"My Greek Grandmother Had Twins": a birth story

Don’t you love it when people tell you stories about how their grandmothers gave birth?

One of my favourite grand mother stories was told to me by a client. My client was a Greek woman who only came to see me because she was “dragged” by her (also pregnant) friend.

This lovely pregnant Greek woman was terrified about having her second baby because she had had a bad forceps pull out with her first born. She wanted me to coach her in the hospital and protect her from interventions. One prenatal visit, she told me the story of her grandmother’s birth, as follows:

“My grandmother was expecting her first child. She lived in a small village in Greece where everyone knew each other and knew everyone else’s business, too. She was overdue and everyone would make remarks to her about “When are you going to have that baby.” She felt so huge, fed up and discouraged, she decided to ride her donkey to the next village to visit her married sister for the day.

Pregnant woman on a Donkey

On the way back home, she realized she was getting stronger and stronger cramping and, she finally had to get down off the donkey and squat down. When she did that, she gave birth to the baby. With the placenta still inside her, she wrapped the baby in her skirts and got back on the donkey to continue on home. She hadn’t gone too much further along the road when the cramping returned and she again got off the donkey, squatted to give birth to the placenta, but, no, it was another baby. . . . she had given birth to twins! The placenta came out shortly after and she wrapped the two babies and the placenta in her skirts, mounted the donkey again and rode into her village a proud mama.”

When I heard this story, I knew that the grand daughter would give birth just fine, too. I said to her “You are from good childbearing stock and all we have to do is keep the medical people away from you.” Her birth was great. We got to the hospital when she was at 9 cms dilated. We went into a nice room where she immediately released her membranes on the floor, squatted down at the end of the bed, doctor came in and caught the baby down on the floor. The legacy was returned to this family. Gloria