or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors? - Page 2

post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post
Women need to wake up to the fact that it is not patchouli vs. modernity and they need to stop falsely framing the debate that way. I absolutely do not wear patchouli, nor burn sage, nor wear flowy skirts, nor chant, nor anything in the stereotype. Yet I do take responsibility for my own health, and to do so is not being a weird hippie - it is being a responsible adult. This does not mean you have to have a OOH birth - but it does mean that you learn about birth and your options and not dismiss it all as being a control freak or a crazy hippie.

These were my exact thoughts when I saw this thread yesterday.

I feel for this woman because she experienced something seriously traumatic, but it kills me, because she could have been informed. Or at the very least, be informed for the future, i.e. her impending child. I get the feeling from the essay that she is not really preparing herself for this next birth, she just knows she wants something better than last time. I am hopeful for her that acquiring a doula for this birth will benefit her in the end.
post #22 of 72
I thought it was really interesting, actually. I can relate in a lot of ways. I'm pregnant after a very hard birth, and I was not stupid. I didn't think I was in control then, and I don't think I am this time around either. It's like trying to be in control of a glacier. I'm not saying there's nothing a person can do to try to have a safe, good birth, but it's not always as easy as being educated. Hell, I know plenty of women who never read a thing about childbirth and had lovely births. It's not that simple.
post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
I thought it was really interesting, actually. I can relate in a lot of ways. I'm pregnant after a very hard birth, and I was not stupid. I didn't think I was in control then, and I don't think I am this time around either. It's like trying to be in control of a glacier. I'm not saying there's nothing a person can do to try to have a safe, good birth, but it's not always as easy as being educated. Hell, I know plenty of women who never read a thing about childbirth and had lovely births. It's not that simple.

Right - even someone trained in martial arts can't physically get up after having an epidural, to prevent a c-sec, and who would expect their OB to break their waters after saying they were just doing a VE before allowing them to go home? That's 100 percent the OB's responsibility, fault, whatever you want to call it.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ammaarah View Post
I thought it was really interesting, actually. I can relate in a lot of ways. I'm pregnant after a very hard birth, and I was not stupid. I didn't think I was in control then, and I don't think I am this time around either. It's like trying to be in control of a glacier. I'm not saying there's nothing a person can do to try to have a safe, good birth, but it's not always as easy as being educated. Hell, I know plenty of women who never read a thing about childbirth and had lovely births. It's not that simple.
No, being educated nor uneducated about childbirth guarantees no specific birth outcome - but being educated does help raise your chances of having a satisfying birth. No one ever claims that if you do x, y and z, you will be guaranteed an amazing birth, so please don't try to make it into that. No one is promised anything in birth - but educating yourself raises your chances of getting the birth you hope for. This woman didn't educate herself at all, dismissed the type of education that would have helped her recognize this care provider as unlikely to be supportive as "too hippie," and then is still failing to help herself this time around. She writes off VBAC as impossible b/c of the risk of rupture, even though this is patently false, and appears to be just sitting there hoping and wishing for this time to be different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn
This time, she is looking for help - real, solid information and help - and instead she's getting a lot of the trust birth stuff from the NCB community that I personally find unhelpful.

I don't think blaming her for her lack of preparedness around her first birth is right, and I also don't think it relates to her central point which is how do you find your way through a birthing experience after one has gone so badly.
She is not looking for information - if she were, would she quote that untruth about VBACs causing rupture? Or the part about how prepared women are uptight and definitely get c-sections?

And you really think that she didn't have a responsibility to educate herself or be prepared? Really? She doesn't appear to be doing anything to find her way through a bad birth except blame the hippies and the doctor and the nurse.
post #25 of 72
Yeah, just lovely. THIS is exactly why we must be educated. I am 100% responsible for the crappy maternity care I received for children #1-4.

I grew up mainstream, didn't research, believed the almighty Dr's, and am STILL paying for THEIR choices-which were largely based on THEIR knowledge that I WAS IGNORANT to any other choice!

I don't blame the mother for malpractice issues, but I sure believe we are setting ourselves up for failure when we walk into an OB office/hospital, completely at the mercy of "whatever Doc thinks is best...the most important thing is a healthy baby". I believe that so much, that I am NOW taking control of my body and MY baby ENOUGH to have a homebirth. My last birth was a hospital birth more on my terms, but I STILL fail when confronted with paternalistic OB males...so it just isn't going to happen anymore.

I also agree it's not an "article" influenced by evidence and facts. It's a personal opinion piece-still just as valid to the author, but not to those seeking truth in information about birth/VBAC.
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

She is not looking for information - if she were, would she quote that untruth about VBACs causing rupture? Or the part about how prepared women are uptight and definitely get c-sections?

And you really think that she didn't have a responsibility to educate herself or be prepared? Really? She doesn't appear to be doing anything to find her way through a bad birth except blame the hippies and the doctor and the nurse.
I think interviewing four doulas and reading all the books she read qualifies as educating herself.

And although I think self-education is important, I don't think it is right or helpful to blame a woman for a bad birth. This is actually one of my biggest issues with the NCB community - when someone comes and expresses their truth, there is a LOT of armchair quarterbacking that basically comes down to:

"If you only would have known/done/thought what *I* have, you wouldn't have had such a bad experience." So, too bad for you missy. How is this helping or empowering women?

Even if that's true -- and I really don't see how that would have stopped this doctor from stripping her membranes and some of the other difficulties she had -- it is NOT HELPFUL. It is not helpful to other women and it is not helpful to her and it will not help her feel brave and strong enough to have a better experience next time.

It is exactly the same as someone saying they were unhappy with their care and someone pulling out all the old warhorse arguments about how great hospitals are.

Also, I don't personally believe women should have to research everything about birth to get good care in a hospital. It may currently be the reality. But it's a systemic, patriarchical issues. Blaming the woman at the bottom of the totem pole is just wrong, in my opinion.

And it really saddens me that this is still the response - woman-blaming.
post #27 of 72
I stand by my original point - where else in your life is it a good idea to walk blindly into a situation and expect others to watch out for your best interests? I have to manage my bank account - it is not the job of the bank or any merchant to make sure that I have enough money or am not overcharged for something. If prices matter to me, then I have to read the grocery circulars to get the best deal. I can't just walk into Kroger, shop, and then complain that Kroger didn't give me the best price. What her OB did, though not okay by any means, was pretty common for OB behavior and happens all the time - see the comments on the 2nd or 3rd page by the L&D nurse - and if she had educated herself at all on her options, including taking some influence from those crazy hippies - she would have been aware of that. Anyone who still has the idea that they will be attended by the doctor in Norman Rockwell's paintings, in any medical setting, is in for a painful awakening. This woman was presented with this info, and she chose to disregard it.

I get tired of having the same argument with you, GuildJenn, b/c you are coming from a very specifically awfully painful place, and any time this topic comes up, I feel like you want it to be that birth is totally, completely and in every way out of anyone's hands, and that there is no way anyone can influence or deal with it at all. Though I understand why you would want to feel like this, it is just not true. We, as adult human beings, have a responsibility to take care of ourselves the best we can, and to say so is not to say that this woman deserved punishment, but that she needs to own responsibility for her choices and their likely or potential outcomes. I also reject the idea that we can just float into birth blindly trusting our bodies - this is as stupid an idea as blindly trusting our doctors; they are flip sides of the same coin, and she, unfortunately, subscribed to both views.

I am not saying that if she had done x, y or z, that she would have been guaranteed a good birth - but I do maintain that it would have increased her chances. That is what I said earlier in this thread, and I am saying it again, and will say it in every other thread we clash on - self-knowledge and education about childbirth will raise your chances of having a satisfying birth, but it in no way guarantees it. Yet, as another poster said, just b/c we cannot be guaranteed a satisfying birth DOES NOT MEAN we should not try as best we can. Life is unpredictable, and bad things happen, and people will not always do right by us, but that does not mean that we can just throw our hands up and say "Whatever will be, will be." It means that we prepare ourselves, and take care of ourselves, and part of that is owning our emotions and doing the work before and after birth to be able to process whatever the outcome is.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I think interviewing four doulas and reading all the books she read qualifies as educating herself
Well, you have a good point there, but I think she still doesn't seem to "get it." She seems to think her body failed at birth - rather than realizing that the induction (the intervention) is what failed. A vital distinction, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Even if that's true -- and I really don't see how that would have stopped this doctor from stripping her membranes and some of the other difficulties she had -- it is NOT HELPFUL. It is not helpful to other women and it is not helpful to her and it will not help her feel brave and strong enough to have a better experience next time.
Well, I agree with you in principle that woman-blaming is wrong & not a good solution. But I disagree that it is "not helpful." The moral of the story is: DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST YOUR OB. Ask around, get lots of feedback, ask open-ended questions so you get a feel for how he values patient autonomy (or doesn't.)

This is the horribly reality of maternity 'care' in America today. So I disagree that it's "not helpful" to warn women. If I hadn't read "The Thinking Woman's Guide" I wouldn't have had a CLUE! I would have stayed with OBs at a seriously intervention-happy hospital and....

So, I DO think warnings are helpful. Cuz I think warnings are warranted when it comes to American maternity care.

Furthermore, I think the fact that you CAN "increase your chances" (a point which Galatea so eloquently elaborated on) could INCREASE a feeling of bravery!! If I was faced with 2 options:
1. You can't control birth, don't even bother trying (attempting via birth plan, etc. to do so just increases the odds you'll have a CS)
or
2. While you can't guarantee a great birth or healthy baby, there is still a lot you can do to improve your odds that you & baby will be healthy & your HCPs will treat you with respect, kindness & only recommend interventions that are truly in your best interest.

Well, honestly, facing the #2 situation would make me feel much more brave!
post #29 of 72
I read this as a personal narrative from a woman who has suffered a traumatic experience and is still in the process of trying to come to terms with it. I see her as having left behind her previous notions of what labor/birth is, without yet having arrived at a place of new clarity & confidence about a different way of thinking. I see her casting about for something that resonates with her. I could relate to some of what she wrote, and I found some of her conclusions surprising or puzzling or at least not what I would have concluded from the same information.

What I do appreciate is that she has articulated her thought process very clearly. She is showing us her personal journey with a complex experience. I am a strong advocate for women sharing their stories about birth and for each woman telling it like it is for her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
I disagree that it is "not helpful." The moral of the story is: DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST YOUR OB. Ask around, get lots of feedback, ask open-ended questions so you get a feel for how he values patient autonomy (or doesn't.)
I personally am very uncomfortable moralizing from someone's personal narrative. Holy cow, I hope no one is reading any of my musings about my traumatic experience and using it as a "cautionary tale"!!!! At most, I hope someone has a frisson of recognition ("so I'm not the only one who thinks/feels that way") or of smug satisfaction ("thank goodness what happened to her didn't happen to me").

But I would consider it a great mis-use of my story to draw any conclusion about how to approach labor. My story is my story. Period. It's full of ambiguities and contradictions and perhaps even mis-information and wrong conclusions because it's based on my perspective & my interpretation of what I see, and I'm not perfect. I'm sharing it as a feeling being who's trying to make meaning, not someone who has great knowledge about how other people should make their decisions.

So that's the perspective I bring when I read someone else's personal narrative. I hope that the woman who wrote this piece isn't done with her journey. I hope she keeps asking questions of herself and of others, and I hope she moves to a place of confidence and clarity, wherever that falls for her.

I think the proper use of story sharing is to listen. Just listen.
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post

I get tired of having the same argument with you, GuildJenn, b/c you are coming from a very specifically awfully painful place, and any time this topic comes up, I feel like you want it to be that birth is totally, completely and in every way out of anyone's hands, and that there is no way anyone can influence or deal with it at all. Though I understand why you would want to feel like this, it is just not true. We, as adult human beings, have a responsibility to take care of ourselves the best we can, and to say so is not to say that this woman deserved punishment, but that she needs to own responsibility for her choices and their likely or potential outcomes. I also reject the idea that we can just float into birth blindly trusting our bodies - this is as stupid an idea as blindly trusting our doctors; they are flip sides of the same coin, and she, unfortunately, subscribed to both views.
That is such a misrepresentation of my views that I really don't think you've been reading very closely. I am completely in favour of people being informed. I just don't think the natural childbirth community does a very good job of informing women - and I thought she articulated pretty well why the books and info were not working for her this second time around.

I'm also tired of people taking other people's birth stories -- often off the 'net -- and blaming women over them, shutting down real understanding and compassion.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
Well, I agree with you in principle that woman-blaming is wrong & not a good solution. But I disagree that it is "not helpful." The moral of the story is: DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST YOUR OB. Ask around, get lots of feedback, ask open-ended questions so you get a feel for how he values patient autonomy (or doesn't.)

This is the horribly reality of maternity 'care' in America today. So I disagree that it's "not helpful" to warn women. If I hadn't read "The Thinking Woman's Guide" I wouldn't have had a CLUE! I would have stayed with OBs at a seriously intervention-happy hospital and....

So, I DO think warnings are helpful. Cuz I think warnings are warranted when it comes to American maternity care.

Furthermore, I think the fact that you CAN "increase your chances" (a point which Galatea so eloquently elaborated on) could INCREASE a feeling of bravery!! If I was faced with 2 options:
1. You can't control birth, don't even bother trying (attempting via birth plan, etc. to do so just increases the odds you'll have a CS)
or
2. While you can't guarantee a great birth or healthy baby, there is still a lot you can do to improve your odds that you & baby will be healthy & your HCPs will treat you with respect, kindness & only recommend interventions that are truly in your best interest.

Well, honestly, facing the #2 situation would make me feel much more brave!
Sure, but we don't know how much choice she really had or what her path was in choosing that OB. That's why I don't think we should moralize off a story. Think about it, yes. Attack the woman, no.

I also think her 'ignorance' is being misrepresented. She says she had high blood pressure. Not a lot of detail there. I agree with you that the induction failed and not her body and that she seems to be missing that.

But we don't know - because she doesn't get into it - what the deal was with the high blood pressure. She may well have looked into it and come up with pre-ecclampsia and all kinds of things and made an informed decision to be induced. She doesn't say what happens before she gets to the hospital. She says she asks about the drug, and that she's taking it instead of an epidural because she doesn't want dilation to slow down - that doesn't sound all that dreadfully uninformed to me either. She's not sticking her arms out and saying "do whatever."

When her blood pressure is lower, she makes the decision to go home. Again, it doesn't really sound to me like she's operating without thought or care. Yes, she admits that she didn't want to go wholesale into natural childbirth and that she didn't see the use in a birth plan. In hindsight that may not have been the best. But she took some classes; she was informed about some things. Also her attitude - "it can't be that hard" - isn't really that far off "trust your instincts."

I find it interesting that people here missed that she got evidence from an (unpublished) study that a birth plan correlates to an increased risk of c-section. Again, not an unthinking approach to this question of anxiety.

So...I don't find there's a moral here really except that her OB was a UAV and that this woman is pretty eloquent about her struggles. Oh, and that out of 4 doulas she interviewed, only one failed to blame her.
post #32 of 72
Insurance companies and hospitals control childbirth.

Mothers live with the results.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by caned & able View Post
Insurance companies and hospitals control childbirth.

Mothers live with the results.
No, not "childbirth" in general - childbirth in hospital. Insurance companies and hospitals definitely did not control my homebirth and UC.
post #34 of 72
Interesting thread. My take is kind of-- yes, the original OB was absolutely positively over the line and wrong to break her water without consent, and I'd take action on something like that. I also agree with the PP that being informed/prepared does not make you automatically have a great and/or vaginal birth. You can improve your chances but the baby is going to have to come out in the way that he/she comes out regardless of all of your ideas and plans. That said, yeah-- if you're planning on giving birth, it might be to your advantage to, you know, READ about it just a little. Get an idea of what happens, what you'd like, what you wouldn't like, how the whole thing tends to go. Her failure to do that doesn't mean that's the reason she had a crappy experience (again, outrageous of the doctor to break her water like that), but it would have helped her for sure.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post
I personally am very uncomfortable moralizing from someone's personal narrative. Holy cow, I hope no one is reading any of my musings about my traumatic experience and using it as a "cautionary tale"!!!!
<<snip>>
I think the proper use of story sharing is to listen. Just listen.
Good points. I totally get what you're saying. & you're right, it's not really fair or reasonable to take personal narrative, hold it up & say, "LOOK OUT! This could be you!"

I guess what I mean to say is this:
Women need to be warned in America today that you cannot simply trust your OB! Get educated, find out about "evidence-based care," try to make sure you're getting it (because it is not the "default" setting), and advocate for yourself!
For me personally, the book "Thinking Woman's Guide" drove it home for me. It STILL makes me furious that hospitals still do "nothing by mouth" & cEFM for all births. (including one of the best in the nation - Johns Hopkins - where I was going to deliver before I got educated)

For me, reading the chapters in the book, the science behind it, it made perfect sense to me. When I saw the absolute chasm between science & practice, I knew I had to run screaming from Hopkins! Also, in the book "Born in the USA" he includes a chart of actual evidence-based practice rates of things like induction, episiotomy, CS, etc. next to real rates. This was also frightening to me.

But I'm a left-brained, analytic type of person. Stats speak to me! I actually think it's totally silly to take individual narrative & use it in decision making regarding science -- So that includes medicine and fitness! Fitness is a science too - as I say, it's not like fashion! Someone's opinion isn't really relevant (well, on most issues, that is.) It drives me batty that people will take fitness advice from people grossly unqualified to give it (& likewise, that people who are grossly unqualified think that they should advise others.)

Anyway, but that's me.

I think, however, narrative could be useful for some people for whom stats aren't powerful. (& I think that's a lot of people.)

The points of this narrative that I think can be helpful are:
1. Sometimes OBs don't practice evidence-based care
2. Sometimes OBs don't honor informed consent
3. When this does happen, birth can go badly
4. KNOW THIS - know that you can't blindly trust your OB!
5. However, you CAN get educated & "optimize" your odds (so you might want to do so!)

& I'm defining "optimize" here as: "Make your odds the best that they can be." Again, as has been repeated, there are no guarantees! But you can improve your odds and make the odds the best they could possibly be. Hence = "optimize."

This is the "value" I see here in "moralizing" the story. I'd hate for women to read the story & just think, "Oh no, how awful, gee I hope that doesn't happen to me." Instead I want them to know they can -and should- act to help prevent it from happening.

Again, note, I say "help prevent it" since you can't guarantee. You can't "prevent" you can only "help prevent." & again, I disagree, "Oh, she can't help the fact that the doc didn't listen to her." Well, true, but I'm willing to bed that whatever hospital she was at isn't recommended much in the NCB community. I could be wrong - it could be a fluke - it could have been a great "baby & mama friendly hospital" & he was just a random UAV. But I do doubt it. Again, she could have "optimized her odds" by getting more feedback. What I'm saying is - that sort of thing is less likely to happen at the more NCB-friendly hospitals. So I'm going to guess that she was not in an NCB-friendly hopsital.

P.S. Sorry my posts are so long, but it's a sensitive issue & I'd rather err on the side of writing a mini-novel, but representing my thoughts clearly, rather than being incomplete.
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Sure, but we don't know how much choice she really had or what her path was in choosing that OB. That's why I don't think we should moralize off a story. Think about it, yes. Attack the woman, no.
I dunno, of course we can't be certain without asking her the Q point-blank, but I think she was pretty clear about the fact that she did not do research prior to birthing. So I don't think it is a stretch for us to assume that means she also did not research that OB or research that hospital.

Again, I agree we shouldn't "attack" her. Regarding "moralizing" - I addressed that in my reply above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
When her blood pressure is lower, she makes the decision to go home. Again, it doesn't really sound to me like she's operating without thought or care.
To be fair, the way it's written, the nurse suggested that to her. It really sounds to me like it wasn't something she thought of on her own. So I don't see that as evidence in her favor of being an informed consumer & not just going along with whatever doc says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I find it interesting that people here missed that she got evidence from an (unpublished) study that a birth plan correlates to an increased risk of c-section. Again, not an unthinking approach to this question of anxiety.
I think someone on this thread already said that she's almost looking for evidence that we natural birthers are crazy hippies (and she, therefore, still doesn't want to attempt to join our ranks.) I actually know a lot of hospitals and OBs encourage birth plans. I would bet there are a lot more HCPs in favor of, or at least mostly neutral on the concept than there are HCPs who find them to be a bad thing. So the fact that she included that I think shows that she has already reached her conclusion (birth is uncontrollable & those who make attempts to try for a natural birth are silly) & simply looking for evidence to confirm her existing conclusion. That's not true thinking or analysis.

TRUE stats that would be relevant to the story are satisfaction ratings of women birthing in hospitals vs. HB or FSBC or in hospitals with MWs vs. OBs. Or CS rates in Western Europe vs. here. Or CS rates for MWs in hospital vs. OB (obviously all for low risk women so you're comparing "apples to apples."

It seems she is missing a great truth here - you WILL receive less intervention (including less risk of CS) with an HCP who practices evidence-based care. Heck, even if you don't even try too hard - just picking a good HCP & birth location improves your odds tremendously.

And you also CAN increase your odds of having an HCP who will treat you with respect & kindness, regardless of any needs for intervention. You just have to shop around.

Again, you can increase your odds of a good experience, you just have to shop around. I feel like this is a truth she still doesn't comprehend. & that's a big shame. And THAT is the truth I feel like women need to know.
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
I think someone on this thread already said that she's almost looking for evidence that we natural birthers are crazy hippies (and she, therefore, still doesn't want to attempt to join our ranks.) I actually know a lot of hospitals and OBs encourage birth plans. I would bet there are a lot more HCPs in favor of, or at least mostly neutral on the concept than there are HCPs who find them to be a bad thing. So the fact that she included that I think shows that she has already reached her conclusion (birth is uncontrollable & those who make attempts to try for a natural birth are silly) & simply looking for evidence to confirm her existing conclusion. That's not true thinking or analysis.
Well, we all read through our own filters. What I see (and freely admit my experience has coloured this) is that the when people go looking for NCB information, particularly after a bad experience, what they get is so out there, shaming, and blaming -- and so far from their own narrative and understanding -- that they reject it wholesale.

Threads like these always remind me why I ended up with a very traditional OB in a high-tech hospital - who really, truly supported me in the most natural second delivery possible.
post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegBoz View Post
Get educated, find out about "evidence-based care," try to make sure you're getting it (because it is not the "default" setting), and advocate for yourself!
I don't disagree with this. I think this is the optimal approach to any healthcare decision.

I also think that the vehemence with which this message is promoted in NCB can be intimidating to someone encountering it for the first time. And I think there are broader perspectives that also are worth our consideration.

My perspective is that not everyone is approaching their birth optimally in part because access to information and the power to change your decisions based on that information is a privilege that not everyone has in this society. Many women are stuck, not because they don't have information or because they're not trying to advocate for themselves, but because there are compelling factors beyond their information or desires that have huge influence on what they are able to do.

Insurance policies, hospital policies, state laws...these things matter, and the harder a woman has to fight a system that is pitted against her best interests, the harder it's going to be for her to have an optimal experience, no matter how educated she is and how much she advocates for herself.

I'm not saying that women should give up responsibility and just submit to the system. I am saying that individual women alone cannot do all the work. We need systemic change.

I also think that long-time NCB advocates have been looking at these issues from so many angles for so long, and the picture seems so clear, that it can be easy to forget that for a woman first thinking about childbirth, things can be overwhelming and unclear. There is a ton of information about childbirth out there. It takes a lot of intellectual rigor to sort through the good science and the bad. Not everyone finds their way to NCB effortlessly and immediately discovers the "right" books. For many of us, finding our way through all the birth info is a long and winding journey, and for some of us, there are some pretty difficult experiences driving our inquiry.

For me, that's a clear reason to approach any woman's story with humility and compassion.

One last thought (see, I'm writing a novel, too!). It's too bad that people have silly stereotypes about natural birthers, but it's a pretty typical response to the Other. And sure, many of us look (and smell) like any average person, but our ideas are revolutionary. Depending on where you're coming from, those ideas can be pretty "out there."

I'll admit that when I first learned about UC, it was like learning that there are women who can fly. It seemed completely amazing and preposterous at the same time, and honestly, I had trouble believing that anyone would want or try to do it. Now that I've learned more, I understand where women who make that choice are coming from, and it makes more sense to me. But learning more hasn't led me to believe that it would ever be the right choice for me.

So I guess I understand women who "don't get" the NCB message at first, and I also understand that some women are going to get a lot of information and conclude that NCB isn't right for them.

I don't think we sacrifice any of our power by listening more or by bringing more compassion and humility into how we deliver our message.
post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Well, we all read through our own filters. What I see (and freely admit my experience has coloured this) is that the when people go looking for NCB information, particularly after a bad experience, what they get is so out there, shaming, and blaming -- and so far from their own narrative and understanding -- that they reject it wholesale.
That's a shame & I'm sorry that has been your experience. & I'm sorry if anyone has that experience. It's a shame. It's wrong.

I think the best case scenario is that we all can tailor our message to the person we're communicating with.
For example, if I meet someone who's already PG or already has kids, I'll be really delicate around the subject of birth if it comes up. Maybe just to say I had a natural birth & it rocked! Since, IMX, there just aren't that many people who say natural birth (or birth overall!) can be positive! The prevailing belief is, "Why go through all that pain if I don't have to?" as well as "Natural birth makes as much sense as natural dentistry!"
So here, standing in front of you, is someone who's not totally insane or hippy & had a natural birth she enjoyed. So ask me Qs if you like.

However, with women who aren't PG or even in the middle of trying, I DO admit that I WILL try to warn them! Again, I think warnings are necessary.

So if I say, essentially,
1. "Get educated or you may be subjected to bad things."
(Yet again, that is not to say that getting educated guarantees you will not have a bad experience.)

Do you think that's the same as saying,

2. "If you have had a bad experience, it is partially your own fault."????

In other words, is it even possible say sentence #1 without also communicating the idea of sentence #2?


Are they the the same message?

If so, that's really a shame, because that's not what I mean. It's also a shame because I can tell you I don't plan to stop saying sentence #1. My sense of righteousness won't let me shut-up.

When I got PG, I never knew a single soul who had any desire for natural birth. I knew some who'd had 2nd babies without an epidural because there was no time & they were pissed! That was it.

I started pregnancy honestly thinking the same as above, "Of course I'll get the epidural! I've got nothing to prove!" BUT FOR ONE DISCUSSION.... One tiny flicker from years past...

Friends of friends at a weekend getaway - a PhD reproductive epidemiologist & an RN were chatting. They said the CS rate in the US is high and higher than other industrialized nations. I remember the PhD lady saying, "Don't let them section you for FTP! We don't even know what normal labor curves are!"
That is about all I remembered. That was it.

So I reasoned that if the US CS rate is higher than elsewhere, it's probably higher than it needs to be, which means some women have CS that aren't truly necessary. So how do I make sure I'm not one of them? That was my one and only goal - avoid a CS. THAT is what got me to order "Thinking Woman's Guide" & THAT is what got me switching to MWs & taking Bradley training.

I type out this long story to illustrate a point: Had it not been for that discussion at a party years ago, I probably would have gone down a horrible path. Honestly, I want to scream, throw stuff & then cry thinking about it. I probably would have read my copy of "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" & other books like the one published by ACOG that my MW's office gave me a copy of. I probably would have attended birth class at the hospital & with all of that, considered myself "educated."

That's the other thing that kills me about birth in America today - even if you DO make efforts to get educated, they don't always truly lead to you being fully informed (since they don't tell you about the chasm between evidence & practice that exists.) So it is THAT fact that I feel so compelled to warn women about (the fact that anti-evidence-based practice is really the norm.)

Then I probably would have been induced at 41W because of the "Dead baby card" (increased risk of still birth.) And, well, we all know what happens when first-time-moms are induced. I think I heard the CS rate for induction in FTMs is around 50% (not sure about that stat, but I know it is high.) Again,

I just can't help but continue to shudder thinking of what would have happened if I hadn't heard that conversation at a party years ago. I can't stop my feeling of wanting to WARN other women.

After I typed this all up & proofed it - I guess I really see your point that "we all read through our own filters." Because in my experience, I see a horrible outcome if I had NOT gotten adequately educated, but had a great experience thanks to my education (and, of course, thanks to pure luck too, since that's a significant factor.)

Again, for me personally, the education didn't guarantee a good outcome, but I feel strongly that had I stayed on my 1st trimester path (pre-education), a bad outcome WAS a guarantee for me!

(I can't imagine I would have been emotionally comfortable being tied to monitors. I'm honestly sick at the thought - cEFM + "nothing by mouth" & IV were standard for all births at Johns Hopkins. So even if I'd managed to birth vaginally, & even if I'd managed to birth without an epidural, I'm pretty confident it would not have been a joyful experience.)
post #40 of 72
Responsibility, not blame

There is a difference!

What I believe is that whatever happens in our lives, we share responsibility with all others involved, including institutions, for what occurs. If I was 'there', where and when things occurred, then I was part of the unfolding of events--for better and for worse.

Whether through intention or just getting caught up unaware in things, whether planned/considered or spontaneous/accidental, we are all busy every minute creating the things that happen. We are all busy co-creating, with all others/institutions, all events and trends, actively or passively.

So, saying that someone could have done things differently, saying that in some ways a person contributed to her own disappointment or even trauma at birth, IS NOT THE SAME AS BLAMING HER!

You know, some terrible things have happened to me in this life--including one birth I experienced as traumatic in various ways (even though in other ways it was what it needed to be). In any event, people and institutions have at times in my life influenced events in ways that were bad for me--sad, or infuriating, disruptive of my family, my peace and finances and whatever else (not counting natural losses or disasters, but the kind people create together). And with those things, *sometimes* it has been very clear that I was not to blame--could not have controlled others or institutions, was working actively toward what I felt were positive, win-win outcomes. Or, like the woman of this story, was just trying to trust in others and institutions to take care of me as a simple part of common social agreements and common expectations of courtesy, respect, safety, etc--like the author of that story. Sometimes it has been clear that I was just doing my best with a good-enough heart and intentions...was really 'not to blame' for what happened...clear that others either acted very badly indeed (viciously, selfishly, whatever) or were too passive for their own or anyone else's good.

And still...and still!

The only way I know of to move forward, to help heal hurts and become more effective and joyful in this life is to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. To claim an ability to respond--to respond more effectively in future--to look at what happened, who was involved, where my own thoughts and trust were at, etc. I do this all toward claiming my power more fully, and figuring out how I might change my own thoughts/behaviors henceforward, all toward more peaceable, healthy, joyful events and days.

Because while there is much in this life we really can't control, one thing I am convinced of: we do have power, and we are always exercising it one way or another. We do have the capacity to create and co-create, which includes the ability to look at things differently than before, and to imagine new possibilities, influence new outcomes for ourselves/families. We CAN choose, we ARE choosing all the time....and can utilize that power of choice to better our lives. What better time than following a loss/tragedy/trauma to reconsider our own power, our own choices and actions and trust?

No, we don't entirely control birth--it is one of those things in life that requires about as much surrender as it does pro-active approach, one of those things that we can be as much 'subjected to' as 'creator of'.

And still--anyone CAN take responsibility for a birth outcome in some ways, toward more confidence and empowerment in future births (whatever our future-birth choices might be, and whatever birth deals out despite our best efforts to prepare). Indeed, the only way to gain confidence and empowerment toward better births--along with true peace and healing in time-- is to take responsibility for those that went before.

NOT BLAME! One might 'blame' that woman for not taking birth seriously enough at first, and trusting institutions too much for her own good. And one might also encourage her to look at what happened just for the purpose of seeing where her trust was possibly misplaced, how she might have better prepared herself, what place she gives her own power/decision-making in birth, what she really wants from birth...and these things are well-known to help women have better future birth experiences.

Since birth is NOT controllable, and people/institutions are not foolproof, and life guarantees only that we will know sorrow and anger along with joy and love, sometimes 'taking responsibility' mainly means letting go and moving on. Means acknowledging that a loss or disruption occurred 'just because', despite our own and all others most loving and best intentions/efforts; means forgiving oneself, and other players, for being merely human, and accepting that there just is no way to make everything perfect all the time.

To me it is so essential in this era of birth that women DO take responsibility for their births--for their own and children's health and happiness. And again, it does not mean taking the blame (or giving them the blame). It means claiming our innate and ever-ongoing ability to respond in our lives. We are always responding, and always responsible in some ways--no matter what is happening around us or to us. Whether or not we are 'to blame' for things, no matter how much 'to blame' others are for their input, we ourselves are always responding and responsible, we always have the power to choose our responses as we shape/co-shape our lives. And claiming that responsibility to me is the way toward being free: NOT bound by blame, but free to choose my life and feelings.

As for the author of that birth story, seems to me she got a wake-up call with her first birth! And doesn't quite know what to do with it yet But at least she is thinking about it. Which is the first step/s in Taking Responsibility...NOW, she has a better chance of creating a birth she can be happy with
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Birth and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors?