Who are we worrying about hurting?
WHAT about the vulnerable baby?
Here is birth. Please watch this first . .. (Dr Frederik leBoyer – author of Birth Without Violence)
Whose Hurt are we Focussing On?
It might well hurt . . . but what hurt are we focussed on – the apparent birth pain (a day at the most usually) – or the years/life time of regret – looking back in hindsight.
When we forgot about the baby and how s/he feels, [see Birth without Violence] we moved the whole reason for even having a baby and living the entire maternal adventure to new levels – not for the bonding, love, intimacy and the experience.
We now look to ‘safety’ as though baby was doomed to die unless we interfered and mum felt nothing in the process – as though extraction of teeth were the birthing template.
But what is SAFE about being so distressed when arriving here? What is safe about having a mum so tied up in her own dramas she has nothing left over/ no interest in her newborn?
No ability to even respond – so damaged is she in the rush to get baby out as a live unit?
Many have written about the amazing hormonal responses women are hardwired to live through:
- Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin;
- Dr Michel Odent, (also visit www.WombEcology.com) or
- Gentle Birth: Gentle Mothering by Dr Sarah J Buckley (www.sarahjbuckley.com).
Baby is obviously better off with a mother who is primally attached.
Baby is better off being aware and competent as any newborn mammal is – to attach to the initial source of nourishment, know instinctively who mum is and to be deeply programmed to know and be loved by that one.
How do we get this when pregnant women and their partners and their parents are so completely enveloped in this current culture of birth is dangerous and must be monitored through machines, deadlines and medicalised crisis management?
However did women ever survive without steel cutting implements?
Whilst many did not – mainly through the combined deprivations of malnourishment, poor sanitation and no knowledge of infection control in medicine before 150 years ago, most in the modern context could be easily birthing (at great less cost across all parameters) with appropriate and better support.
Unfortunately that support in all forms is being pulled away as the medicalised route is gradually reinventing birthing. To start thinking about birthing in the Australian/modern context
With the current focus on the medicalised business end of not wanting litigation, all manner of very unsafe birthing practices have now been wheeled out and are even expected by the birthing parents.
The safest place to birth is at home – with trained carers. The statistics are not in the favour of the big hospitals. This is not just because those ‘high risk’ women when are directed there. Most, regardless of degree of difficulty – now become so – thus making their previously normal and very low risk pregnancies end in the orchestrated (as opposed to true emergency – as in – unexpected turn for the worst) C-section.
The focus could be changed away from having a LIVE baby – we are mostly guaranteed of this is in our clean, warm, safe lives - but having a happy bonded, mum and baby – meaning a happy family – easy breastfeeding, easy sleeping and easy loving all through our lives.
Which mum will have the easier task bonding – the one who is disconnected from the feelings of euphoria/love hormones cascading through her body – or the one who has a totally present babe to bond with?
Distressed Mums And Bubs
The post natal depression/psychoses/breastfeeding and baby sleeping and life dramas are all a result of not seeming to follow the path of least resistance – easy birthing – what would nature set us up for? All these difficult to mother children – how did this happen?
Whilst the hospital statistics are trying to end catastrophes on their watch (especially in sending new mums out even before their milk has come in), the wider picture of great maternal and baby outcomes is being lost.
See Heather’s article on Birth Shock
Dangerous Birthing Practices
What do I mean? As an observer, I am stunned that the current birthing practices are so unsafe and are doomed to end as they do this I have a clinic full of horror birth stories which, to my trained ears are all about very poor management and bad midwifery management. (See What Your Obstetrician Did Not Tell You)
Because women birth better when they are relaxed. Where in the current panicked birthing culture on Australia (at least my corner being Brisbane) do people know that birthing is safer at home where baby was conceived – with great birthing support?
See birthing as it can be – it is awe inspiring
The statistics are such that the safest place to birth (low risk – all those women who take out health insurance and are directed to a surgeon when they actually need midwife centred care – through the local midwifery programme at their local public hospital – although what is really needed is a one to one midwifery programme as would happen in European countries, or even in New Zealand . .
Birth pain is vastly less when in water – and the water birth movement happens as women find birthing so much easier when supported this way. Babies come from a fluid environment and only start to breathe when confronted with air – the cord is still providing until then – as it had all their life to date . . .
With birth support workers who trust birth and who trust nature and who have been immersed in natural birthing and the happy mother and baby outcomes? Who know how to encourage normal, and who are not facing personal destruction due to the spectre of ‘what happens if something goes wrong?’ – of course it is going wrong – we forgot that Nature sets ups up to win.
Most would not think to show up for a marathon without at least warming up – and are unlikely to without some training – yet women very often show up in labour with minimal or no birthing preparation and still expect somehow to have a natural birth.
They might – BUT in today’s birthing climate and ‘crisis management’ hospital centred policies, it is far more likely that the medicalised route will catch most mothers. Regardless of how committed they were to being left alone.
Recently in a newspaper in New Zealand, I read a women’s account of birthing – likening it to removal of appendix without anaesthetic. But what if this horror of birthing was taken out as women were treated with respect and their babies were the focus – not the pain relief and not the hospital’s policies to avoid litigation – what if everyone became respectful and were safer in the lead up to birthing?
What if we were all more consciously preparing for motherhood and ensuring baby got the calmest/happiest mother possible – so the rest would be easy –resulting in a happier life for all. What am I speaking of?
Conscious Mothering Preparation
Mum being well PRIOR to conception – with perfect periods and a happy life to plant the baby within – a nest within her and outside in her marriage/bonded relationship with dad – that was ready for a future of baby reading.
Following this up with REAL health care – not medical monitoring. Natural therapists setting the tone for the pregnancy would net very much healthier robust children. They are made, not with luck, but intent.
Plenty of healthy whole foods – back where food was grown locally and without chemicals – even 50 years ago . . . no alcohol, no cigarettes., no caffeine, plenty of exercise, fresh water, great nutrition, and loads of happiness – where women were expected to NOT work whilst growing baby with intent. Who is able to these days?
This then answers the question – why all the upset babies?
We did not make the space for them.
Where women could be left to undo what is holding them back – all the past emotional and sexual abuse that will getting in the way of their birthing and mothering abilities – a silly idea? Not actually – birth preparation means clearing out all that is going to get in the way of being there for baby.
Please order Birthing Normally by Gayle Peterson from Amazons. Also see Birthwork http://www.birthwork.com/Book.241.0.html and the magnificent DVD The Big Stretch (Jenny Blyth) http://www.birthwork.com/DVD.354.0.html
The media is full of horror stories and opinion pieces from those who have chosen the (currently perceived) ‘safe’ way to birth – and who push their version of what is right – backed up by our culture’s insistence that women are somehow deficient and need men and machines and medicine to do what comes naturally). This does not give the true picture. It can be very different.
Birthing is women’s business – it is NOT a medical crisis to be averted – it is a natural body function – just like all the others.
Changing The Focus
What if birthing was actually seen as it is – an initiation into motherhood – selflessness – so that the rush of love hormones just swamped mum and baby meaning that all that followed (breastfeeding and life as a mother) were all she wanted to do?
Prevention of Post-Natal Distress
Wouldn’t that be simpler than the life of post natal horror as she fell into the holes many do – post natal psychosis and extreme distress – at least sleep deprivation leading into all of these possibilities?
Breaking Mother-Baby Bonding
Could we perhaps look backwards and see how we broke baby?
How we broke mum?
How we shattered their bonding?
Why are women so scared of something that happens so naturally? What are they enlisting surgeons who have often never even seen, let alone felt themselves the joy and rawness of uninterrupted mammalian birthing rapture? When did women supporting women get such a bad name?
I hear so many tales of labour grief – when really all that needed to happen was someone pay attention to the fact that mum was not supported and not trusting her body. Mum has not done her inner work to go to the next step – she wants to do it all without the effort. Possibly she is not really ready to be a mum – as she was filling up all her life with what it meant to her – and forgetting that she was about to make another person’s pivotal life experience.
Why do we need induction at all? Nature sets us up to win – we would not be here as species if birthing were that dangerous . . . Baby and or mum not ready making it happen mechanically does not ensure all other systems signal ‘go’ (easy birthing/breastfeeding /mothering are not guaranteed once labour is forced to start).
Baby may just be OP (see Fetal Positioning Solutions). Who speaks of the engineering feet needed for baby to emerge?
Being Wired Up So It Doesn’t Hurt .. . (Epidural)
So what is the point in lying on your back – not only are you shutting off the exit by 28%, but also making baby’s route THAT MUCH HARDER as however can baby manage all of this without some assistance from mum- pain is instructive – we move to where it is more comfortable – and that means a fully functional mum is far more helpful to do the dance of birth with her baby . . .
healing_the_mother_within-dtb_winter2006 is an article published in the Winter 2006 edition of “Down to Birth”, the journal of the Home Midwifery Association (Qld):
My eBook Healing After Birth is still being written – broadly – all post natal problems are due to either – INVASION OF COLD during or after birth and/or LOSS OF BLOOD.
This acupuncture ‘take’ on birthing s so very needed as the physical/mechanical is NOT all that is going on in any life event and definitely not when speaking of women’s lives and their maternity.
This is all in addition to speaking of the betrayal/horror felt expressed as the post traumatic stress from not getting what is expected /wished for . . . and the ‘safe’ birth statistics keep n piling up – many feel OK about the birth they eventually ‘had to have’ – yet what about the baby?
S/he is why I am writing this – as too many are then screaming/unhappy heaps – needing baby whisperers and stints in controlled crying only distress the already very traumatised baby further – they are designed to sleep and eat . . . if this is not your baby – please be gentle on yourself- breaking babies is what our culture is doing so very well.
Vaccination is a whole new ball game – why would you poison your newborn’s blood stream directly? Mum’s immune system is supposed to be the life line – oh!!! Breastfeeding not happening?
Same again – Why break a perfectly perfect system – Nature had it all sussed . . . . Perhaps you are starting to see why women choose home birth and natural birthing – it is easier/safer long term to be in love with baby as a mammal and as a totally bonded mother than not . . . . .
As an observer, I am stunned that most new mums just expect to get mastitis.
What sets this up? Basically being distressed and exhausted – and the lack of support both from the previously rested hospital stays and the pace of life and trying to be everything to everyone – especially after a major abdominal operation combined with strange breastfeeding advice (see more when the lactation eBooks are out) means that it is NOT surprising that so much mastitis abounds.
It was not expected even 20 years ago – so what is different? The ‘safe’ births women have – with drugged and disinterested babies as a result combined with academic not practical breastfeeding advice. (At present please consult What Dads Can Do as these eBooks are as yet not finished – see Easy Breastfeeding and Mastitis Solutions).
Articles to read:
As a mother who used Birthing Without Violence as my bible, (Ina May’s Spiritual Midwifery was a few months too late for my first baby), I followed (as we all do), what I thought would be best.
My babies were not traumatised through overly bright or loud birthing environments, and were allowed all their cord blood – so they were NOT forced to breathe and to panic as the baby circulation was converting to self reliance.
Cord blood is what babies are breathing with until they need it in their lungs – so ANY removal of cord blood compromises baby. They need it to breathe (www.cordclamping.com or search the internet for physiological third stage for more on this).
Recently, as I work with women through what happened in their last birth or to help them achieve what they want with THIS birth, I see that we could do well to look at baby – and in a baby friendly way, start to birth better – for everyone.
I have asked many women to write about their births and these are to be found here. http://www.heatherbruce.com.au/pregnancy/birthing/birthstories
Why DO women choose to birth differently the next time? Usually because they had been lulled into a sense of ‘she’ll be right’ the first time. I was one of these – my stories of birthing over 18 years /4 babies can be found
If this were you, which start would you rather have?
Why is it seen as ‘safe’ to have a tense and wailing, not an alert and interested, newborn?
If we focussed on birthing better – as nature intended – on our own body/baby schedule – possibly the rash of very distressed babies who seem to be screaming everywhere (especially instead of peacefully sleeping to grow well) would then be reduce . . . and mums would be happier and all would be less traumatized through baby’s arrival. So I am suggesting we travel past the ‘is it going to hurt’? interface to a more loving maternal and long term focus.
Baby emerging/meeting the outside world initially/learning to breathe /pump blood very differently and to ‘be’ here seems hardly to be given a thought. Yet as Dr Sarah Buckley (www.sarahjbuckley.com) has well pointed out, the beginnings of life outside mum are pivotal in all of our lives. We may not remember what happened to us, yet it moulds everything we do.
The ‘rebirthing’ wave that started thirty years ago is now a respectable way to undo a lot of our later traumas and ways of relating to the world. Dr Michel Odent has published many books, and a few amazing websites to share with the world what his slant on birthing statistics shows – that the primal time when we first emerge from our mother shapes us forever. www.WombEcology.com is a great place to start with his excellent work.
Often changing our perspective and how we frame everything can have the same effect for us. My master teacher – the late Dr John Shen, spent his life observing people as a Chinese herbalist and healer. His unique system of pulse diagnosis and body reading allowed him to appear almost psychic to an observer – as he could within a few seconds of summing a person up tell them what had happened in their life and why they were now suffering from whatever it was that they had come for him to relieve.
Babies are very present when first born – if they have been left to come out naturally with all the intended hormones intact – and no extras via chemicals and the pain of needles, no panic around or from mum – just undisturbed birthing at its best. Both wil then have hormonal rushes that only then can bond them to each other forever.
How much will it hurt to lose this?
Please – look at the hurt that is happening to the babies in all of these ‘safe’ births that are interrupted, hassled and medicalised – is it really that dangerous to allow nature to dictate when and how baby arrives?
Please do the research – Henci Goer has researched and written a couple of great books Obstetric Myths: Research Realities and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Better Birthing.
Please look to who has the most to lose – mum and baby – and start thinking about how you can do what many women have – overcome fear and through actually being present themselves, have great birthing and bonded experience? – however this looks for you.
Easily – It MAY be a C section – but how can this turn into a baby centred experience?
Is not dying the benchmark? Could we not aim a bit higher?
Everyone in the birth experience coming out happy and enjoying being in love with each other – not a medical outcome – but a human one.