During 2021 the Gender Museum Ukraine held three online #BirthCafe in Zoom where women shared problems, troubles and insights of their unique birth experience.
The first Birth Café held in March was devoted to birth experiences in different times: from the Soviet Union times to modern ones. Women compared atmosphere and obstacles faced by women in labour at maternity hospitals in different periods and discussed benefits of labour companionship.
The next Birth Café held in May was dedicated to interaction of mothers with medical staff during delivery. Women shared positive and negative moments. The most impressive story was talked by a mother who has 14 children.
The third Birth Café took place on November 10, 2021. It was devoted to superstitions and prejudices which accompany women during pregnancy, delivery and in postpartum period. Women of different age shared a long list of restrictions for pregnant women, among them prohibition on the following actions: to cut or colour women’s hair, to knit, to buy goods and cloth for a baby before delivery, to meet a woman on a way to maternity house etc. Participants agreed that superstitions and prejudices were tools of social control on women and provoked fears and psychological instability.
Ukrainian participants of Birth Café noted helpfulness of the Birth Café format for women to make their experience visible and audible. “I gave birth many years ago, I almost forgot about it, but during the Birth Café I felt the importance of that act,” – one of the attendees stressed.
The Birth Cafés planned in the framework of international project “Birth Cultures: Journey through European History and Traditions around Birth and Maternity” were over but women are waiting for new off-line Birth Cafés.