i was reading a bit, and i did get an answer to my question as to "why women 'need' to be monitored."
the MW here mentions that MWs act as "life guards" in this situation, and that when she gave birth, she wasn't capable of being her own "life guard" and she didn't want her husband to have to be her "life guard."
so, this is interesting to me.
when i think of a life guard, i have two images in my mind:
1. professional life guards on the beaches in places such as Australia where the training and competition to be a life guard is intense, where you have risks such as sharks and other majorly dangerous sea creatures to deal with, and most of them have EMT or higher levels of training; and
2. teenagers at the local pool who have taken a weekend certification class that included CPR and first aid training. they learned to use some basic equipment (life saving devices, certain holds to draw someone out of the water, etc) and they learned the basic 'rules' of the pool itself.
beyond this, for the most part, the places where i tend to swim most are unguarded places. I should assert that i know how to swim, and i would consider myself a very strong swimmer. I am used to open water swimming--generally in places with few truly dangerous animals living in those waters (ie, i do not swim in bayou's very often--in fact, never).
now here's the thing. for the most part, lifeguards are necessary when we're talking about people who don't know how to swim, people who don't have a clear understanding of the risks of say--jumping on top of someone while they're swimming (i had this happen recently at a pool, where the teenaged 'life guard' didn't do a darn thing, even though she saw the kid jump on me. i grabbbed him and pulled him up--he said "sorry" and i said "don't do that, you could kill someone!" the lifeguard did nothing--so, i was, effectively, the life guard).
now, here's the thing. as a strong swimmer who understands basic water safety, knows CPR, and is generally well aware of her surroundings and capable of caring for herself, i don't see myself as a person who needs a life guard to swim in my back yard pool (i don't have one, but if i did). There are few risks to me swimming by myself in my back yard pool because 1. i know how to swim; 2. i'm informed about how to swim; 3. i trust that i can swim; and 4. i am capable of being aware of my surroundings, even when swimming.
so, i have this feeling that i dn't really "need" a "lifeguard" when i swim.
And in most ways, i feel the same about birth.
my body already knows how to do it, but i'm also "learning to swim" by learning about birth--talking to you, reading, watching videos, etc. While i haven't actually "gotten into the pool"--i assume that i hvae the nature skill and talent to swim.
having taught swimming lessons, i find that the biggest barrier to swimming is not anything physical (ie, arms not long enough to stroke, not enough body fat to maintain bouyancy, etc), but rather abject fear. people fear the water.
i never feared the water, honestly. i like the water. i want to be in the water. you can't keep me out of the water! LOL as a kid, i may not have had the awareness to understand the complexities of swimming--which is why i was told to never swim without an adult present. At 16, i was given permission to swim in open waters alone because it was understood or believed that i had the capacity to take care of myself while in the water. I also worked as a 'life guard' that summer at our neighborhood swimming hole (and yes, it was a paid position). it was a small lake.
so, here's the deal.
i'm smart. i'm unafraid. i'm educated. i'm healthy.
i'm not in a high risk situation (ie, no snakes on my homebirth such that i'd need a life guard to keep me safe from them).
i can birth.
why do i need a life guard?
i'm not seeking one. i don't need one (i can take care of myself--or i am my own life guard). i don't want my hsuband to be one.
just one of those perspective things, i guess.