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Let's Talk About this Giraffe Birth

giraffeI often ask parents in my Birthing from Within classes if they’ve ever seen a cat or dog give birth. Perhaps one or two people in the group will report that they have seen a mammal birth. Usually the birth occurred in a small, dark space, like in a closet or under a porch. A place where they can find protection and privacy.

This sense of safety and diminished sensory input allows the brain waves to slow down. The labor hormone oxytocin is secreted in this warm, protected environment, which brings on more and more contractions. Endorphins, the body’s own natural pain relievers, are also conducive to an environment where a mammal, (human or otherwise) can turn inward without worrying about predators or other external pressures.

While I’m not a giraffe doula, I can’t say that I’m shocked that this labor is dragging on for days. This creature has been penned inside a birthing stall with bright light shining in. She is in an unnatural environment with cameras on her. Even if she has no concept of what cameras are, can’t most of us sense intuitively when someone is watching us? I’m sorry to be a downer, but I wish they would turn the cameras off and let this mother enjoy some privacy. Maybe even (gasp!) let her go outside away from monitors and prying eyes.

I think this is a good lesson for all of us to recognize the need for many mothers to have some distance from the outside world during labor. She doesn’t need to be updating others on her progress. Allowing her to honor the natural desire for seclusion can encourage the labor hormones to flow freely and perhaps make her process just a little easier than it otherwise would have been.

I would love it if we could turn off the live feed, light a candle for this mother and baby who are working hard together, and allow them the space they deserve.


Nikki Shaheed CCE(BFW) CD(DONA)…a lady with many unpopular opinions. 😉

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