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Homebirth and Oppression of Women - Page 5

post #81 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss
ARGH! No, I meant "scolopamine" which was a psychoactive drug they used to give birthing women to make them forget their pain (but it also made them completely crazy while they birthed like they were on acid or something). I was talking about the history of childbirth and how obstetrics has tortured women and how we think that in this modern age we're somehow immune to that sort of barbary, when in fact we are not, it has merely been disguised better.

I could not possibly recreate the post. It's hard for me to remember what I was saying. I have not had much time to even be online, so I have missed many opportunities to sit with my thoughts on these matters further. I have to clean my house now...
Yep hon, you better clean that house, you know I'll be there with my white gloves on tonight!

I've been thinking about this tread today, and I've decided that it is very empowering for a woman to be strapped down, hooked up to monitors and IVs, deprived of food, squeesed by a BP cuff periodiclly, and have various people sticking their finger up her yoni and making absurd proclamations about the "progress" she is making! Not to mention the very enlightening aspects of being cut and torn to make room for hands that shouldn't be there to begin with, and then being stitched up nice and tightly! I don't know about you, but I'm thinking this treatment is certian to give her that boost of self confidence and creativity that she will need to mother her child, and fuction as whole woman in this mixed up society. I don't know, maybe I'm just jaded.
post #82 of 144
I agree with Periwinkles and Maxmama's points. Sometimes, even for totally healthy women, a hospital is the best, most empowering place to be. An example: I have a planned HBAC in November, hopefully in water. My midwife may accept delivering breech presentation at home, but I do not. That is my choice. If the presentation is breech during labor, I will do whatever I can to try and change the position. I'll use a rebozo, lean down the stairs.... That is being given a less than ideal situation and trying to do something about it.

I could stay at home and birth breech. But I do not like the idea at all of holding in my urge to push for an hour or so, while my 15"+ head circumfrenced baby can get enough room to fit. Even if I wouldn't have to wait an hour, the idea of the possibility is uncomfortable to me. It doesn't mean it is, or should be, uncomfortable for other women. But my choice, at that point, would be to transfer to the hospital for a cesarean. Yes, I know the risks for cesarean. For me, this would be the best choice for my body, but also my mind. I believe this is truely empowering, to make the choices I deem best, and to be respected by those around me to comply with my request.

On a slightly different note, I want to say thanks Barbara for pointing out that regardless homebirth or hospital, we don't have REAL choices in childbirth. I'm in Denmark, which is supposed to be one of the best, pro-woman, pro-midwife places to be. But I am going underground, in order to have a midwife for a homebirth! Nothing odd here, I'm perfectly healthy.... one previous cesarean... but no, can't homebirth, and if I could "officially" it would be with a total stranger I have never met before, whom I am just supposed to accept into my home and HOPE she will know everything about me and respect my wishes.

Allison
post #83 of 144
After my second birth, in hospital with a good midwife who was in control of the hospital, i felt like, Hey, maybe the hospital isn't so bad.
Then i had the third boy.
The hospital is bad. if you lose control for one milisecond all of that stuff that should just be a given: who touches you, where, when, how, why, who touches your baby, where, when, why.... do you get to hold your baby? how long do you have to sit in a wheel chair in a nursery bleeding and shaking so no one does anything unwanted to your newborn who isn't allowed to leave or they will call cps on you?
My dh had to go home. He had to watch our boys. I was alone, 4 hours after birth. My midwife went home. My ped was at home sleeping. There was nothing wrong with our baby. NOTHING.
But, the nurses, they had a grudge. They wanted to give my baby a bath. Why? Control? It is the only thing they like to do? So, they kept him.
Someone came into my hospital room at 4:15 in the morning and took him from the room... from my bed where we were sleeping. I woke up frantic. I got out of bed and fell on my face. I was crying, sobbing, the lights were out i couldn't find the door. i looked under the bed, in their plastic baby basinet. he was no where. i went out into the hall in my paper gown with my bloody behind hanging out.
I found him in the nursery, screaming so hard he could barely breath. They had him for 15 minutes. They had bathed him, given him shots, x-rayed him, taken his blood, taken his picture, put him in a disposable diaper. I ran to him terrified and checked to see that he was still intact. (he was)

I have never written of this experience. I am sorry if I am being emotional. This is too raw and I wasn't going to talk about it until I processed it.

The hospital that I trusted took advantage of me. Me! I don't know what to say. You can have a good experience in the hospital, but that doesn't change the reality of them. Just wait until your midwife isn't there. Your husband. Your friends. Take that security blanket away and you will be treated worse then the woman who takes the epidural and the nursery care. They hate you when you don't play by their rules.

You want to know the best part? I called my husband from the nursery. He called my midwife and our ped (a great guy, btw). He brought the boys. They all showed up at the same time and the nurses started shaking in their little white padded shoes. Know who they feared? The men. We left 2 hours later. They were not going to let me leave. They take advantage of you when you are down, alone. And then they hide it. They hide themselves. They cry and apologize and say they misunderstood your wishes. And for one horrible sick second, you believe them.

That ladies, that is oppression.

ps. as i said, i know i am being emotional. please do not feel obligated to tip toe around this post. i say these things not for pity.
post #84 of 144
What an interesting thread! :

Quote:
The entire medical establishment sees women as a whole as broken. They are ready to tear out our insides and throw them aside at a moments notice whenever we show any sign of anything being "wrong". I want to scream and raise holy hell every time my mother-in-law tells me I should "have everything removed" after I have kids because I have HPV and had a cancer scare (which, by the way was when I really had to fight - to keep them from removing a chunk of my cervix. I was kicked out of my Dr's practice by certified letter, and it was a WOMAN doctor!)
I agree- isn't it around 1/3 of women will have a hysterectomy at some point in their lives? Isn't it telling that Dr.s see our sexual organs as totally useless other than childbearing? I bet none of them would be so quick to have their prostate or their testicles removed. : Who cares if the woman has a high risk of sexual dysfunction when all that matters is the male sexual response...
post #85 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by barbara
I've decided that it is very empowering for a woman to be strapped down, hooked up to monitors and IVs, deprived of food, squeesed by a BP cuff periodiclly, and have various people sticking their finger up her yoni and making absurd proclamations about the "progress" she is making! Not to mention the very enlightening aspects of being cut and torn to make room for hands that shouldn't be there to begin with, and then being stitched up nice and tightly! I don't know about you, but I'm thinking this treatment is certian to give her that boost of self confidence and creativity that she will need to mother her child, and fuction as whole woman in this mixed up society. I don't know, maybe I'm just jaded.
no wonder women look at me like some sort of crazy masochist when I describe ds's birth as empowering.
post #86 of 144
I dont think the traumatic hospital birth my sis had with my niece who has cerebral palsy considers that empowering.

I know several friends that had the typical hospital birth then homebirth with their second made them empowered that they felt they COULD infact do it without every intervention. Every friend that i have that had been through a situation like that all say the same thing. The hospital makes you feel as though you cant , you wont, you shouldnt bother trying, "big deal how you give birth as long as it healthy" ..SORRY but it IS A big deal how you are brought into this world AND being a former therapist with children that have disabilities and such IT DOES MATTER>

Michele
post #87 of 144
Allison,


As long as the baby wasnt transverse why would you choose major abdominal surgery over breech presentation? Who says which way is the right way to arrive: feet first or head first...


What scary is that eventually i think even all head first will be born c sect in a hospital

Michele
post #88 of 144
Plain and simple to me Empowering means to let your body whole heartly do what it needs to naturally. THose that choose interventions as choice ( not for emergencies) epidurals and such I dont see how that is truly empowering ( just because YOU FEEL you made the choice. Empowering comes from within ( for me anyway) and if i was drugged, ripped open i dont think I COULDNT personally feel empowered. (even if it was an emergency csect.) though maybe im just to hard on myself.....
michele
post #89 of 144
Michelle - I actually think that in Allison's case, a somewhat borderline one (hbac, possible breech), it's perfectly ok and normal to consider hospital birth and a cesarean. It's probably not the choice I would make, but I don't know 'cause I'm not there, and who knows if she'd feel differently if we were in a society that trusted birth? And who knows if you'd feel differently if we had hospitals that were backups, as they should be, and acted to empower women, not oppress us?

Anyway, HBAC with a breech is NOT the same as no previous history of uterine surgery, vertex presentation. I don't think either previous c/sec or breech are the high risks OBs make them out to be, but they do each have their own risk, and capable women can make an evalution of said risk. And again, that's not what annakiss was talking about. You, Allison, are talking about hospitals exactly the way they should be talked about - as backups for your main gameplan. That's how it should be.
post #90 of 144
I think the saddest part for me about my whole experience with the hospital was the sense of betrayl I felt. My FEMALE OB (pregnant herself at the time and mother of at least one other child) coerced me into a c/s (apparantly "elective" on my part) because of her own fears and issues. My FEMALE ped guilted me into giving my son formula and sabotaged my efforts at breastfeeding even though she herself told me plenty of stories of her own nursing efforts. Why is it that some women (I know that it's not all - at least I hope it's not all of them) in the medical profession sucumb to the system?

I think a radical shift in the way we approach medicine (all medicine, not just birth) needs to take place. I agree with the op, there's no way that's going to happen until we strike where it hurts - their pocketbook!
post #91 of 144
I haven't read this whole thread, and I have to go. I just wanted to say...

I've had three c-sections that I didn't want. I don't feel empowered...I feel weak...just incredibly weak. Nobody had any faith in my body, and that lack of faith has proved contagious...I have it now, too. Despite that, if I have another baby, it will be a homebirth, because there's no way in hell that I'm going to bullies, ignored, dismissed and assaulted in the hospital again.

I'm not going to tell dd how or where to give birth when she's older. But, I will make damned sure that she knows about the advantages of homebirth, knows that it's possible (I didn't know anybody still birthed at home when I had ds1), knows that it's safe...I want her to birth where she's comfortable...not where an OB is comfortable. I want her baby to be her baby, right from the first second...not someone she has to share with the hospital staff and fight for her right to hold and nurse and cuddle and love...
post #92 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss

You can "use" the hospital system to your advantage but must remember that the culture of the medical profession is one of the expert: the patient is to surrender his/her body to their gaze, as Foucault said in "The Birth of the Clinic."
it's important to remember that a lot of midwives also fit into this "culture of the expert." And they need to be the expert even if it is a homebirth.

Let's take it further: simply by seeing a medical professional you as a woman acknowledge that you are, on some level submitting to an "expert" to put in their oar at times. Obviously with a hands-off midwife that dynamic is seriously lessened, but it's still there, else why have the midwife there in the first place? Now of course as an "empowered woman" you are gonna stand up for what you want, no matter if it's a doc or a midwife. But remember that just by inviting them to YOUR birth, you are basically acknowledging your need for that expertise.

Is that feeling of a need for the "expert" oppressive in and of itself to the free woman? You decide...
post #93 of 144
WHOOPS I didnt realize Allison was a HBAC


Michele
post #94 of 144
I don't personally see it that way. Things can go wrong at birth, and I do think someone who has seen a situation before, and isn't tired from labour is more likely to know what is wrong, and how to handle it. I mean... as a first-time mom, I didn't even realize that my baby was breech - I don't know if I'd have recognized a real problem, or not.
post #95 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I don't personally see it that way. Things can go wrong at birth, and I do think someone who has seen a situation before, and isn't tired from labour is more likely to know what is wrong, and how to handle it. I mean... as a first-time mom, I didn't even realize that my baby was breech - I don't know if I'd have recognized a real problem, or not.
Exactly--you acknowledge your need for an expert. Full disclosure: I too am having a health care professional at my labor, but the point is that I realize that to a certain degree there is a "giving in" if you will when you do that. I fully want to take control of my birth so no, I don't consider what I am doing oppressive to my womanhood in any way. But I do consider it limiting to my freedom because if I did give birth unhindered (i.e. UC) I wouldn't be opening the can of worms in the first place. Any complicating issue that came up would be my decision and my full responsibility, no midwife "expert" to rely on and consequently no one to battle with over power if it ever came down to it. I'm not mentally at the point of taking the UC plunge yet, but am exploring it. Right now I do feel comfortable relinquishing a bit of autonomy for the prescence of a midwife. Maybe later on or with #2 I'll change my mind

Point is, whether hospital with doc or home with midwife, prescence of authority makes a difference.
post #96 of 144
If you feel it as giving up of power, then sure, you are. But I don't see it that way, because I borrow more from the feminist collective, women supporting women traditions. I am not disempowered because I live an interdependent life - I am, mostly, more empowered by it. I don't consider independence to be the height of being nor the best goal of feminism, but rather living in a supportive, creative web of individuals who nurture each other and foster growth.
post #97 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by poetesss
Any complicating issue that came up would be my decision and my full responsibility, no midwife "expert" to rely on and consequently no one to battle with over power if it ever came down to it. I'm not mentally at the point of taking the UC plunge yet, but am exploring it. Right now I do feel comfortable relinquishing a bit of autonomy for the prescence of a midwife. Maybe later on or with #2 I'll change my mind

Point is, whether hospital with doc or home with midwife, prescence of authority makes a difference.
There isn't going to be an "authority" at my next birth (if any...I hope dh changes his mind). There's going to be a woman who has seen natural births, and medicalized births, and births that went wrong, and complications - and seen a fair number of each of those things. There's going to be a woman who has seen things that I have not, and who has some idea how to deal with things that I don't know how to deal with...and who can call 9-1-1, if I do happen to rupture. But, she's not going to be there to tell me what to do...she's going to be there to help me if I need it. I don't see that as giving up anything. I see it as acknowledging that things can go wrong. I see it as acknowledging that I have allowed my uterus to be damaged, and it may not be able to do what it exists to do.

I've given up enough of my autonomy to patronizing doctors and condescending nurses - never again.
post #98 of 144
Thanks to annakiss for starting this excellent thread and to others for adding to the great discussion.

IMO the largest problem is that women (from "the north" -- globally that is) are oblivious to the existence of this impervious discourse on birth and parenting. It is so ingrained and accepted that we have trouble seeing it for what it is: a system of control. (By discourse, I'm referring to the language and processes through which power is wielded). In this case it is rooted in our medical systems and "protocols" (i.e. doctors, hospitals, insurance) and it permeates throughout our social culture (including families and friends). The language we use, the way we discuss and refer to our own bodies, the terms that "experts" use when referring to us and the birth experience, even the way birth is depicted by popular celebrities -- all of this shapes the way we behave -- whether we like it or not. None of us are immune because this is the world/society we live in. And the favorite weapon of those in power in this discourse is this concept of fear. At the root of so many decisions is this nagging, pit-of-the-stomach, incessant threat that we have all been trained to swallow. Until we realize the incredible power of this discourse and figure out ways in which to transgress it, I think it is extremely difficult for birthing women to make genuinely empowered decisions. When we are all part of the machine, it is near impossible to think and act outside of it. As women I think we need to be constantly vigilant and aware of this pervasive, insidious discourse. It is not just about semantics, but instead about power. The juxtaposition of the spirituality and biology of birth (and that incredible part of it that you can just never describe to someone who hasn't experienced it) in contrast to this discourse, this system of control (which is also incredibly patriarchal) is just surreal when you really think about it.
post #99 of 144
I'm coming to this discussion late in the game ....

Just wanted to say thanks to Anna for starting this fascinating thread and to all who have shared their stories -- so much terrific food for thought!

Quote:
I think having to fight for your right to birth the way you want to birth is oppressive!
This quote encapsulates my feelings on the matter very nicely.

And what about that business of spending $80 at Target? Are you going to start another thread about that? :
post #100 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by OMama
(and that incredible part of it that you can just never describe to someone who hasn't experienced it)
I wish you could...I really do. I want to know...
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