Simone Thurber brings a new meaning to the term "natural childbirth." The mother of four gave birth to her youngest child, Perouze, in a truly organic fashion—no pain relief, no doctors, no hospital...just a woman, a stream and the miracle of life.
Thurber, who is also a doula, shared a video of the event on YouTube. In it, she finds a beautiful spot in the Australian Daintree Rainforest, squats down for a while, delivers her baby and holds her child close—all within under 25 minutes.
Note: This video contains graphic content.
"This video is of my fourth birth," she wrote in the caption field of the video, which was posted in 2013. "It was the singular most transforming event of my life and my most conscious act as a woman to date." The video has been viewed over 76 million times. It's not new, but the clip—and Thurber's story—have earned her lots of attention in the past few years...but that wasn't her intention.
“I didn’t put the video online to make a statement," she said, according to the New York Post. "I simply thought a few people would be interested in what it would be like to give birth in nature, and to inspire women that if they wanted to, they could have a child outside a hospital. I never expected the massive interest."
“I am not a hippy drippy mom, but I wanted my fourth child to be born away from beeping machines and a hospital environment," she said. “Let’s face it, women have been giving birth in the wild for thousands of years, but the thought of a modern women squatting in a creek and giving birth horrified many people even before I gave birth and shared the video.”
Though she lives in Park City, Utah, now, Thurber credits her upbringing for her birthing idea. "My parents had been missionaries in Papua New Guinea," she revealed. “I remember mom often telling us when a local lady had her baby and how at the time when she was due to give birth she simply found a nice spot, pushed out the baby, breastfed it, and wrapped it in a carrier cloth, tied the child to her back and went about her business. That stuck with me and is one of the reasons I wanted to give birth to [my fourth child], Perouze, in the wild.”
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When she found out she was pregnant for the fourth time, she and her then-husband (who has since passed away), Nick, decided to go through with delivering in the wild. Thurber went into labor at 11 p.m., and since it was dark outside, she thought her dream of having the baby outdoors wouldn't happen....but she still hadn't delivered the next morning.
So, when the sun came up, Thurber headed outside with Nick and their children. “Nick was filming and he gave the camera to our friend [when it was time for the baby to come out]," Thurber recalled. "He gave her head and shoulders a nudge and she came out...I immediately grabbed her and put her on my chest. The sun was shining, we were in a creek and we had a new baby."
While Thurber has no regrets about her experience, it's important to remember that she is a doula and that this plan isn't recommended for everyone. “There was no doctor there and if something had gone wrong, it would have been very difficult to get to a hospital,” Thurber admited. “However, as a doula, I knew the baby’s head was engaged and my body was telling me I had made the correct decision."
Thurber has a Facebook page where she shares intel and opinions about birthing in nature, something she firmly believes in.
“Even now when I show Perouze the video or a friend or just watch it myself I am amazed," she said.