Why A Woman’s Voice in Birth Matters
We have seen so much in the way of progress toward women’s rights in childbirth. One of the more recent developments came from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines that state that homebirth is the best option for low-risk women in the U.K. Even still, there continues to be a pervasive message sent by the media, in this case the Diane Rehm show, deeming that there is no room for a consumer advocate’s voice in conversations around birth choice. “The Diane Rehm Show’s unwillingness to include women’s voices and perspectives reveals a universal, societal belief that women’s voices don’t matter.”
Your Voice Matters!
But we know that your voice matters and it makes a difference! About this same time a year ago, the American College of Obstetricans and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a joint statement that attempted to take waterbirth out of the hands of midwives and their patients. So many of you helped us by writing letters to Morristown Medical Center and together we proved that women have a voice in childbirth; Waterbirth remains at Morristown Medical Center and is only one of two hospitals in NJ that allow Waterbirth labor and the ONLY one that allows a woman to labor and deliver in the tub. So I ask each of you to speak up, we must keep talking about our birth choices. I welcome you to share your story on this post. Here’s mine…
My Birth Story
I had a homebirth, I had a VBAC at home in the year 2000. My 2 previous VBACs were accomplished in birth center settings. I had no continuous fetal monitoring, no Pitocin, no restrictions on my movement or actions in labor. That was my CHOICE. I understood that I was not in a hospital with emergency equipment a moment away. I truly understood that my baby, me or both could die or be wounded by not having this access.
Although I understood the risks that I was taking, I was also very aware of the much more common risks I would be chancing by entering the hospital. My first child was born in the hospital, an elective cesarean for breech. From the coldness of the birth to the separation from my baby (4 hours until I held her) to the misinformation about breastfeeding, I had a terrible hospital experience and I felt as if my baby belonged to the hospital until we were discharged.
My goal was to escape the restrictions of modern medical care to find a place where my body could function innately, where I could be in control. I am such a mammal in pregnancy and birthing. I NEED privacy, and I feel safer away from doctors and medicine. All women have a way that they birth best. Those ways are as varied as the women themselves. None of these women are in the wrong as long as they are provided with unbiased information, within a strong relationship with her chosen care provider, in order to make her CHOICES.
Midwifery Offers Women Education & Choices
Midwifery offers women education, acceptance and CHOICES. I turned to midwifery to find my birth niche and now as a practicing midwife for 20 years in New Jersey, I believe midwifery continues to be the place where many women will realize satisfaction and joy in their personal story of birth. Please share your story by commenting on this post.