Chattering Mind

“Facing Inward” blogger Julie wrote this regarding my recent post on Ricki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Birthing.”

“I don’t think the natural childbirth movement is “over”–but it is so hard. Yes, women have choices, but the choices are so minimal in any respect. If you choose homebirth, you and your midwife risk intervention. In my state lay midwives are legal but must be “backed up” by a medical doctor. Of course, there isn’t a single medical doctor in my community willing to be a backup because of legal and liability issues (ie., they get charged a fortune if they do it and risk malpractice lawsuits). Therefore most births technically are “illegal” and parents risk intervention at all different stages.

Parents who choose hospital births, especially those who choose hospital births without the support of a knowledgeable assistant, face all kinds of interventions–ones they choose, ones they are pressured into and ones that they are quietly given without their knowing.

I have had two babies. One in a hospital, one at home. In the past year I’ve been the doula for two hospital births and each time thought “Geez, these women in the most vulnerable times of their lives aren’t treated with respect and dignity.” I don’t know…I agree everyone should choose… I just wish each choice was well respected by everyone involved (mostly the government, the doctors, the nurses…) If a mother chooses to have drugs, great. If a mother specifically says I want a natural hospital birth, they probably shouldn’t come to her at 4cm and say “Well we can give you something to take the edge off.” Wait for her to ask. If a mother wants a homebirth, great, let her choose that. Hospital births, homebirths, unassisted births–they are all beautiful in their own right.”

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