A recent post by Radical Midwife caused me to re-discuss this:
I have been having difficulty with that show House Of Babies. ( a TV show which chronicles a birth center which specializes in unmedicated births) First I praised it all over my blog, wow wow natural water birth on TV, yay yay. But then I was getting really uncomfortable with how EXTREMELY hands on the staff was. Each birth was EXACTLY the same. Episode after episode: Mom laying backwards in the jacuzzi, sitting on her tailbone, them telling her pushpushpushpushpush stop stop stop stop, pulling on her baby's head, plopping him on onto her chest, talking talking blabbing blabbing all the while she is laboring, joking, chit chatting, teasing her....and then in 3rd stage, there was no reverence, there was cell phone calls and jokes and just LOADS of intervention.This is not respecting the birth process. Not even close! I wonder how many of her clients have excessive perineal damage and excessive bleeding. They don't show that part.
Why do so many midwives act like so many doctors? When will the real need for hands off birth guardians be understood and the void filled all over the country?
Its not about waterbirth versus landbirth, or even unassisted versus attended to me right now. Its just about the huge ball of assumptions that birthing women are IN DANGER, that things WILL GO WRONG, and that just BIRTHING is too risky. The whole thing. Too risky. (insert favorite horror story, aggressive/defensive language, historical examples to fill and fill and fill the mother's mind and personal space and home until she is this enormous ball of fear and concern and passivity and need)
It was hard enough for me to feel mighty and healthy and strong and capable by the end of my pregnancies, to be quite honest. I felt sore and tired and slow and cumbersome and even a bit incapable and vulnerable. I will even shatter the glory-of-pregnancy picture and say that I found it degrading to be all most constantly peeing or trying in vein to wipe myself of get myself dressed. I did not like my pubis symphasis pain and how it hobbled me. I didnt like that I wasnt able to run to the store or clean my house or even sit in regular chairs without my feet sweling up and turning purple. I didnt feel powerful, I felt awful, and I wasn't sleeping, either. Also, it is pretty clear that I wasnt getting any help with my daily activities until 7pm when my husband got home to the filthy home and weepy wife and scraggly kids.
For me, it took serious focused meditation and shutting myself into my bedroom with all my natural and good and loving holistic pregnancy and midwifery books all around me to feel even slightly like a powerful Earth goddess or a giver of golden power. "Suggestible" would be an understatement. If I had a care provider who brought their own mistrust of me and my body and birth to the situation, it didn't take much for me to absorb all those vibes. Yuck.
I think Ina May needs to put out an uplifting audio CD-- or maybe I will!