Dear Friends of the Birth,
For 35 years I have been observing the culture of birth in America. I have waited and hoped for change, specifically that the hospital system would change, become flexible and more respectful of women; especially in regards to birth, a non-illness. I am tired of waiting and hoping. Women are more afraid of giving birth today than at any time in history. Why? With all the 21st century medical advances, all the yoga, health food, independent thinking, healers, spirituality, and the information highway at our finger tips, why is there so much fear and misinformation around the simple act of having a baby? How did this happen? Who is at fault?
I can tell you this, I had three babies, plop, plop, plop. In 1977, 1979 and 1984. It wasn’t a big deal. Yes those babies changed the world, rocked my world (and still do), but I wasn’t scared, I was confident! When did women lose confidence?
I am sad to report that I was treated with more respect when I recently had gall bladder surgery than my last doula client was treated when she went to a local hospital to give birth. Truth be told, I’ve seen much improvement in some hospitals. Much improvement is not near enough. Every day I hear about doctors threatening to induce labor, doctors encouraging women to schedule Cesarean Section for non-medical reasons, nurses and doctors not getting informed consent and not giving accurate information to parents about newborn procedures, hospital policy, and patient rights. I continue to have hope that you and I will see true change as we work on the activist front to change policy, as we seek continued education for ourselves, and as we continue to educate all people, every age group, every sex, every walk of life, about births joy-power-holiness, and work together to spread healing, love and unity among women worldwide.
What I started to say was that every time I see nurses begin to get “flexible”, first allowing one odd request from mom or dad and eventually respecting all mom’s birth wishes (2 wishes this nurse never heard of and 6 wishes that are not standard procedure), policy makers, the people with power, the people with money (that control this wonderful nurses paycheck), seem to catch wind and slam that door shut. The hospital policy makers (insurance company and hospital administration) instill fear and put pressure on these well meaning hospital workers to be more policy compliant and unmovable. I think the money holders (who may know nothing about birth) have been under the impression that they will save money and make more money by welding their power and by dictating time saving procedures. After all time is money and SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) save time. The day you give birth is a day you will never forget – ever! Is this day a day you want someone to snap their fingers and say, “Time is money honey”? On your honeymoon did the hotel give you a wake-up call to tell you to hurry up, time is money? Nope.
Except in the birth world.
If pregnant families come together and realize their power; that taking their birth business to family-friendly hospitals and birth centers, birth places that are known to honor women, honor birth, flex and bend with each unique family being born, they will make the almighty dollar speak volumes to “that other hospital”! We might have a chance. Move the money to the places willing to bend, willing to co-care, willing to respect birth as a normal physiological process, and we might have a chance for reform…hopefully in my lifetime.
I know. It’s not that easy. I over simplify. Insurance. Ugh. Some times, often times, people have to change their insurance to birth in that place that is safe. What? They didn’t know all this before they got pregnant? Oops. They can’t change insurance company mid-pregnancy? Now what? Do we go back to cash and carry? Put the cash down, carry the baby home? Why can we buy a new car with nothing down but can’t have a baby on a payment plan? Why not? Who said? Ask for it, negotiate.
Okay. Honest engine. Hospitals are for sick people anyway. You can afford your homebirth midwife. Re-read the title of this blog. Do you wonder why I want change in hospital birth only, not all birth? Because I don’t see the atrocities that I see at hospitals at home birth. I see confident women at home, being respected, listened to, honored, and loved and I see superior medical care being given and received at home births. Side note: Homebirth is Green
Stay home to birth.
Still for those women whose pregnancy is high risk or whose baby is high risk and they need to be in a hospital, it’s time for a recall. Let’s recall scare tactics, pompous attitudes, hierarchy, power structure, tier of importance with the money being on the top and the woman being on the bottom. Let’s rework the archaic over lording by some unseen unknown great and mighty wizard. Let’s rewire old beliefs, and remodel the hospital experience.
Time to rethink the system, redesign our priorities, reform birth.
Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.