Monday, 15 March 2010

There is no oxymoron...just women supporting women.

Here's my response to Barb's (Navelgazing Midwife) latest blog post:

I attended the Trust Birth Conference, Barb, and I sure do wish YOU had been there!  Presenters including Karen Strange, Dr. Sarah Buckley, and Dr. Jeannie Ohm--all of whom shared evidence-based information that supported the premise that "Birth is Safe-Interference is Risky", the conference's motto.

If you had attended, you may have decided to make some changes in your practice.  You might have seen that MOST of the attendees were midwives or doulas.  You might have learned that what we were all talking about was UNHINDERED birth. Unhindered by both external interventions and internal (emotional) blocks.

I believe that unhindered birth is safe--and in our culture of fear, that is a concept and reality that is far from the reach of most women.  That doesn't make it unworthy of our attention--if we truly want to open to a new paradigm, we need to examine the premises on which we base our assumptions.  That is what was going on at the conference and I am honored and excited to be on the leading edge of a true revolution of thought about Birth.

I am an EFT practitioner specializing in birth preparation and healing birth trauma.  I presented two sessions at the TB Conference.  The conference had a huge impact on me!  I left even more committed to sharing the truth about birth and supporting birthworkers to clear their birth traumas (their own and witnessed) so that they can be more available and present with the women they are serving.
You wrote:
Why am I being so black & white about this issue when I can so easily see the gray in almost any other?
I read that you had a UC and without remembering the details, I seem to remember that it was traumatic for you, no?  Maybe that's why??

I have been a member of the Bornfree forum for over 3 years and pop in and out of the MDC forum.  Frankly, your generalizations about UCers (and Rixa's as well) puzzle me.  I just don't see the type of "UCer" or the "UC Community" you keep referring to!  Maybe because I see each woman as a unique individual seeking support for a non-mainstream choice.

I see some women on the Bornfree site who would absolutely LOVE to have a midwife like Pam who will respect them and their desire for an unhindered birth, but they live in isolated areas or don't have the funds available.  Some have checked out all the local midwives and have not found one that is wiling to honor their needs.  Some simply prefer to birth solo.  Many have educated themselves thoroughly or have joined the forum to start that process. 

Sure, some are naive (aren't as many or more women who choose hospital births?)  and some are angry at midwives who weren't as hands-off as they wanted.  But they certainly are as diverse as midwives are and most of them recognize that not all midwives are the same.

Many on the forum are already doulas or CBEs...and we have a midwife or two from time to time.  All are welcome.  At least on the Bornfree forum, we are not dogmatic about how women should birth--simply that UC is the choice supported on the forum.  Some women end up choosing to hire a midwife and their choice is respected.  Those who end up with hospital transfers, inductions and/or C-sections are all welcomed back with open arms and encouraged to share their stories and allow us to support them in healing if needed.

Women need to know that UC is a choice among many choices if they are to feel truly supported in their births.  Being made out to be ignorant or crazy for their choice is just unhelpful and unbecoming of anyone claiming to be "with woman."

If we are going to focus on semantics, then we'd have to start arguing about some midwives calling themselves "midwife" who clearly aren't "with woman" in their practices because they have chosen to "with protocol" or "with their own fear" or "with how their preceptor taught them."

I highly respect your choice to be the the kind of midwife that you are, Barb, even though I would never choose to hire you.  I would appreciate the same respect for my birth choices--even if you never choose to attend to UCers.


  1. Sondra,
    what a fabulous article supporting women's choice to birth alone. I too think this amounts to an argument over semantics rather than ethics or even "safety".

    Labels! Ugh!

    It was fabulous to meet you at the conference. You're awesome!

  2. That is AWESOME! I think you put it so wonderfully. We don't need to understand why someone is choosing something in order to support them in that choice.