Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another astounding post from Kneelingwoman

Kneeling woman has written another terrific, thought provoking post, Real Birth at bells; no whistles!
... When I have a mother come to me with a laundry list of needs around her birth--that it be quiet and dark; that no one talk....that she not have to have heart tone checks or be asked any questions or that she be "allowed" to do everything, including a potential resusitation effort on her baby; that she not be transported to the hospital "no matter what" etc. there is something else going on...these are not needs connected to how to give birth; these are needs connected to wanting to be in control ( and in birth; there is no control ) and to maintain an autonomy and independence that is potentially harmful to mother and baby; I can't sign on for that... It takes a careful, nuanced approach to sort through these issues and it doesn't mean that these women shouldn't birth at home. It does mean that they need to be helped to identify the real deficits in their lives and to properly grieve those losses so that they can make choices with real, interior freedom...
On burdening birth with too many expectations:
... I don't think that birth isn't transformational and growth producing; I just don't think it needs to be laden with too many expectations... I am seeing too many young women emotionally "stalled" in their childbearing; being angry and hurt and disappointed--even with home births--because they've heard about a kind of peak experience-- they've heard about "birth bliss" and then, when birth is "just birth" and hard, sweaty and difficult work to boot.....or, complicated, disappointing or tragic; they are devastated over unmet expectations and unable, too much of the time, to do the necessary work of healing ...
On the role of midwives in encouraging anger and disappointment:
... as much as I hate to acknowledge this; the Midwifery community; MY community--doesn't do a good job of helping them. Especially when women have had surgical births or difficult hospital births; we tend to encourage women to put a lot of energy into being very upset and angry about that instead of giving them the tools to heal--what we too often do is start talking about the "next time" and telling women that they can make "different choices" and will then have the longed for "good" birth experience... We hear a lot about women having PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder ) after difficult births but no one talks about what women have to do to heal and there are good, effective and agreed upon approaches to these issues but, much of it involves the very things that we seem to discourage women from doing: thinking about their experiences differently, separating out what happened at a birth with other issues and encouraging resilience and a proactive approach to integrating the experience and growing from it and that doesn't mean just planning a better birth the next time! ...
Be sure to read the whole post. Kneelingwoman, if you are reading, have you considered collecting your essays for publication? They are a unique and powerful contribution to the literature of homebirth advocacy.

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