I Don’t Want a Midwife

my body is sacred
I would never want a midwife assisted birth. That comes as a shock to many people. We are crunchy, pro-breastfeeding, pro-intact, cosleeping, unschooling, consensual living, attachment parenting types. People who don’t know us well assume that we would fall right into the midwife at home camp.

We don’t. The research fanatics that we are, we researched birth, and everything related, extensively before making that decision to have children. We dug through medical journals. We learned. We began to change our way of thinking to fit the facts rather than society’s distorted view. In the end, we made the decision to go unassisted. We have four beautiful, intelligent, pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) children. They were all born at home, unassisted.

That doesn’t mean I’m anti-midwife. I’m just not pro-midwife. The thing is, I support a woman’s decision to birth any way she wants. It’s her body. It’s her baby. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s not my choice. The only thing I hope for is that women have access to factual information in order to make the best informed choice for themselves.

So it bothers me when I see people make blanket statements about how they wish every baby was born with a midwife present. To me, it’s very similar to making blanket statements that every baby should be born in a hospital or any of the other limiting blankets statements that states what women should or should not be doing with their bodies.

I would never want a midwife. However, I would never want to limit another woman’s choice or the opportunity for her to have a midwife if that is what she chooses. Supporting women and their informed choices is pro-woman and pro-human. Wishing that every woman made the same birth choices as you? That’s just limiting. So while I tend to avoid conversations on birth, as I really can’t stand to hear about how someone’s doctor or midwife let them do something or some of the misinformation purported by individuals and health care professionals alike, I support a woman’s right to birth however she wants. Limit the misinformation and scare tactics out there. Let’s not limit the choices.

Be a Man: One Father’s View on Birth

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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Our children, all four of them, have been born at home – planned unassisted births. While this isn’t something that everyone knows about us, many people do realize this fact. Over the years, we’ve had several friends come to us to discuss unassisted birth, our reasons for having UCs, and usually, for a father’s perspective on unassisted childbirth. In most of these situations, it was a case of the mother wanting to have an unassisted birth while the father wanted nothing to do with it. Every one of those couples, after having the other father listen to my own husband, walked away more assured and more willing to listen to the wants (dare I say needs?) of his wife. Each couple went on to have their own succesful unassisted birth.

birth72

Photo by Lindsey Turner

What wonderful advice did my wise husband give? He told them to “Be a man!” It sounds condescending. It sounds aggressive (something my mild mannered husband is not). It sounds completely chauvinistic. But it isn’t.

Each time he then went on to say that birth is an intimate experience. As much as a man may want to consider his part in bringing forth this child into the world, when it comes to the actual birth, he has a supporting role only. His wife is the one birthing the baby. She is the one who needs to listen to her body and their baby in order to do what she needs to for a successful birth. Certainly, both people can and should research, learn about the signs of impending problems, talk about what they need to do in various situations, learn about what is normal and what are merely variations of normal birth, etc., just as you would with any other aspect of life (says the couple of research fanatics).  However, when it comes time for the baby to be born, it’s down to mom and baby.

A husband’s role is to support a woman during labor and birth – however she decides she needs, whether that means fetching drinks with bendy straws, cooking a fantastic meal, holding her hand, or massaging her back. His main priority is to give her whatever it is she needs in order to listen to her body and their baby for a successful outcome. He keeps unwanted people away and doesn’t allow others to negatively interfere. He protects while serving. He supports her in any way he can. He trusts her to listen to her body just as she trusts her body to tell her what she needs to do and when/if she may need help just as our children trust us to have their best interests at heart.

I’m very thankful of the support my husband has given me during each of our births and for the support and partnership he shows me in our journey as both parents and people. He couldn’t be a better man.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

The Whore in the Mirror

Photo by Laura Lewis

There is currently a lot of discussion about women’s rights and contraception going around our fine country, all because one man said that no company should be able to limit an employee’s health care coverage from employee health insurance due to differences in that company’s and the person’s religious beliefs: a government mandate against religious and gender discrimination. Instead, suddenly women who want the right to make their own decisions governing their bodies and those who choose to use contraceptives are whores.

Call me a whore, if you like. I want to make my own decisions about my body, not to have my coverage limited by an employer because they disagree. I want my family planning to be a decision made between myself and my husband, not somone else. More importantly, I want all women to have the opportunity to make their own choices.

As women, we haven’t always had choices. We’ve been property and slaves. Throughout history, contraception has been an important issue, one many of us have given our lives for in one way or another. Before you start slinging the accusation of whore, though, let’s examine it a bit.

Who is considered a whore?

  • The woman sold into prostitution. She had no choice in the matter. She was sold, by men, into it. Men chose her profession for their own financial gain. Men chose to have sex with her.
  • The woman, who unable to provide for herself and/or her family does what she can to get by. When women are unable to make decent wages compared with men or have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, they will do what they need to. When, born into poverty, a woman is not given opportunities to rise out of them, she grasps what she can. Society cornered her into the profession, and men chose to have sex with her.
  • The woman who has sex with multiple partners, looking for something she isn’t finding. Beaten down by others, she is looking for love or self-worth in all the wrong places. Were she a man, she would be accepted for her choices. Because she’s a woman, she is looked down upon – acceptable to have sex with but unacceptable to marry.

And now, according to some conservative fringe, if a woman embraces and owns her sexuality, she is a whore. If society chooses to call these women whores, these women who survive under impossible conditions, who have been beaten down by society and feel unloved, or who dare to own their own bodies rather than let someone else own them, then call me one, too. I stand beside these sisters and daughters, mothers and wives. It doesn’t matter if we share beliefs on contraception or childbirth. What matters is that we all, as human beings, be given that choice, free from discrimination.

Before slinging mud at women, perhaps society needs to take a good look in the mirror. What they will see is a reflection of themselves.