Wednesday, October 03, 2007

birth magazines

I'm not sure if Midwifery Today has changed, or if it is my perspective that has changed, but I can no longer devour each new edition that comes out and be left feeling excited and content.

I still love Midwifery Today, of course, and have great respect for their publication and recognize them as the great resource that they are. But lately, almost every article I read in each new edition makes me cringe at some point.

I know I have said it before, but it feels like the more I read other midwives' work or talk with other midwives, the more it has become glaringly obvious how far on the fringe I am in regards to my approach to birth.

I am tired of hearing midwives say that they trust birth and that birth is a normal and natural process, when they turn right around and start trying to convince everyone about how their interventions to 'help' the situation was natural because it only involved their hands (not a knife) and how midwives are needed to save birth, and so on. If birth works so well, then why do some midwives consider it dangerous to give birth with no trained professional?

I have to say....what is up with all of the bed births? Seriously! I'm not just talking about the birth pictures always featured on the inside back cover (which are almost always in bed, with lots of hands on the baby's crowning head and perineum), but about the birth stories themselves. I know that there are women who truly do choose to give birth laying down, and that is fine by me, but I am positive that they are in the very small minority. I think that more often than not, the bed becomes the chosen birth place because it is never presented to the woman as the least ideal place for giving birth (physiologically speaking). Though, again, I don't think that the birth pictures are a reflection of Midwifery Today's philosophy, but probably they print whichever pictures are received, and most of what they receive are bed births.

I am still a devoted reader of Midwifery Today, and I have been wanting to write an article to submit, as I don't think it is productive if all I do is complain about the situation. I have been brain-storming all night about which topic I should write about. Really, my issue I suppose lies more with the reality that I am facing: that the majority of midwives out there from what I can tell approach midwifery and birth very differently than I do. This is something that I am having a hard time coming to grips with, I suppose.

10 comments :

Rixa said...

I agree with you. I think that I went through a honeymoon phase with midwifery, and when that wore off I realized that midwifery has its own set of issues and weaknesses. The biggest one, in my mind, is that the midwifery renaissance of the 1970s replaced doctor-as-god with midwife-as-goddess.

Often midwifery or natural childbirth advocates, in their effort to point out the very real flaws with obstetrics and hospital birth, make midwifery out to be infallible.

Shannon said...

Hi,

Just wanted to comment. I'm having my own midwifery struggles lately. I have/ will be going through a 'shared care' program run by three midwives (and funded by the gov't) I find that they each have such different approaches and attitudes towards birth that it can be very frustrating. However, I also find that I 'fit' best with one midwife and close friends of mine have completely different attachements. I guess my point is that midwifery needs to be diverse and while it must be very difficult for you to feel so ailenated(sp?)...know that you, as you are...your beliefs and thoughts are a perfect match for a number of women just looking for a hands off midwife. For that segment of the population you are absoutly perfect!

Sorry for the huge comment, and the spelling.

Shannon

Lizz said...

I am a Mama who births in my bed, by choice and it felt good. I am not a water birther even being a pisces and water lover. With my 2 huge babies I needed to feel grounded, to have real solid support to grab on to. And to put pressure on my bottom so they wouldn't fly out of my butt. lol

I think it's good to see all of the options.

ravenmama said...

every time i see a woman laying in bed while laboring i groan internally, and comment loudly to myself, or anyone else present LOL most of my exposure comes from watching those birth shows on TLC (terrible! i know!) i myself birthed the last time on all fours, (on my bed LOL) that was most comfortable.

Housefairy said...

I feel the EXACT same way. I have been creeped out by the latest issues of Midwifery Today for about 2 years actually.

you know another thing I have been having difficulty with? That show House Of Babies. First I praised it all over my blog, wow wow natural water borth on TV, yay yay. But then I was getting really uncomfortable with how EXTREMELY hands on the staff was. Each birth was EXACTLY the same. Episode after episode: Mom laying backwards in the jacuzzi, them telling her pushpushpushpushpush stop stop stop stop, pulling on her baby's head, plopping him on onto her chest, talking talking blabbing blabbing all the while sheis laboring, joking, chit chatting, teasing her....and then in 3rd stage, there was no reverence, there was cell phone calls and jokes and just LOADS of intervention.

This is not respecting the birth process. Not even close.

Jasmine said...

Hi there, I totally agree with you on this- I have been published before in Midwifery Today, and recently submitted an article about choices in childbirth that mentioned my recent unassisted birth (after a cesarean, thank you), and C. said they can not publish articles dealing with unassisted birth.
It is also really sad that by and large midwifery is seeming to become a(smaller) version of the medical-model...
What was that saying- "a touching birth through not touching birth..."

Brittney said...

I am heartened to hear there are others out there who hold the same ideas as myself. I struggle with the idea of being a midwife, even though my whole being tells me this is my calling in life. Why? Because, I *know* birth is best left alone.. I *know* it is sacred.. and I *know* as a true midwife, my part is to watch birth unfold, unhindered.. and to leave the birth with Momma knowing she could have done it all by herself.. because in fact, she did. And I want to keep it that way. However, the only midwife I have to look up to hold very different ideas about it than I do. I cringe when I hear "..so the mom.. this is her 4th baby.. was dialated to a 5, so I broke her waters and had her get out of the tub to help contractions pick up..."
*sigh* I actually get physically sick to my stomach.
I guess I didn't realize that my ideas of how a midwife should be.. how *I* want to be as a midwife.. were radical ideas.
Thanks for your ideas, hope to hear lots more!

Kneelingwoman said...

I don't know whether Midwifery Today has changed so much. I still have copies from 1987 and, as I compare them, I see little change in their orientation. I know that they have published UC stories and fairly recently; I believe there was one from Carla Hartley sometime in the last year. As I've noted on my blog; the reason that Midwives have become more interventive overall is because the legal climate in this country has become more risky, for midwives and parents alike. I continue to practice in the same "hands off" way I always have and I am equally appalled at the amount of intervention happening within many practices but I don't run a midwifery "business" and I don't set myself up to be the "birth goddess" for anyone. I also think birth is just a completely normal, every day thing; I don't think it needs to have a lot of expectation attached to it, as far as having value experientially beyond whatever it ends up being that day and that will depend on all kinds of things including the barometric pressure ( lol ) and what mom ate last night! I guess I think that there needs to be a lot of "lightening up" on these topics! Birth is birth....labor is labor. It brings what it brings. I don't know why some midwives mess around so much-- I have yet to rupture anyone's membranes, I've never "stripped" membranes, I go through years with virtually no vaginal exams during labor and most of my parents catch their own babies. I dont' know why that's "uncommon" but I don't think it's just that "midwives" have changed....the client base has changed too; alot.....

Anonymous said...

I have been researching quantum physics and it would do all of us midwives good to look into it. It would enable us to get back to the basic ways we can access woman's knowledge and wisdom that is uniquely ours. We have given up being # 1 in that arena because we are buying into the paternal model of childbirth. Men can't know woman's wisdon. They don't have the tools to do so. Midwives need to learn to trust their intuition which is based on that inner voice women and only women can learn to access. As the use of woman's knowledge has declined, outcomes of pregnancy have become more risky. If you doubt that, go back to the Madera Project. Another thought - we don't need monitors, our intuition are the monitors. Trust yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I have been researching quantum physics and it would do all of us midwives good to look into it. It would enable us to get back to the basic ways we can access woman's knowledge and wisdom that is uniquely ours. We have given up being # 1 in that arena because we are buying into the paternal model of childbirth. Men can't know woman's wisdon. They don't have the tools to do so. Midwives need to learn to trust their intuition which is based on that inner voice women and only women can learn to access. As the use of woman's knowledge has declined, outcomes of pregnancy have become more risky. If you doubt that, go back to the Madera Project. Another thought - we don't need monitors, our intuition are the monitors. Trust yourselves.