Friday, May 30, 2008

Yet another "We Can't Think out of the Box" Article

So the WSJ has encouraged us to realize that they no longer hire true reporters either, but simply biased ones who want to slam childbirth educators. I love how she winks subtly at the slam of her educator who obviously thought that those who use drugs are selfish, then fails to realize that in the next sentence she reveals that she had to force herself into a one hour class because that's all she had time to give for her birth plans and enjoyed the relaxation of the event and the focus like it was a sudden awareness that this might be something she wants to give thought to or relax with.

I wonder how much time she spent buying a stroller? a bed? her car?

The point being missed is rather obvious: Childbirth classes are becoming unnecessary because women ARE more selfish about their births, less worried about the eventual consequences, more trusting of care providers who have done nothing to earn their trust, more accepting of the abuses in a hospital birth because they are told it's protocol and the hospitals have completely co-opted the birthing process, up to and including controlling the information given out by their childbirth educators.

Another "fox guarding the henhouse" moment brought to you by this blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Defining Reproductive Health

At a non-birth conference on Women's Health this week, I was confronted by the enormity of "Reproductive Health".
The table was made up largely of women who thought it meant "birth control" and access to the medications and processes that keep women from having babies and two women who thought it should incorporate those women who's lifespan had chosen to not have children or could no longer have children. Then, there was the one "advocate" across the table who said she just wanted to know how to keep women from having "them". I wonder if her clients (Health Department) are aware of her attitude? If so, I can see why they aren't really reaching out to her for care, kwim?
Then there was me. The only one at the table advocating for informed consent, informed rights, a campaign for midwifery awareness. The entire idea behind "birth affects life" seemed lost in the race to prevent it from happening, denying that women have been having sex at age 14 for thousands of years (if not longer, depending on your belief systems) and even worse, in the arguments about how to prevent sex from happening. Where was the bigger picture about teaching women about their cycles? Teaching teens how to understand their bodies, how to track what was going on with them? Trusting them with information in the hopes that they will use it positively?
Another thing that caught my attention was that in the final review, anything about birth that I had said was dropped out or dropped into the realm of "pregnancy". As long as we keep treating women like pregnancy simply means "prenatal care in the form of going to doctor, peeing on stick and doing as told" in the welfare (and more upper class world) we're ignoring the passages of women into adulthood and capability. We are refusing to allow them to say with authority, I don't WANT to pee on a stick, I don't WANT a vaginal exam without medical reason and acknowledgement that women have every right to say NO to procedures or talk to their care providers as equals who deserve information and evidence NOT simply fear tactics and anecdote. I wasn't trying to discuss -pregnancy, but address the cesarean crisis and the way women are treated, without power. These women who thought that we should hand out condoms to every woman on a street corner couldn't see that VBAC bans or empowering women to make DIFFERENT choices from them or even choices they wouldn't approve of would be a part of the Reproductive Health picture.
When will women's rights advocates stop trying to force us AWAY from birth and actual reproduction as empowering events that almost all women will go through and start encouraging women to actually look at their births and motherhood as POWER?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sheep Analogy

An evangelist spoke this morning at a local church. His talk went something like this:
"A sheep is one of the stupidest animals in Creation. There was a shepherd/farm researcher doing a study on sheep. He discovered that if you put a barricade at the bottom of a single file sized ramp coming out of a semi truck that the first 30 sheep would jump the barricade and if you removed the barricade, the next thirty would jump over air because they had seen the first 30 jump."

This defines modern maternity care.
We see "A Baby Story" and we think that's normal birth.
We hear "that's protocol" and we think that we have no choices.
We think "birth is scary" and we medicate ourselves because we don't realize that we are strong enough to do this and that pain from birth is something that women can cope with if they believe in themselves.
The OB's see one induction work and think all women can be induced.
The nurses see one bad strip and think that all women should be treated one way in order to avoid another.
The lawyers get a successful case off an OB who made bad decisions and think they can make a lifestyle out of the medmal practice without ramifications to how all other women are treated.
The women out there don't realize there is something wrong with the system surrounding birth in our country. They are sheep, jumping over hurdles that don't exist, being saved from problems that are small and infrequent but believing in them nonetheless and helping their OB's to create the very situations that they will need to be saved from.