THE MOTHER OF ALL RALLIES
Homebirth Rally 7 September 2009, Canberra ACT
Recently, on a very cold, wet and dull Canberra day, my close friend, her four year old daughter and myself joined more than 2000 others to protest against federal government plans that would see homebirthing effectively made illegal.
Our participation began listening to Fluer Magick, an Indigenous woman, perform a special welcome ceremony at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, in front of Old Parliament House. Despite the weather the mood was determined and jubilant amongst the crowd. It was amazing to be part of this energy.
We then marched up the hill to the lawns of new Parliament House, and gathered – under a sea of umbrellas – to listen to a range of speakers. There were many speakers including Homebirth Australia Secretary Justine Caines, Family First senator Steve Fielding, Greens senator Rachel Siewart, Liberals Sophie Mirabella, Ian MacFarlane, Andrew Laming and Gary Humpries – all spoke in support of allowing women the right to choose homebirth. It was wonderful to hear Sarah Buckley MD, a GP and mother of four – all homebirths speak. Sarah is the author of “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” a leading book on homebirth and calm mothering.
At times it was hard to hear over the excited chatter of friends spotting friends, children sharing their own forms of protest, and the rain… but it was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by so many people willing to ignore their discomfort to stand up for what they believed in. The crowd was made up of all ages, stages and makes of people. Babies slept soundly in slings, prams or at their mothers breasts, children ran around and dodged the rain, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, friends and future parents stood firmly – for several hours – to make themselves heard, and support the leaders of the homebirth movement.
It was incredible to feel the warmth and hope amongst the crowd on such a bleak day. Although homebirth was not a path that I took – I consider it for my second birth until I knew I was having twins – it is a choice that I had, and would like my daughters, nieces, sisters, friends and all of the future mothers to have. For me it was as much about protecting my right to choose, and preserving that right for future generations.
If you are interested in the progress of the protest, and homebirthing www.homebirthaustralia.org has up to date information.
If there is something that you are passionate about, or you are simply wanting to protect your right to choose, I would encourage you to stay in touch and informed – I am very proud that we pulled on our waterproof boots and braved to the weather to stand up and be counted. What moves you???