All too often I hear stories from mothers old and new about how traumatic and difficult giving birth is… so even though I can empathise, I feel frustrated and saddened at why so many women are repeatedly experiencing these difficult and horrid births.
Then, just the other day, I heard a fascinating story/viewpoint from a father of three who views birth as very dangerous, and a thing we must be saved from by specialists in the field.
The first birth was so traumatic, mother lying on her back giving birth, perineum tears and has a difficult time, traumatic to all involved. Not a nice story, but an unbelievably common one.
The thing that surprised me the most was that for the next birth a sum of £6k was paid out to deliver the baby in a private hospital. Results no different really, reconfirming to dad that birth IS dangerous.
I suppose I was saddened at how the NHS and the conventional modern medical world have such a hold over people. In a discussion with the said dad, I told him how an upright position could have made the most amazing difference to change the outcome… to which he laughed in disbelief “I’d like to see you give birth standing up!” to which I replied “I did!” The look of shock was worthy of a photograph, and resulted in a lengthy rant from me and demonstrating ideal upright positions and rocking and dancing for birth!
What really concerns me here is that the view point was to seek the best possible medical care as opposed to the parents being offered education in normal birth – by ‘normal’ I mean ‘normal’, not ‘common’ or ‘typical’ of today’s usual births that tend to happen once inside the confines of a medical establishment, with time deadlines and drugs to make you hurry up, regardless of the detrimental consequences. Not to mention birthing positions that are ideal for the midwife to have a good stare up your jacksee (what’s all that about? Are they waiting for a surprise wave from the baby? Do they not realise it makes us mothers uncomfortable to be stared at, never mind staring at our foofoos… and uncomfortable people can’t relax and let go.)
I suppose, that regardless of my ranting, and my opinion of most hospital ‘labour ward shenanigans’ the reality is that a high proportion of parents leave hospitals with a baby in a car seat and a bucket load of PTSD, followed neatly by PND. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post-natal Depression) then followed by lots of CBA (I believe that stands for ‘Can’t be Ar$ed’, according to some very young children.)
This is where the majority of my therapy clients come from unfortunately. I’d love to be supporting more homebirths with enthusiastic midwives – some more Ina May Gaskin’s and Mary Cronks would be lovely – I think I met at least three new potentials at last week’s MaMa Conference in Scotland!) I would love to see more prevention going on, rather than just being part of the cure.
How do we get to that? Education and support.
Starting with my book recommendation for this blog. An old classic, but never outdated:
Childbirth Without Fear, by Grantly Dick-Read.