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Why this midwife never says 'natural birth'

I refuse to tell someone who has just given birth that their experience was anything less than a breathtaking feat of nature.

On my very first day of midwifery school, the director of my program said something that I will never forget. She said, "Above everything else, as a midwife, you are the guardian of safety."

Since then, I have woven the notion of guarding safety into every aspect of my midwifery practice: how I care for clients and their sweet babies, how I make decisions during a birth, how I write about birth.

I have also learned that a significant part of my work as a midwife is guarding how we talk about birth. Because words are deeply powerful—and there are a lot of words we use in medicine, particularly in obstetrics, that are unhelpful at best and harmful at worst: "geriatric pregnancy," "failure to progress," "incompetent cervix" and so many others.

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