It is not unusual for women to be naked while giving birth. In fact, it’s kind of a requirement.
However, there’s getting (mostly) naked to give birth at the hospital or at home, then there’s getting naked AND giving birth in a freshwater stream in the forest.
Meet Simone Thurber. At 39, while pregnant with her fourth child, she decided she wanted to experience birth au naturale. Her previous births were home births. Plus, she’s a doula—so she knew what to expect.
Thurber told The Sun she decided to film the birth and put it up on YouTube for everyone to enjoy. She says she did it to show others how “magical the experience could be.”
Thurber says she’s not a “hippy, drippy mom,” adding she’s always wanted to have a child out in the open, and that women have been giving birth that way for centuries.
When she found out she was pregnant with her fourth, she told her then-partner, Nick, she wanted to do the whole natural-thing. He agreed and they set out looking for the perfect space.
They were living in Melbourne, Australia at the time and immediately nixed the idea of a beach birth since it wasn’t private enough and it was infested with jellyfish—the stinging kind.
A friend offered up his house which was about an hour outside of a rainforest. Thurber says she figured if they didn’t get to the woods in time, she would have squatted in an ordinary birthing pool instead. About two weeks before her due date, Thurber and her family began to do some location scouting and decided on a creek.
Interestingly, her three other daughters—now aged 18, 16 and 6—say they all wished they had been born in the same creek.
Thurber went into labor around 9 p.m. one night, and it was decided it was too dark to trek to the creek, so a tin tub filled with water would just have to do. However, when she was still having contractions the next morning, the family packed up and headed into the woods.
After two hours of squatting naked in the stream, baby daughter Perouze plopped into the world. Thurber immediately began breastfeeding.
Two hours later, Thurber delivered the placenta then buried most of it, but saved a bit of it to add to a smoothie later for a tasty treat.
Now, about that video.
When Perouze turned 1 year old, Thurber decided to upload it to YouTube. She says she never thought she’d get as many views as it had—more than 52.5 million as of July 14, 2016.
“After 50 people watched it I thought OMG my friends have seen me really naked, after 500 I was shocked, and now 52 million people have viewed it,” she said.
Sadly, Nick has since passed away from cancer and Thurber has remarried and currently lives in Park City, Utah. All of her daughters have seen the video—including the star of the show, 4-year old Perouze. It has even inspired a television show, although Thurber isn’t involved with it.
After all of this, does Thurber recommended giving birth in the wild? Nope. She recommends using a doula or a midwife instead, somewhere other than the forest.