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The balance between education and respect - Page 4

post #61 of 144
ladylee glad to see you here

ITA with what you said
post #62 of 144
T Hi Lee! Nice to see you!

Leah
post #63 of 144
As I went to sleep last night thinking of this thread, I was in tears.

The answers are spelled out.

You can't be honest because people willl WRONGFULLY accuse you of being judgemental, knowing more about their body than their OB, etc etc.

You can't make statements about the medical establishment because no matter matter how much you tell women its NOT about them, it seems that most high intervention women WONT LISTEN and will still accuse you of trying to judge them personally.

You cant win. C Secs and high intervention births are bound to go up. And anyone who sees the benefit of having natural birth needs to shut up. Anyone who educates themselves needs to shut up because they don't have the holy letters behind their name.

I went to sleep last night feeling like everything I learned in the past 5 years is for nothing. All the work I've done is worthless. It's all pretty meaningless because so many women have so many interventions, they are the majority, I'm the minority. And in America, majority rules (well, except in presidential elections I guess).

I'm squashed and I give up. What a waste.
post #64 of 144
Quote:
Originally posted by anothermama
As I went to sleep last night thinking of this thread, I was in tears.

The answers are spelled out.

You can't be honest because people willl WRONGFULLY accuse you of being judgemental, knowing more about their body than their OB, etc etc.

You can't make statements about the medical establishment because no matter matter how much you tell women its NOT about them, it seems that most high intervention women WONT LISTEN and will still accuse you of trying to judge them personally.

You cant win. C Secs and high intervention births are bound to go up. And anyone who sees the benefit of having natural birth needs to shut up. Anyone who educates themselves needs to shut up because they don't have the holy letters behind their name.

I went to sleep last night feeling like everything I learned in the past 5 years is for nothing. All the work I've done is worthless. It's all pretty meaningless because so many women have so many interventions, they are the majority, I'm the minority. And in America, majority rules (well, except in presidential elections I guess).

I'm squashed and I give up. What a waste.
GEEZ LOUISE. I've been responding to your posts as thoughtfully as I can and I am getting the impression that you don't understand me! Please dry your eyes and don't throw in the towel.

I have another idea about how to explain what I mean to you.

Okay, I'm at work. There are two women at work who are pregnant, and several who have had babies. Of the women who have had babies, two had c-sections--one with a breech baby, she then "couldn't nurse" (said her doc) and she had a hellish recovery. She's in her early 30s might have another baby. The other one is past childbearing age and it sounded to me like her c/sections were unnecessary, but I haven't drawn her out about it. (I know who had a c/s because people tell you everything about their births when you are pregnant. : )

One of the pregnant women told me she didn't really like her OB. she also doesn't like the u/s tech in the OB's office. She has had trouble eating during this pregnancy, she hasn't put on much weight, and is a little afraid of having no pain meds during her pregnancy. I work with her closely and she ranks me in the organization. I like her a lot.

Now, go to work, Anothermama. (Or anyone else who likes the exercise.) To whom should I say what? How do I talk, IRL, with mamas who are not committed to natural childbirth (as the folks on here are, even those who had high-intervention births) and help them not to have unnecessary interventions? I can talk to people at length on the lunch hour, and I can also give them books or articles. How would you educate them?
post #65 of 144
I am sorry that you feel that way anothermama.

I hope other birth advocates reading this thread have been able to take the advice given on how to advocate/educate without offending, I think it is pretty clear that it CAN be done, if one wants to learn how I can think of one mama from another board who is a great example of how to do this, but she doesn't post here

So, has the OP or anyone else gotten useful advice from this thread, or was it a complete waste?
post #66 of 144
Quote:
OnTheFence wrote: "I dont think much of a woman who puts her life and child at risk to try to prove something to the rest of the world, medical establishment or even herself. I have read time and time again about fear based medicine, well there is a flip side to that as well and its here running rampant through these forums and in other circles."

Blueviolet wrote: "What exactly is your point? Are you trying to give the birth "extremists" a taste of their own medicine? Because this is a pretty harsh, judgemental, hurtful (and IMO off-the-wall) statement -- wasn't the making of such statements exactly what you were railing against in the first place?"

OnTheFence wrote: "My point is that this is what often goes on that people are unaware of. Pam put something out there to be discussed and I am pointing out how *I* see and feel about things I have read and experienced on this forum. I dont believe its off the wall at all -- not from my seat at least. My statement may be harsh and I am sorry if it offends but in my belief it is truth."
So you can make assumptions (that women on this board put themselves and their babies at risk, and that they do so to prove something to the rest of the world, medical establishment or themselves -- this is a HUGE assumption) and judgements (that you don't think much of women who do that.) Yet you don't like it when others make assumptions and personal judgements about things that you do.

This is awfully hypocritical.

Plus, it appears that you are the only one we can be sure is doing the judging here, because you admit to it. ("I don't think much of all the women on here who...") I (and other birth activists on the board) often say things like, "your complications were likely the result of unnecessary interventions." I have never said "I don't think much of women who put their babies and themselves at risk by agreeing to unnecessary medical intervention," and I don't recall anyone else here doing so either. (Not that it hasn't happened, but it's hardly the norm.) For me, and for all the birth activists I know, the mother who has a traumatic birth is regarded as a victim and the intention is to help her, by offering information that may prevent her further suffering. So your judgement of birth activists of my ilk as judgemental can only be inferred, assumed.

Why not give us the benefit of the doubt? Why assume that we are out to get you? And how can you complain about that when you yourself are offering up judgements of others you don't agree with?
post #67 of 144
I'm not the poster who wrote that quote, but I would like to say, that I think she is making a point about how she feels, but I can say, I have never heard her say that to someone in that position, YK? I think we are all very judgemental (Ok, I am, I'll admit to that), the key is one's ability to keep the judgements to themselves, and not force them upon people who never asked our opinion.

I have (recently even) had posters on here tell me that my c-sections were not necessary, I have had people question my judgement to have my c-sections, I have had people who know little to nothing about me, say that chances are my last c-birth was not necessary at all, which is completely untrue, if they bothered to ask for the whole story- or even admit that the person who opened me up *might* just have a better idea of what my insides look like. That I might have an OB who really does care about what is best for me and my babies, and who may actually be right that c-birth was best for us.

Yes, we are all somewhat judegemental, but we should all try to keep our judgements to ourselves, and be loving and supportive of other mamas and the choices they make.

If we want to "educate" there are good ways to do it, which have been mentioned by many on this thread.

I guess it all comes down to whether you really want to change people's thinking, or if you want to be right. If you want to change thinking, then you have to listen to what people who have been on the "other side" are telling you about how to do it. I know this from being a pro-life activist (which I know is OT), but I have learned a lot more from how to discuss the issue, by talking kindly to women who have been there, and asking them what is effective. Isn't effectiveness what matters in education? I reiterate- if people don't think you respect them, they will not be listening to what you have to say.
post #68 of 144
Patty wrote: "So, has the OP or anyone else gotten useful advice from this thread, or was it a complete waste?"

Not for me. I have not participated much in this thread, but I have read just about everything.

What I have come out of this with is an understanding of the pain that people sometimes feel when their birth choices are commented on. The whole point of me being a birth activist is to prevent suffering, so if I have inadvertently caused suffering with my words, I am just working against my own goal.

I think for me the solution involves just asking first. To say, "I am intensely interested in birth issues and in empowering women to have satisfying, healing, healthy birth experiences. Are you interested in feedback on your own situation? If so, please understand that when I say you could have done something differently that this does not mean that I am blaming you." Etc. Of course, this works well for one-on-one encounters; it would get a bit cumbersome on a message forum. Like Pam said, do we have to offer a disclaimer every time? Is there any way around that? Maybe not.

But certainly I think it would be fair for those who are in fear of feeling judged to take on some of the responsibility of keeping the discourse feeling mutually respecting, simply by stating that they do not want their post to be dissected and analyzed, that they want only support. Or whatever. To just be clear about that.
post #69 of 144
Quote:
Originally posted by jess7396


So, has the OP or anyone else gotten useful advice from this thread, or was it a complete waste?
What does this mean? Maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like you are asking people to gang up on anothermama.

She is passionate about something she believes in. By the fact that she has continued to thoughtfully participate in this discussion, I think we can assume that she is trying to become the most sensitive and effective activist that she can be.

This is a discussion about the generalities of activism. Whether you agree with her or not, her words here are not out of line.

I have found this discussion very valuable, and I would hate to see it derailed by an unwarranted personal attack.
post #70 of 144
That is far from a personal attack. I don't see how asking if anyone got anything useful from this discussion is somehow asking people to gang up on anothermama: She simply made it clear that she has gotten nothing but bad feeling from this thread, and I want to know if anyone got anything useful, b/c I believe that there were a lot of very useful to the OP things said here.

Maybe you should re-look at what she wrote which prompted my question:

Originally posted by anothermama
As I went to sleep last night thinking of this thread, I was in tears.

The answers are spelled out.

You can't be honest because people willl WRONGFULLY accuse you of being judgemental, knowing more about their body than their OB, etc etc.

You can't make statements about the medical establishment because no matter matter how much you tell women its NOT about them, it seems that most high intervention women WONT LISTEN and will still accuse you of trying to judge them personally.

You cant win. C Secs and high intervention births are bound to go up. And anyone who sees the benefit of having natural birth needs to shut up. Anyone who educates themselves needs to shut up because they don't have the holy letters behind their name.

I went to sleep last night feeling like everything I learned in the past 5 years is for nothing. All the work I've done is worthless. It's all pretty meaningless because so many women have so many interventions, they are the majority, I'm the minority. And in America, majority rules (well, except in presidential elections I guess).

I'm squashed and I give up. What a waste.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
You see- it sounds like she has not gotten anything good from this thread, but I hope others have, that is all I want to know- Blueviolet says she did get useful things, and what she wrote was beautiful, IMO, about how she could better talk to women who have been through a high-intervention or c-birth. I do not think that it is only applicable IRL, I don't think it would be too hard to do online. I think sometimes you do have to be wordy(to be poilite and to be heard)- and maybe have some kind of disclaimer every time you intend to criticize someone's birth experience, even if the criticism is meant to be aimed at the mismanagement of the Dr, etc. I also agree with Blueviolet that maybe we c-birth (or other high intervention) mamas should disclaim that we do not want people's opinions on our births when we do not, I think that would help and is a useful suggestion.

I think the OP was a good question, and if Natural Birth advocates want to know how to better do what they do, there are lots of useful suggestions here- it's all about taking the time to be respectful of each individual woman and her birth, and educating in an effective way, which anything that offends is not effective, IMO.
post #71 of 144
Thread Starter 
I hope that the dialogue continues - there are so many wise voices on this thread.

I have learned alot. I know that I cannot control how any one person will respond to me and my words (I should not censor myself, however, to meet the expectation of how I fear someone will respond).

BUT, what I can do is this: Before I post anything, I can ask myself: what is my intention? is someone asking for my advice? are they needing support? encouragement? And, if I cannot think of anything helpful to say that is not sincere, I should not respond at all.

I have felt the same way as anothermama many times - overwhelmed with complete frustration. After talking to an OB that is an acquaintance (we end up at the same parties together), I know that it's not always the OBs that are to blame. For sure, there are great OBs, there are horrible midwives. It's human nature. I cried the night he told me that his partners were coming down on him for having a low c-section rate (cheaper malpractice premiums with higher c-section rates) and how they were routinely inducing women at 39 weeks. This is not because his partners are horrible people - to them, a c-section is not a big deal. I've heard many wives of OBs and female OBs themselves have been electively choosing C-sections for years to preserve "pelvic floor integrity". It's a matter of different belief systems altogether.

And, granted, it's easy to be a midwife when I have no one to answer to except my clients and no malpractice insurance premiums eating up all my salary.

I have a huge amount of compassion for those that practice in the hospital. I stopped being angry long ago - it was eating me up. Instead, I pray for them - that they may feel protected and not react out of fear, but with wisdom. I pray for the ones who are pioneering and trying to do the right thing, against all the political pressure. They are out there, I know this.

The one thing that keeps me sane in this world is focusing on what I can do - and how I live my life. I try to re-examine my motives all the time....am I acting for an ego reason? Am I doing this for the good of everyone involved? Am I listening to my intuition? Am I respecting a woman's right to choose?

It will continue to be a struggle, for sure.
post #72 of 144
Well said pamamidwife, I am glad you are getting something useful from this discussion

I think you are right, that we all need to think before we post more often. I visit a Religious AP board where you pray before you enter, and part of the prayer is about protecting our posts from ill-intent, etc.

Just wanted to comment on that, carry on.....
post #73 of 144
I'll speak for myself (answering the OP's original question). I educated myself before my ds' birth, and I took really great care of myself. I did a ton of prenatal yoga, and I took 2 different natural childbirth classes. My ds was 2 1/2 wks late and in a poor position. I did everything under the sun (go ahead, ask me--I did it) to try to shift his position and/or get labor started. Eventually, things took a turn for the worse--he was really tangled in his cord, and I frankly don't believe there was enough cord length left for him to get out alive--I feel this way because it seems that he *did* start to move down and cut off his own oxygen. So I had an emergency cesarean, as recommended by my CNM (who has done thousands of births and has a very low C %age). I was fine with it--I tried everything I could, and in the end, ds was okay.

However, since then, I've had a number of people look down on me, pity me, or tell me that my cesarean wasn't necessary. Some have been IRL, some have been here or elsewhere online. Even though, yes, I was fine with the C, and I'd do it again in the same situation, of course I would have preferred a vaginal birth, and of course the recovery from surgery wasn't fun. But I'm shocked, saddened, and angry at the approach some have taken with me. And of course, it makes me defensive and careful even when I run into someone who is truly curious about what happened in my birth, who is willing to listen and be courteous. I'll be really honest--it pisses me off that *I* know that my C was needed, and *I* am fine with it, but too frequently, I'm simply put in a position of defending myself to people who don't know better and just aren't being very *nice*. Why does it occur to these people to criticize me? It sure isn't the way *my* mama brought me up. (And I never point out that they are rarely "perfect" AP mamas, either...)

Something else to consider... there are a lot of women who are between a rock and a hard place. Midwives (both CNM and other) generally have lower rates of cesareans and other interventions, but many women simply do not have access to them, because there are none in their geographical area and/or there are none covered by their insurance and they can't afford to pay for a birth out of pocket (a very real limitation). So these women have to do the best they can with the existing medical system (mainly OBs and hospitals). You can do a *lot* of pushing within the medical model, but you can only go so far, and you generally only have so much choice. Maybe instead of targeting the women giving birth, birth activists should take aim at the doctors and hospitals who do the majority of the births? I really, really mean this.

And I will add, as gently as I can, that yes, some of you could write with a little more sensitivity and compassion when you are posting at MDC about VBAC or cesarean, especially if you haven't been there yourselves. Just think about it--it might be hard for you to *truly* understand unless you've been there yourselves. It's not theoretical or statistical or whatever to those of us who have been cut--you're talking about *our* birth stories and our lives. Some of us would prefer to advocate for ourselves! I also don't think it's fair to compare V vs. C and formula vs. breastfeeding, either, because frankly, most women have a lot more control over feeding method than they do over how their births will proceed.

I really appreciated LiamnEmma's first post...CaptainOptimism's posts... Ladylee, and Jess7396... also OnTheFence's posts... and yeah, I'd appreciate it if some of the people already posting here would perhaps write a little more sensitively... if people are being defensive about your words, perhaps it's a signal to think about how you're saying what you're saying.

And I have to say that I'm posting because I'm frustrated... I'm still not sure people are getting it. Be respectful. We're not talking about numbers here... we're talking about real live women in our midst (like me!).
post #74 of 144
deleting accidental double post
post #75 of 144
if people are being defensive about your words, perhaps it's a signal to think about how you're saying what you're saying.

Well put, KKMama.

I appreciate this discussion-it's a learning opportunity for everyone.

If I may-when I was training in Reiki many things stuck in my mind that I think are applicable to this situation:

Never feel pity for anyone, nor assume they need you to "educate" or "enlighten" them.

If they do need you to enlighten them, they will find you.

I think the process of self-monitoring for ego-based intentions that pamamidwife mentioned is right on! You usually can't go wrong with that, and if you do, someone will surely point it out to you! :LOL

Leah & jess-really good to see & hear you both, too!

And pamamidwife-your senior title is my very favorite one!
post #76 of 144
Ladylee, and KKmama-

You two said what I have been thinking so much better than I have been saying it
post #77 of 144
Thank you for the clarification, jess. I agree that anothermama's most recent post reflects frustration, however, through the several previous pages she has clearly "heard" many important points. Anothermama's passion shines through very clearly; I hope she continues to follow this thread.
post #78 of 144
Quote:
Originally posted by blueviolet
So you can make assumptions (that women on this board put themselves and their babies at risk, and that they do so to prove something to the rest of the world, medical establishment or themselves -- this is a HUGE assumption) and judgements (that you don't think much of women who do that.) Yet you don't like it when others make assumptions and personal judgements about things that you do.

This is awfully hypocritical.

I didnt make an assumption about anyone in this forum. You are jumping the gun and taking what I said WAY out of context. I actually know women in my day to day life who have taken unnecessary risks to have natural vaginal childbirth, at home and the hospital. Without going into much detail, their actions were negligent. I in fact advocate for natural childbirth, and have been since before I had children. I am not against homebirth or the use of midwives at all. I think you are the one assuming.
post #79 of 144
I've been following this thread and I have something to add that might be constructive.

First, let me say that I think there have been some excellent points made from several perspectives. And I believe the thread in general has been instructive.

One thing that I have had trouble with is that there has been referrence to lots of really insensitive remarks made by "birth activists", and that is not something I've seen personally. I have, I guess, missed those threads somehow. So I am working from second-hand knowledge that there HAVE been offensive posts, without first-hand knowledge of the nature of those kinds of posts. There! That's my disclaimer!

Now:
I would like to put forth that we examine the difference between responsibility and blame. This is something I think we, as a culture, have a hard time distinguishing. I think that there is a common perception that if you are responsible for something and it does not go well on whatever level, then you are deserving of blame. And I think that people are more likely to assign blame on themselves than anyone else is likely to.

Responsibility is something we grow into. None of us had parenting (or substitute any other responsibility) down cold when we had our first tiny, dependant infant gazing up at us for the first time. Therefore we will all look back at choices we made and determine that there are things we would have done differently, had we had the resources (knowledge, different external circumstances, whatever).

Okay, I'm sitting here typing and erasing. I want to be as gentle as I can but I can't figure out any other way to say this. So please take it as gently as it is intended.

What I have seen is that many people hear facts or acedemic discussion in a post and take it to mean that the poster is attacking them personally. I've been very surprised at times to read what I though was a DISCUSSION about birth issues and suddenly 1 or 2 people have thier feelings hurt, when I didn't see anything directed at them personally.

Here's an example that I just made up, didn't actually read this. Someone posts something like, "epidurals are known to slow down labor and that can be the start of the cascade effect." Then I see a response on the order of, "well I HAD to have an epidural, because of x, y, and z. And not only that but it sped my labor up" And I think, well that person is obviously offended now. But no one was invalidating their personal experience, and no one said that it always works that way, and no one is denying that she may well HAVE had to have that epidural for whatever reason. So why does she now feel blamed or judged? And even at times when I have seen someone post there were other options, etc. I've yet to see it done with blame or judgment (not saying at all that it hasn't happen, just don't think it's the norm). But I've seen people take offense nontheless several times.

So I guess what I am saying is that just because someone questions a choice you made, ESPECIALLY if they don't even know that they are doing that until you respond, it doesn't mean they are judging you.

If I read OTF's story and it motivates me all the more to try to pass on info that might protect someone else from that kind of torturous birth, do you really think judgment and blame is at the heart of what I say?

Now, granted, it is true that any of us to try to be gentle in what we say and how we say it. And I think it is great to remember that none of us is a statistic. It can be hard to identify with each individual horror story after a while, because, personally, I've read SO many of them in my research. It's like when I took a class on Holocaust literature in college. Between the reading and the films and the instructor who was a survivor, there came a point when I can remember plugging my ears and averting my eyes during one whole film. It can become to much to hear of and see the same horrors committed again and again and again. So, yes, I think that those of us who want to "spread the word" may get a little distant from the individuals from time to time. But I think it is a shame to mistake that for lack of caring or for blame-finding.

On a side note, just a little personal irk. I can see why Greaseball's comment early on may have been irritating, so I'm going to qualify my remark. I DO think I know more about <childbirth the way nature intended> than most OBs. Certainly more than any OB I've ever met. And it is not because I've given birth (though that is a good place to start...I wonder what the percentage of OBs is that have given birth?). It's because I have done 2 years of research on the topic. You know how we always talk about how OBs don't know much (as a group) about nutrition or breastfeeding, simply because it's not required in their schooling? Well neither is learning about normal, healthy pregnancy or childbirth. I'm not making this up, ask any OB. So if I've done tons of research on a topic that an OB has done maybe no research on, yep, I know more then he/she does. That doesn't mean that I know the individual circumstances of YOUR birth but my comments are based in something other than speculation, conjecture or wishful thinking.

I would like to go back and edit for softening any potentially explosive remarks, but I will have to trust you all to mentally do it for me. I simply cannot put off getting my 2 y.o. his apple turnover any longer!
post #80 of 144
Quote:
I DO think I know more about <childbirth the way nature intended> than most OBs. Certainly more than any OB I've ever met.
Yes, that's what I meant by "I'm smarter!" And it's not just me - I'm sure any MDC members, or any person who has read a Mothering magazine, knows more about natural childbirth than doctors do.

Doctors are smarter than me in many ways - biology, chemistry, math, surgical technique (you should have seen the ways I tried to reattach bugs' legs and wings in my "bug hospital" when I was 10!) but unfortunately, these areas of expertise are useless in normal birth.
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