Who controls childbirth — expectant moms or doctors? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 72 Old 07-17-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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Dh and I were just talking about how Time magazine has done this a couple times lately, presenting an opinion piece as an article.
Not just Time. Look at the recent anti-bf articles in Redbook and such. It's disgusting!

I'm on both sides of the opinion here. I do think we have some responsibility, but honestly there are SO many variables. I had a myomectomy and have had to fight tooth and nail to have vaginal births. I don't know one single person to have a vaginal delivery after myomectomy besides myself-on MDC, even. If you have, then we should start a tribe! I had to bring up a lawsuit, even, when I was barely even pregnant. During labor I had to fight the entire time against a c/section or an epidural. I didn't have much support but luckily my mother was there to tell them I will NOT have a c-section. I vaguely mentioned wanting drugs after 20 hours of hard labor and was given nubain before I had a chance to tell them I wasn't serious. There was never a time when anything was presented to me as my choice. I took childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, parenting classes. Never was anything presented as a choice-you circ so your child doesn't get HIV, you do what your doc says so your baby doesn't die, you vax so they don't call CPS, you lay down flat and be quiet because that is what good patients do. It was horrible. After 3 hours of pushing, my doc gave me a numbing shot for an episiotomy and luckily I became lucid enough to see the scalpel and say the word "lawyer" and she stopped before she cut. That was pure luck. Even though I had stated numerous times NO episiotomy at all. For any reason.

With my son, I was told my uterus would rupture and my child and I would die because he was "huge" and my first was large at 8 lbs. 1 oz. There was no way I could physically birth them. I was a single mom with a 1 year old. I worked at the hospital and knew better than to question them or their anger would arise. I wasn't given a choice-just a time and date to be there and do what they told me. I should have known better. I should have magically found money for support or a doula or something. I should have researched (with magical internet I didn't have and money I certainly did not have). I should have said no. Instead I was yelled at for being a wuss while they messed up my intrathecal twice. Then the nurse pushed my son back into me to wait for the doc to get in the room. Afterwards I had my placenta manually extracted seconds after we came out as standard protocol. This wasn't choice-they were up to their elbows before you even realized it. My son was early and had neurological and digestive delays because of their mistakes. My mistakes for trusting them.

I had one person (ever) tell me that it was my fault. That smart women have easy births and nothing goes wrong. Don't want an episiotomy? Tell them. If you're proactive and informed nothing will go wrong. I found that incredibly insulting. Things can always go wrong and there are always variables. My surgical history, like VBACs put me in a different category as your average woman who goes in in labor. Just because of the word-not because of the facts. It could depend on the mood of your nurse or doc, administrative changes, quotas, finances, insurance, that particular nurse, anything. To say that you can just call up the head of OB and explain to them that you'll have a fine VBAC and all will be dandy is absurd. To tell me that I deserved to hemorrhage and have a seizure because I didn't fight after a traumatic birth to prevent them from pulling my placenta out is very insulting and wrong. So I feel sorry for the author. I think we all need to be educated and I believe her presentation is insulting to a lot of people, but I do feel sorry for her and don't believe it's entirely her fault at all.

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#62 of 72 Old 07-17-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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i don't really have a lot of sympathy for this woman. on a personal level i am sad that she was traumatized in that way, and if she was my friend, i would do my best to be there for her in a kind and caring way after that event. but, i really don't like her attitude in writing this piece.

she went into birth without any idea of what might happen. she equates being educated and prepared for birth with thinking that aromatherapy and labour chants will ward off any danger. i'm sorry, that's bullsh*t! birth is like getting dropped off in the middle of the yukon wilderness. the most prepared person in the world could still end up in serious danger and in need of a helicopter rescue, but wouldn't they be more likely to survive the experience than someone who doesn't have a knife, doesn't know how to build a fire, doesn't know how to avoid a bear attack? knowing those things doesn't mean you are wearing a magic amulet, but it is sure better that not knowing anything.

the information is there. if she were uneducated, disadvantaged, very young, not living in the developed world, i would most definitely cut her some slack. but she is quite clearly not any of those things. she knows how to use a computer, she is obviously literate. she's heard or read all the information out there... if she's not interested in believing it, than i can't really help her.

i don't like how women from both sides (natural and medical models) tend to criticize or judge another woman's experience. unless you were the woman or the care provider there, it's impossible to know what might have changed the circumstances. i hate that people did it to her (especially those doulas) but she's also doing it to others.

basically, i think it's criminal that something so traumatic and abusive happened to her. i hate that any woman ever feels out of control, demeaned, or damaged by her birth. but i don't feel like i should have much sympathy for someone who doesn't educate themselves on a known event, is surprised when the event doesn't meet her expectations, and then gets offended when people ask her why she didn't prepare for the event in question.
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#63 of 72 Old 07-17-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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oh, and i agree that the doctor is the worst kind of scum out there and shouldn't really be allowed anywhere near another woman. but she herself doesn't seem to see that this doctor was an anomaly. most doctors, even the most medically minded OBs, would not consider holding a woman down and breaking her water while she screamed at them to stop to be good practice. and it is perfectly possible to have a non-traumatic birth that is also very medically managed. i know lots of people that have done it, including emergency c-sections.

if this piece were just about her traumatic experience and her struggle to recover, i would not for a second think about "blaming the victim." but where she goes beyond her own personal experiences and starts poohpoohing NCB, all the while determined not to repeat the last experience is where she loses me.
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#64 of 72 Old 07-18-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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Did you read the comments following that article?

The natural childbirth movement has been around since the 1950s with Grantley-Read, Leboyer, Lamaze, Bradley, and the back to nature movement. The first pioneers are grandmothers or greatgrandmothers now. The hippies are grandmothers who are featured in the book Spiritual Midwifery, so the news has been out there for decades.

Those who cannot learn from the mistakes of the past will have to repeat them. The natural childbirth movement at least should have made women aware of their options when their time to deliver comes.

Please, we all have choices!

When one makes not choice, that is a choice...
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#65 of 72 Old 07-18-2010, 08:41 AM
 
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Thank you for saying that!
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#66 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hannah32 View Post
I'm a big believer in bodily integrity and the right to make one's own decisions. Therefore, I support a woman's right to do whatever she wants regarding childbirth.

However, I see what the author meant by that quote. I'm not a doctor. I didn't go to medical school. So, no, I didn't feel qualified at my own birth to present a "plan," because how much did I really know about the various risks? And I gotta say, for me, reading Ina May's book didn't really give me everything I needed. That's just me though, and I completely support those who feel that they can learn everything they need to know from NCB literature. But for me it didn't make me feel like I could tell my doctor what should happen. So I basically did what she said. And it turned out really well for me, which creates a bias in my mind, based on my own experience.

The key here is that I did have a good doctor. The doctor described in the article was terrible! Just an awful way to treat someone.....
I see your point. But I don't necessarily agree. I definitely read more than Ina May's book before my births. I read as much as I could get my hands on. It's not about telling the doctor what should happen, it's about having control to a certain extent of your body, birth, and baby. The things that she went through in this article essay, telling the doctor to "get off of me" - she was out of control of her situation. Why aren't women capable of at least helping to dictate their own births? To me it would be like overriding my intuition. The woman clearly felt something was not right when the doctor went in to break her water against her wishes - was she not supposed to voice her concern or opposition? I do believe in having a mutually respecting relationship between a woman and the professional (should she chose one) she has hired to care for her and her child. It made me sad that she felt she was she felt she should not have a choice or say in her own body and birth.
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#67 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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Right! Besides, an OB who breaks a woman's water when he says he is merely carrying out a vaginal exam is not just offering his "expert knowledge" as a service, he is being entirely deceptive. It that had happened to me, I would have sued.

I'm Olivia. I blog about physiological childbirth, homebirth, and unassisted homebirth!
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#68 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 12:28 PM
 
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I'm totally in the non judgement camp. And I'm NOT coming from a traumatized place; in fact I can't relate to this woman's story at all. I grew up with a mother who conducted lamaze classes out of our family home. I practiced the hypnobirthing method and had a very satisfying first birth in the presence of midwives.

The point that we should be focusing on is that what the OB did was wrong. He did not respect the mother, violated her body and seized control of the birth basically by lying to her. His actions caused physical and psychological harm. She wrote about her experience and by doing so, she is spreading the word that some OBs will treat labouring women as she was treated. Whether or not you agree with her take on the NCB community, she is telling her story and informing women who may be in a similar situation (brought up to believe that a hospital birth with an OB at the helm is the only safe, responsible model of birth) that the mainstream approach can be violating and traumatic.

Because of her article, more women may demand that their OB refrain from conducting ANY procedure without telling them in advance what it is and why. They may be more discerning about the OB they choose. While she is probably not helping the cause of encouraging more women towards NCB, trotting out stereotypes for which she can be validly critiqued, by disseminating her story she is nevertheless whittling away at the institutionalized control and impunity that some OBs have chosen to exploit.

Women are brainwashed to judge and blame one another, particularly around issues of pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing. This is absolutely a feminist issue. I agree with the poster who commented that in the case of date-rape, we unequivocally blame the attacker - not the woman for failing to attend the last wen-do workshop. It also strikes me that this woman has been trying to educate herself about childbirth to ensure that her next birth experience is more positive. Just because the messaging she has received from the NCB community has not resonated with her, does not mean that she is choosing to persist in ignorance or that she hasn't "cracked the spine" of any books. Dismissing her comments as "dumb" or "uninformed," to me conveys a certain unwillingness to take responsibility on behalf of the NCB community, to which most of us belong/advocate.

She makes a valid point that the patriarchy-serving practice of women policing women persists in the NCB community, as well as in the mainstream community. That is something that proponents of NCB should be willing to acknowledge and address. It does alienate many women and conveniently distracts our attention from the real issue, which is the disempowering and unsound methods of the medical model.

I refuse to sign up to the belief that we can only effect political change through our personal choices, a view that effectively undermines political organizing and reduces us all to "consumers" who make good or bad choices. By this logic, if the cleaning products you use in your home for 20 years turn out to be carcinogenic, its your fault for buying in to the ads and not being informed enough, savvy enough, critical enough... again, how perfectly convenient (for the chemical lobby, anyway.)

Only when we stop blaming one another will we truly be able to build a community that supports women.
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#69 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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Eh, I tend to think we need to cut mama a break. I can understand being aggravated by some of her statements, but being wrong about the NCB community and not having done as much reading/educating/homework or whatever, does not mean she deserved to suffer the kind of dehumanizing/traumatizing treatment she received. Not saying that anyone here is saying she deserved it or anything...just making the point that regardless of her views or level of understanding/acceptance...it's incredibly sad that she ended up with such extreme mistreatment.
very well said... I couldn't even get through the entire article.

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#70 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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I'm totally in the non judgement camp. And I'm NOT coming from a traumatized place; in fact I can't relate to this woman's story at all. I grew up with a mother who conducted lamaze classes out of our family home. I practiced the hypnobirthing method and had a very satisfying first birth in the presence of midwives.

The point that we should be focusing on is that what the OB did was wrong. He did not respect the mother, violated her body and seized control of the birth basically by lying to her. His actions caused physical and psychological harm. She wrote about her experience and by doing so, she is spreading the word that some OBs will treat labouring women as she was treated. Whether or not you agree with her take on the NCB community, she is telling her story and informing women who may be in a similar situation (brought up to believe that a hospital birth with an OB at the helm is the only safe, responsible model of birth) that the mainstream approach can be violating and traumatic.

Because of her article, more women may demand that their OB refrain from conducting ANY procedure without telling them in advance what it is and why. They may be more discerning about the OB they choose. While she is probably not helping the cause of encouraging more women towards NCB, trotting out stereotypes for which she can be validly critiqued, by disseminating her story she is nevertheless whittling away at the institutionalized control and impunity that some OBs have chosen to exploit.

Women are brainwashed to judge and blame one another, particularly around issues of pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing. This is absolutely a feminist issue. I agree with the poster who commented that in the case of date-rape, we unequivocally blame the attacker - not the woman for failing to attend the last wen-do workshop. It also strikes me that this woman has been trying to educate herself about childbirth to ensure that her next birth experience is more positive. Just because the messaging she has received from the NCB community has not resonated with her, does not mean that she is choosing to persist in ignorance or that she hasn't "cracked the spine" of any books. Dismissing her comments as "dumb" or "uninformed," to me conveys a certain unwillingness to take responsibility on behalf of the NCB community, to which most of us belong/advocate.

She makes a valid point that the patriarchy-serving practice of women policing women persists in the NCB community, as well as in the mainstream community. That is something that proponents of NCB should be willing to acknowledge and address. It does alienate many women and conveniently distracts our attention from the real issue, which is the disempowering and unsound methods of the medical model.

I refuse to sign up to the belief that we can only effect political change through our personal choices, a view that effectively undermines political organizing and reduces us all to "consumers" who make good or bad choices. By this logic, if the cleaning products you use in your home for 20 years turn out to be carcinogenic, its your fault for buying in to the ads and not being informed enough, savvy enough, critical enough... again, how perfectly convenient (for the chemical lobby, anyway.)

Only when we stop blaming one another will we truly be able to build a community that supports women.
Wowee, love your post. Torontonians are so smart. Not that I'm biased or anything.

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#71 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sheashea View Post

I refuse to sign up to the belief that we can only effect political change through our personal choices, a view that effectively undermines political organizing and reduces us all to "consumers" who make good or bad choices. By this logic, if the cleaning products you use in your home for 20 years turn out to be carcinogenic, its your fault for buying in to the ads and not being informed enough, savvy enough, critical enough... again, how perfectly convenient (for the chemical lobby, anyway.)

Only when we stop blaming one another will we truly be able to build a community that supports women.
I agree with most of what you said in your post. However, the part quoted above, depends on what a persons take is on effecting change. I come from a different perspective than you do, in that I believe in independent choices. I want the solo responsibility and ability to make choices for myself and my family. I do not want groups effecting change on my behalf. This is the very reason we have the medical establishment controlling birth! Women gave over their individual responsibility and autonomy to a group that collectively decides the medical model of care. Now we wish to gather up together with one another and change that. While that would be fab and all, the truth is the majority of women do not wish to change the medical model. It's what they believe is safest and best.

It's only those who decide to independently think outside what they are "sold" as "normal" to see what will be best for them. I do not want my choices made for me (the example you pointed out) in cleaning products under the idea that "I couldn't possibly decide for myself without help" because I'm too swayed by marketing. I want the choice to choose what I want to choose, and the responsibility for the usage lies on me-not the manufacturers. I don't believe for one minute that as an intelligent adult, I need to have choices limited by group decisions on my behalf to choose wisely.

For some women, this will be the medical model of care. They should have that right. Then, if/when they are dissatisfied with the treatment, they should have the right to birth independently from the medical community. This again comes down to education, personal responsibility and choosing a care provider who respects women.

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#72 of 72 Old 07-19-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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I think that you have misunderstood me. I am not suggesting that people don't have the right to make independent choices, nor that they are unable to do so without being told what to think/do by activist groups. Rather, I am suggesting that it is ineffective and counterproductive to blame other people for not having the wisdom to reject what is being sold to them that *I* have. And I do think that in democratic societies we have a collective responsibility to question manufacturers, big business and lobby groups who knowingly market toxins. You are playing into their hands if you suggest that the onus is completely on individual consumers. I think that these companies should be held accountable, just as I think that the medical model will be more accountable if more people feel they can stand up and express outrage at the kind of treatment described in the article.
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