“I believe with all my heart that women’s birth noises are often the seat of their power. It’s like a primal birth song, meeting the pain with sound, singing their babies forth. I’ve had my eardrums roared out on occasions, but I love it. Every time. Never let anyone tell you not to make noise in labor. Roar your babies out, Mamas. Roar.” –Louisa Wales
When I shared the above quote on the CfM Facebook page, it had the honor of being the most “liked” quote I’ve ever posted. Women responded powerfully with their own stories—with experiences of how they “roared” and experiences of being silenced. (The classic, “Don’t scare the other patients!”)
I gave birth to my first in a birth center and while the staff there were wonderful and kind, I still felt noise-inhibited and was pretty quiet, except for humming to myself and talking somewhat during pushing (saying things like, “how come some people say pushing feels good?!”). My second son was born at home and I roared and I LOVED it. There is a lot of power in that and when I read stories where women say, “I didn’t make any noise” the whole time, or “I was so calm people thought I was sleeping,” I feel like I, personally, wouldn’t have wanted to miss out of the sense of personal power that came with using my voice. The raw intensity of just doing what felt right, with NO inhibitions about what other other people are thinking or feeling. I have written another post about the association between “coping well” and “silence” in some people’s minds. If a woman WANTS to be silent during labor and that feels powerful to her, then obviously, I think that is great, but often when I hear “quiet and calm” stories I feel a little sad because I suspect perhaps she was in an environment where she didn’t feel safe enough to use her voice.
I am talker in real life and it makes a lot more sense to me that I would be noisy in labor rather than silent. I talked to/coached myself through the whole thing. My third labor I also talked myself through the whole thing—out loud, repeating certain things over and over, etc. What I do NOT like during labor is having anyone else talk to me—that was my number one item on my birth plan with my second baby, “no extraneous talking or noise.” I can talk, but no one else!