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Homebirth and Oppression of Women - Page 2

post #21 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyMommy


Well said and unfortunate.

Yes, I do love being a freak and I do hope that some of my choices may have a ripple effect "out there."

I that my kids don't understand why some Moms go to the hospital instead of staying home in the hot tub and I that they saw a crib the other day and asked why people put babies in cages.
that is so wonderful about your kids! i have to agree with you that i kinda like the shock and awe affect when you tell someone you had a homebirth. i like making people think there's another option out there. they usually get a whole lecture on the benefits of homebirth and all the horrid hospital facts.
post #22 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
Anna, I loved what you posted but hope you will allow my slightly different perspective. I don't think birthing at home vs. in the hospital is what is a particularly critical differentiator of a woman taking back her body and owning her birth. I think being in charge, informed, and making informed choices, owning what happens to you every step of the way is far more powerful. This is not intended to dismiss homebirthing as a radical feminist act, but I think a woman can be just as radical and just as feminist and still choose to have a hospital birth. I think the important thing is not being a sheep led by a male, mainstream OB and instead making your own well researched, well informed decisions and choices about what is best for YOUR OWN body, your pregnancy, your birth, and your baby.

p.s., I hated Misconceptions too (I thought I was the only one!)
See, I used to think that too and on a personal, one-to-one level I in some sense belive that women should do what makes them most comfortable. I think though that the reason hospitals make women more comfortable (or give the illusion of comfort) is that we have been brainwashed by our culture and our history (written by the historically male obstetric community and awash in its propaganda) to believe that hospitals offer that insurance of technology which will save you from the flaws of genetics. The truth is that these technologies are used almost indiscriminantly and cause more harm than good.

The statistics indicate that the second you walk into a hospital your risk of a cesarean increases by 30% (or so, given the hospital/OB/CNM's specific stats). This does not even bring into the equation the risk of injury to mother and baby (episiotomy, oxygen deprivation due to rapid cord-cutting, unnecessary bruising, infection, starvation/dehydration, interferance with breastfeeding, etc.) or the risks of interferance with the essential hormonal balance that giving birth brings for mother and child.

My point is that I do not believe that for most normal, healthy, "low-risk" mothers that the decision could possibly be entirely researched and informed and still indicate a hospital delivery. Not for a minute. And I won't call anyone who chooses that route radical and I can no longer believe that they really understand the full scope of their oppression.
post #23 of 144
Well said Anna. :
post #24 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss
My point is that I do not believe that for most normal, healthy, "low-risk" mothers that the decision could possibly be entirely researched and informed and still indicate a hospital delivery.
Agreed. But this isn't every woman - not by a mile - so what to make of women with preterm labor, high BP, diabetes, health problems, breech presentations, multiples, footling breech presentations, placenta previa, placenta accreta, TTTS, babies with severe birth defects that will require immediate medical care, the list goes on. And while some women who do not fall into this "normal, healthy, 'low risk'" category may still successfully have homebirths, others may choose a hospital birth. It's about knowing what is best for YOUR OWN body, birth, and baby, and even if you are the most high risk woman in the world, not letting your birth happen to you, but still owning your choices and doing your research.
post #25 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
Agreed. But this isn't every woman - not by a mile - so what to make of women with preterm labor, high BP, diabetes, health problems, breech presentations, multiples, footling breech presentations, placenta previa, placenta accreta, TTTS, the list goes on. And while some women who do not fall into this "normal, healthy, 'low risk'" category may still successfully have homebirths, others may choose a hospital birth. It's about knowing what is best for YOUR OWN body, birth, and baby, and even if you are the most high risk woman in the world, not letting your birth happen to you, but still owning your choices and doing your research.
Absolutely. Given extraordinary circumstances, things get cloudy. I think though that there are ways to understand and treat those extraordinary circumstances that make them not so extraordinary, which is even more radical, really. Approaching midwifery with a real, solid trust of birth (even though it may not always yield perfect results) makes a lot of these issues part of the whole of it. There are different ways of looking at it. What is really, legitimately a risk? Practicing evidence-based care changes how we view all these supposed problems.

I also want to add that I don't blame anyone for where they are at in their lives or for being oppressed and making choices that are different than my own. That's not what this is about. I recognize how difficult it is for most women to step outside of the box (at every level, especially as things get cloudy). I certainly wouldn't categorize myself as having started out radical (though I was certainly way ahead of most having been born at home, being the daughter of a midwife and having studied feminist issues at Antioch College, known for its radicalism), but I have been radicalized by my parenting journey. I am still on my way. The realizations are coming though, as evidenced by my ranting.
post #26 of 144


That was beautiful!
post #27 of 144
Thread Starter 
I also need to mention that all of this is of course a very privileged perspective to take. Most women don't even know they're in the box, or as in the case of the really really oppressed and impoverished, are so far outside of it, they don't even have the option of consistent care at all, let alone the possibility of seeking alternatives.
post #28 of 144
Quote:
Agreed. But this isn't every woman - not by a mile - so what to make of women with preterm labor, high BP, diabetes, health problems, breech presentations, multiples, footling breech presentations, placenta previa, placenta accreta, TTTS, babies with severe birth defects that will require immediate medical care, the list goes on
Hi, I am not sure if this is what you meant, but I felt the need to point out the breech presentations and mutiples don't automatically mean hosptial birth. Plenty of breech babies and twins are born at home.
post #29 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancymom
Hi, I am not sure if this is what you meant, but I felt the need to point out the breech presentations and mutiples don't automatically mean hosptial birth. Plenty of breech babies and twins are born at home.
Yup... I think I said as much in my post. But "plenty of" doesn't mean all.
post #30 of 144
hmmm. well, i love this discussion. mostly i sit on the fence. i just don't know. i feel a lot of the time that the actual reason for MY medical intervention (first babe, induction, pre-e) was not physical. what i wanted to post earlier is this:
we planned an unassisted home birth with our first baby. we planned it thoroughly, talked to others who'd done the same, read a million books on the subject, even had our nurse midwife's blessing (we thought). we really were going to do it, without reservation. before i ever had a single doubt my mil called. and she called. and called. and my fil called. and called their son (dh) at work. and they prayed that we would come to our senses. they were relentless. they said things that you cannot imagine. horrible terrifying things. eventually that seed of doubt was planted firmly. i started, unconsiously, to look for a way out. if you asked my mil today she would swear up and down that it was her praying that saved our lives. if you ask me i would say that much negative energy sure can affect a person. i do not believe i had pre-eclampsia at all. (i really wasn't sick, my bp was within normal, a bit of protein showed up) but, the midwife was looking for the same way out. they said pre-e, induce... i couldn't say no.
for all the reasons you are talking about anna. fear mostly. and sitting here today healthy with 3 healthy boys, who am i to regret, doubt? but i do. the fear is what landed me in the hospital. and once there, you are just a sitting duck. you are surrounded by life saving instruments. but you are not safe. it is an illusion. an addictive illusion.
despite all my wanting, all dh's wanting, we never got a home birth. that fear took over me and everyone was always supporting it. without even meaning to i think, people, like many here, people who believed in homebirth, were throwing their own beliefs to the side, unwilling to question my fear. no body ever wants to really jump over that fence and say, "hey, come on, do it at home. you can do it." but a million and one people will stand on the other side beckoning you to enter the safety of their hospital room... where babies are lost every minute.
yes, it is all about fear. everybody wants a healthy living baby. but at what cost? i could list for you at least a thousands points of disappointment, regret, grief, loss, sadness, anger... over my hospital births. i will always feel a heaviness in my soul for never having gotten to experience the feeling of my membranes rupturing spontaneously, and getting to get down on my hands and knees with my husband beside me as we explored the mess and cleaned it up.
once in the hospital situation labor turns into a timed event, even with the best midwife. it turns into a competition. you and the clock. you and death. you are just lying there thinking, okay, come on, lets get this going. by my last birth, i requested my water be broken! just to speed things up. like it weren't a beautiful event that should be respected in its progression, however slow, fast, or intense.
i consider myself lucky to have come through 3 hospital births with an intact sense of the dignity of child birth. with the good sense to still mention to EVERY ONE we meet, "we were planning a homebirth. we wish we had just done it despite the complications."
allright, enough. i want to add quickly about this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss
My point is that I do not believe that for most normal, healthy, "low-risk" mothers that the decision could possibly be entirely researched and informed and still indicate a hospital delivery.
Agreed. But this isn't every woman - not by a mile - so what to make of women with preterm labor, high BP, diabetes, health problems, breech presentations, multiples, footling breech presentations, placenta previa, placenta accreta, TTTS, babies with severe birth defects that will require immediate medical care, the list goes on. And while some women who do not fall into this "normal, healthy, 'low risk'" category may still successfully have homebirths, others may choose a hospital birth. It's about knowing what is best for YOUR OWN body, birth, and baby, and even if you are the most high risk woman in the world, not letting your birth happen to you, but still owning your choices and doing your research.
I am not in my post suggesting that the above listed problems are all in a woman's head and they should just have a homebirth and damn the consequences. I do not feel that way for myself or anyone. I do feel that in my experience, I should have, it was in my head. Just want to pre-clarify that. :
And yes, it is what is best for you. I just can't stress enough: we had support, research, brains, hearts, motivation. But, my mil and fil's fear was heavier than all that. It infected us. I think a lot of women face this. The weightiness of the people standing on one side screaming FEAR and the gentleness of people like us on the other saying, do what is best for you. The FEAR wins. I know you are just suggesting a more compassionate way of easing women over to the side of informed birth, and no one can say that is a bad thing. It is a great thing. Occassionally though, doesn't someone's passion for homebirth need to motivate others? Damn, i wish i had talked to someone as passionate about it as annakiss, maybe i would have gotten the guts to do it, at least with the last two.
post #31 of 144
here's hoping i didn't kill the thread with my incoherent ranting ... :
please feel free to ignore my post and continue your discussion... my fingertips get ahead of my head sometimes.
post #32 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss
See, I used to think that too and on a personal, one-to-one level I in some sense belive that women should do what makes them most comfortable. I think though that the reason hospitals make women more comfortable (or give the illusion of comfort) is that we have been brainwashed by our culture and our history (written by the historically male obstetric community and awash in its propaganda) to believe that hospitals offer that insurance of technology which will save you from the flaws of genetics....
I do not believe that for most normal, healthy, "low-risk" mothers that the decision could possibly be entirely researched and informed and still indicate a hospital delivery. Not for a minute. And I won't call anyone who chooses that route radical and I can no longer believe that they really understand the full scope of their oppression.
Couldn't have said it better myself. Although, if I told any of my clients that homebirthing is an act of feminist rebellion against the mysogynistic machine that is obstetrical medicine, I might drive them back to the hospitals! (that's another post entirely)
post #33 of 144
Annakiss, you go, girl!

I just recently was talking with a woman who at least recognized that in our community and for far around, it is once a c-section, always a c-section. She commented, "If you don't want one, you have to go underground, get a midwife." Something didn't exactly sit right with me with that comment, but your post has brought it to light- she doesn't view homebirth as a viable, better alternative. She views it as a last resort for those desperate ones. Therefore, my happy proclamation that I had a HB and am planning another simply meant to her that I am one of those desperate women who don't want to get cut again. Not that "homebirth rocks". I'm "underground", vs. proudly making a good decision for my baby and myself and my family.
post #34 of 144
No, Jenniey, you didn't kill the thread, and I don't think your ramblings are incoherent.

The fact that every time a homebirth is mentioned, even in the most "friendly" communities, there has to be metion of the "what ifs," is 100% evidence that birth is not trusted. Women's bodies aren't trusted. They can't grow babies. Yeah, homebirth is great, but many women aren't low risk.

To that I say, research the statistics. In the very few places where midwifery has been the standard, the complication rate is about 5%, with a 1.5% c-section rate. So, to the people who are always bringing forth the what-ifs, I say, but WHAT IF MY BODY WAS MADE TO DO THIS AND IT CAN?

Because that's my fundamental belief. We were created to do this, just as much as men were created to ejaculate. There's not a whole field of medicine and interventions out there dedicated to helping men ejaculate properly or safely, is there? Why are we the only ones who are so wholly unable to do what our bodies were so obviously created to do?? WHY?

Because we're women, and women are not valued.

I'll probably get flamed now. :
post #35 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981
Couldn't have said it better myself. Although, if I told any of my clients that homebirthing is an act of feminist rebellion against the mysogynistic machine that is obstetrical medicine, I might drive them back to the hospitals! (that's another post entirely)
Of course, if you said it as the hospital attempting to place men in the roles that G-d has ordained for women, would they handle it better. (oooo, watch SC make assumptions and leap for them!)
post #36 of 144
This is such a timely thread for me as I just had lunch with my old high school friend. We are both pregnant and both lawyers. I was telling her about interviewing midwives and my HB preparations. She said that she could never have a HB because she was afraid of pain. She then goes on to tell me about her first birth with an epideral, episiotomy, etc and how she got torn from stem to ster. And how she had the hardest time just walking for almost three months after. She didn't seem to be able to make the connection between her choices and consequences. That one type of "pain" may be good, far more temporary and far more safe. Of course she then went on to recommend "What to Expect When Expecting" all the way through the toddler years! I just politely smiled and nodded. There was no educating her now, but it is sad.
And I think the reason I myself became educated was because I saw friends like her getting literally torn up at the hospital and thought "there has to be a better way." I know of NO ONE who has had a homebirth. I have no one to talk to in real life as to what to expect. So I come here for the emotional support and the belief that yes, I can do it! Because this is what my body was made for!
post #37 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981
No, Jenniey, you didn't kill the thread, and I don't think your ramblings are incoherent.
thanks ms. charlotte... i'll pretend i just bumped it, and bump it again.

i really like what you wrote (not what i quoted, the other stuff in your post, ). i have felt that way for a long time now; you expressed it well.

we, as women, need a role model. a figure like the "old midwife" who we can take our cues from. dykwim?

oh, and lurve, i had that book, what to expect... someone gave it to me when pregnant the first time. when i went into my midwife's office (my good midwife who delivered my second two sons) and had some random concern (which i had inadvertently picked up from the fear mongering in that book) she gave my this look and said, did you read what to expect when expecting? and i said, shyly, yes. and she asked me to bring it in next time for her to look at. so i did. she asked me why i had held onto it. i told her that i had written a pseudo journal of our first son's pregnancy in the back. she flipped to it, tore out the pages and handed them to me and then took me and the book to her living room upstairs (she works out of her basement and delivers the babies in the hospital), where she quietly set the book afire in the hearth. i now it sounds funny and bold maybe, but it really affected me. like, i actually cried. somehow, seeing all of those pages of warnings and questions go up in flames just freed me from their power. i mean, yes, i still had my two sons in a hospital with her, but my pregnancies were not filled with worry and fear.
i wish that i had worked harder to find a midwife who would deliver at home, there aren't many around here (in VA), and not many anyhow who would work with my situation. but more than anything, i wish i had just done it ourselves. i feel like that is what she was trying to prepare me for. that is what she did herself 17 years ago.
post #38 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmie981
The fact that every time a home birth is mentioned, even in the most "friendly" communities, there has to be metion of the "what ifs,"
Right. But just as strongly the same-thinking converse is true. If you are planning a standard radicalized hospital birth Nobody (outside of MDC and other rare pockets of society that think the same way) brings up all the what ifs- What if you have a complication from epidural, forceps injury, etc. All of the 1%, .5%, 3% or whatever risk there is from these sorts of things is smoothed over, considered a very very tiny chance not worth thinking about. But with HB suddenly a .5% risk of complication X is HUGE, very dangerous, and simply Must consume you with dread.
post #39 of 144
Quote:
My point is that I do not believe that for most normal, healthy, "low-risk" mothers that the decision could possibly be entirely researched and informed and still indicate a hospital delivery. Not for a minute. And I won't call anyone who chooses that route radical and I can no longer believe that they really understand the full scope of their oppression.
I totally agree.
post #40 of 144
nice post
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