Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes from Carla

An eFriend, Carla Hartly ( wrote a very good note on facebook about the truth in birth. I hope she doesn't mind me posting parts here. I don't know if you will be able to see it if you aren't her "friend" and what she says is too important to let go. Here is the link to the whole thing just in case you can read it. It is worth the time.

" law will never force docs to RESPECT what midwives do. They believe they own birth and they are not going to come alongside their "competition" regardless of how many credentials their competition has. Birth is big business and the medical community is going to guard their monopoly at any cost to mothers and babies....much less midwives. If they don't care about what they have done to mothers and babies, what would make us think they would ever care about midwives?

History tells us that in the United States there was an intentional effort to eliminate midwives that was a component of the larger effort to bring women to the hospital for birth. The medical community saw that birth could be lucrative and devised a plan to corner the market on birth. Since their paradigm is one of illness and disease, they set out to convince women that birth was a state of illness and disease. They knew that fear creates a demand. They used fear to their advantage, and still do.

They had a plan.

They worked their plan.

Their plan worked.

We will NOT undo what they have done. Very few women will ever believe that birth is not inherently dangerous. Sad but true. Believing that birth is dangerous and assuming that someone else is more qualified to take the responsibility is the current cultural assumption and downfall. As a society, we have a proclivity not only to be easily scared and discouraged, but to look for a rescuer. Would we expect anything else from a society that is moving further and further away from personal responsibility? Believe me, the truth, that birth is safe and that mothers are responsible for every decision concerning their births and their babies, is a hard sell to most women, and impossible to sell to the SYSTEM.

So you have the 99 percent* or so of women who believe a lie that is basically the invention of an industry that profits from that lie. The industry is wealthy and rarely takes "no" for an answer. Physicians take courses on persuasive communication to convince patients to comply with their recommendations. They know what they are doing. They are way better at intimidation than we are and we are way more vulnerable to intimidation.

...Those in the SYSTEM actually do believe their with fierce religiosity. And it is easy to see their logic: In order to justify their existence, they have to be necessary, so birth has to be risky. They can only be necessary if birth is a scary, medical emergency. No law will change that belief.

From the beginning,  I tried to point out that we should be protecting parents' rights rather than midwives' rights. My pleas, to make midwifery legal by virtue of helping parents exercise their freedom to choose who would be at their birth, fell on deaf ears...

It is not the SYSTEM that is the problem as much as it is the LIE that the system operates on. The lie is that birth was medical in the first place. Pointing that out earned me a place in a collection of quotations on

“We've put birth in the same category with illness and disease and it's never belonged there. Birth is naturally safe, but we've allowed it to be taken over by the medical community.”

...The SYSTEM will not destroy itself by acknowledeging that birth is safe and that most babies should be born with no medical management whatsoever. The SYSTEM will not ever admit that they are not needed except for that small percentage of births that requires medical assistance.

The SYSTEM will not be changed. Our only hope, and I do mean ONLY hope, is to starve the SYSTEM by telling the truth.

Here is the truth....not my truth....THE truth. Actually, several truths...I'm fired up.

• Birth is safe.

• Birth is a normal function of biology.

• Birth is private family event.

• Birth is not a crisis.

• Birth is not an illness to be cured by drugs or a surgeon's scalpel.

• Mothers and babies are very, very, very likely to survive birth if birth is left alone. Interference introduces risk.

• Since birth is NOT normally a medical event, a medical manager is not normally needed.

• Birth is not the domain of medicine. Even when birth does become medical, it is still not the property of medicine, but of mothers.

• Birth belongs to the mammas; the only two essential players are the mamma and the baby.

One of my brilliant students, Laura, expressed it this way: If the system did want to embrace us then something is wrong. Midwives are supposed to be distinctly different than the medical system."

God invented birth, and you know what? He actually knew what He was doing. He really did tell a woman's body when to go into labor, how to push a baby out, and He made both the momma's body and the baby's body. It is incredibly rare for that baby to not "fit."

C-sections were designed by humans. I am thankful we have that technology when it is needed but that is actually relativly rare. Our national c-section rate should be less than 10% not over  30%. C-sections are major abdominal surgury. They are dangerous. God's design is not.

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