen?


In reality, a small group of keen birthing women was encouraged to become skilled between the 1950s-70s via Grantly Dick-Read, Lamaze and Bradley Method. But here is where the first, unintended oversight occurred and this has had a huge negative impact through the generations and into our present.

The goals of this very limited skills-based childbirth trend inspired by three dedicated, caring male obstetricians who could see the standardized medicalization of childbirth were:

  • Natural birth
  • Pain-free labour
  • Less medical care

Certainly, some women strived to achieve these goals and a percent did.

Could all pregnant/birthing women strive for these 3 goals?

No. The truth is not all pregnant women want or can achieve these specific goals and that leaves out too many women.

‘If the expected natural birth’ didn’t occur, they were outside the magic circle’.

The Trouble With Women p.44

In hindsight, this truth brings us face-to-face with beliefs. If these three goals aren’t achieved by the broadest group of women then what goals would empower the largest group of birthing women?

These three goals put in place 2 unintended oversights

  1. Skills not connected to all births without exception
  2. Focus on the outcome rather than experience.

These two very real ommissions have had huge unexpected negative impacts on generations of birthing families and birth providers since the 1950s. The Mummy Wars of birth started back then.

  • Medical versus natural
  • Hospital versus home
  • Midwife versus obstetrician

The past could have been different

If you choose to, your participation in this NZ midwife 2-year training adventure can lead to empowerment for the vast majority of birthing mothers.

  • All women can be encouraged to learn skills
  • All women can feel empowered by using skills while she births her baby

Had all women been encouraged to become skilled in the 1950s with a focus on different goals, childbirth would be very different today.

The following generations of all expectant families from the 1950s onward would have just taken it for granted that when pregnant it’s natural and normal to learn birth and birth-coaching skills for use in their baby’s birth.

This project is giving this message to the future mothers and fathers.

Future in the hands of New Zealand midwives

Women will not rise up and lead a Movement For Skills. They don’t know.

‘You can’t know what you don’t know. You can’t know about things you have yet to discover’. 

Jonathan Raymond

Our New Zealand respected autonomous, caring, professional midwives must lead this new societal message that makes common sense and has such positive expansive benefits.

Further reading: 



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