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Do you think men should supervise birth? - Page 3

post #41 of 55

Civil Rights Act

I'm not trying to say that women have to be gender-neutral in picking a caregiver -- in fact, you can pick a caregiver for whatever reasons you want. I'm not trying to tell anybody to choose a caregiver that they aren't comfortable with, for whatever reason. What I am saying instead is that we can't have an outright ban against men from being midwives and doulas, as some people here would like to do, anymore than you can ban women from working in construction or as firefighters. And furthermore, I'm asserting that we should give men a chance in these roles, because the men who choose to be midwives, despite all the shit they get for making that decision, are probably very devoted excellent caregivers. But that's not to say you have to take advantage of the services they offer... you can always go someplace else.
post #42 of 55
There is a wife/husband team of midwives at the clinic I chose for my birth. I was hesitant to take a chance that the man could be the one to deliver my baby until I met him - he is really, really wonderful. In fact, I wish he had been the one to deliver my baby instead of the woman who did (not his wife, another midwife in the practice). My sister had a male midwife she really loved, too.

That said, I would still probably choose a female midwife. I choose female dentists, female doctors, female painters, female plumbers! But, I think there are a few select, very special men who can cut it as midwives.
post #43 of 55
Tara were your midwives Felice & Morgan?
post #44 of 55
Yup! You, too?
post #45 of 55
Yep! Felice was at my labor but decided 24 hrs into it that we needed to go to hospital...ugh! But we are healthy now! So was yours Morgan? It was a nice experience with them.
post #46 of 55
Yes, Morgan was at my birth. We also transferred to the hospital after 24 hours, and I can second your ugh. I really liked Felice & Rick.
post #47 of 55
Thread Starter 
As Amywillo said:

So I guess my thinking now is that in the mainstream hospital birthing world, there can be plenty of forward-thinking, gentle men and women, and just as many that are hideous. In the natural birth setting, however, where women are in touch with their own bodies and birth isn't a medicated procedure to be performed on a mother, I think it is more natural to have female attendants. I would think that men who believed in this model would naturally defer to women as the ones better suited to be midwives.
Such an excellent point! Very much my own feelings.

Hypatia, you said you never discrimate for a job based on gender. We can discriminate based on experience though, can't we? A man will never experience childbirth, menstruation, or lactation. He does not have the potential to understand these issues as deeply as woman who has been through them. The inexperience of men has been a real factor behind the violent nature of contemporary female health care. An individual cannot fully value an issue they cannot fully experience. It is that simple.

The comparison of midwives to firefighters is bogus. Midwifery is about birth, an issue facing women exclusively. Firefighting is about putting out fires...hardly gender specific unless men start shooting fire from their BVD's.

When women denounce the existence of any special knowledge made privy to them by experiencing those things given exclusively to them, insisting that any man can easily equal or surpass their understanding, they hurt only themselves. There has been no trade off...giving men the dominant voice in female health for the last century has pushed women off the very platform from which they stood the best chance of being respected and heard.

Think about it. On what issue *do* men consider women to be the ultimate authority? Pretty scary, isn't it?

post #48 of 55

discriminating on the basis of experience

I think you can discriminate on the basis of experience only if you think it's essential for somebody to have experienced these things (pregnancy, menstruation, etc.) in order to be help people through them. And if that's the case, then you need to discriminate against childless women, women who've only had C-sections, etc. In fact, you should probably also discriminate against women who haven't had a C-section, too, because how do they know it's so bad if they haven't experienced it? There's such a variety of births that it's hard to say that someone knows what your birth feels like, just because they've given birth themselves. Clearly, it's helpful if your caregiver has experienced birth. But can I imagine an excellent caregiver who hasn't borne a child? Yes.
post #49 of 55
Thread Starter 
Hypatia--as I already said, I think being female gives you an edge in your potential to fully understand/appreciate female health issues. I fail to see where anyone has explained why this *isn't* true. The experience of being female is what I am refering to as "experience", which includes but isn't limited to ovulation, birth, and lactation. I can imagine someone who isn't female being a competent birth attendant. That does not contradict my belief, that the potential for females to fully understand/appreciate female health issues is much stronger than a man's potential. Why is that controversial?

post #50 of 55
I had my dh as my coach for labor and delivery and he was wonderful! If I'd had my mother there, I probably would've killed her. My nurse was just awful. She asked me questions during my contractions, and told me not to do grip the bed rails during contractions because my arms would be sore the next day. They weren't! (oh, the gripping helped as counterpressure!) My original ob/gyn was male, and great....was the only one in our area who believed in no interventions if possible (delivered a friends twins vaginally....most just want a c/section). One ob/gyn i went to before pregnancy who was female was gentle, but they didn't want my husband in the room with me. Wierd people.
All I know, is to do what feels right to you, give your opinion to people if asked, and let them decide what's right for them.

post #51 of 55
Since I was old enough to choose my own caregivers, I have always had female doctors, and if I can help it, always will. I just feel more comfortable with it (goes for therapists too).

My midwife for my first pregnancy had never been pregnant or had kids, and she was the most wonderful person I have ever met! Her not having given birth herself sure as heck didn't stop her from being great. We had the same midwife with dd2, and in the meantime she had had a child of her own, and it really didn't make a difference. She was just as wonderful and caring the second time around. To the point where I only want a third if she is still practising!
post #52 of 55
I still stand by what I said before (whoever makes you comfy) but I have to say that I just read birth without violence and that book gives me the creeps big time!! It's not that I don't agree with lots of what he says, it's just in how he says it and how he thinks he knows exactly what is going through the minds of women and babies during birth. I don't know. It bugged me. I dont' think anyone should presume to know such a thing if they haven't been there, much less a man.
post #53 of 55
My response to the question "Should men supervise birth?" is a big no, absolutely not, because I don't think anyone should be "supervising" birth. I think midwives should be supporting birth.

I have hired a male midwife for our home waterbirth--my 2nd baby is due in a couple of weeks. If you had told me at the beginning of this pregnancy that I would hire a male midwife, I would have said you are crazy, since I have a lot of similar emotions about the males I've encountered in obstetrics to most of the posting in this string. But this guy is the right person for the job. He basically sees his job as sitting quietly in the corner. I've learned from him that deep respect for the natural processes of birth can come in either gender. I should mention that I have hired a doula who has had two babies--it was still important to me to have a woman "who has been there" in the room with me and my husband.

My first baby, my beautiful son, is the product of an ugly hospital birth (I live and I learn...). The two most unsupportive, angry, tense, over-worked characters in that birth story were both women. I think American obstetrics/institutionalized birth saps the humanity out of all involved, male or female.

Midwives should be at births, not doctors. And the right midwife is probably going to be a woman. But maybe not. I don't like the idea of dismissing anyone's abilities based on her or his gender.

Thanks for reading, and yes, JenniferJeffrey, I did read "The Red Tent" and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a little disturbed by her portrayal of not one, but two radical episiotomies. I'd like to know if those scenes were born out of actual practices that the author has researched, or her own uninformed view of birth...

It's almost my turn "to put my feet on the bricks."
post #54 of 55
Originally posted by KareninCT

As for understand the female experience and the sacredness of birth; I almost think you?d need to find a foreign midwife to do that. It really isn?t in our culture to have birth be a ritualistic celebration of life and the journey to motherhood. Not that there aren?t those here who believe in it; I just mean if you are looking for the Rediscovering Birth-experience that many of us crave, I?m not sure you can get it here.

I have to disagree. I got it. And I would have gotten more of it if I hadn't gone so quickly and had the rotten luck of birthing the same day as another client of my midwife. First time in about 8 years that happened to her.
post #55 of 55
I am finding myself really frustrated that many of the posts suggest that if you haven't had can't have or are unequipped to have a baby you shouldn't be attending (or will be a lesser attendant because of that.)

I've attended quite a few births now (around a hundred and fifty or so) and I have not had a baby yet (this will be remedied in December, at home, with a midwife, my hubby and several friends).

I DO know it hurts, I DO know that labor can be really hard. I may not have been in labor, but I have stayed awake all night, physically supporting women, in some cases having women squeeze my hands or hang on my shoulders or just break down. I DO know that at some point, many women feel like it is more than they can handle.

I also know, both by faith and experience, that women CAN birth naturally, that they can have the experience that they want and that despite the challenges of labor they will survive.

When I look into a woman's eyes when she is in the grip of a contraction and whether I talk her through it or just keep contact with her, I know that she will make it, even when she doesn't. I do say "I know it hurts" and I also have been known to say "that's the right way to do it", the privilege of sharing all those births has shown me, has taught me that those are true statements, even if I haven't had them happen to me.

with love,
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