Birth Matters

Things I want to share

Over the years, I've come across some amazing stuff.  Essays, poetry, art, letters...I save it on my hard-drive and there it sits.  And then I realized -- I have a way to share these things that have moved me so much.  That's what this section is about -- giving voice to others who need to say something.  So, please remember -- I didn't create any of this.  You can write to me about it if you want but I'm not going to defend or interpret it -- as far as I'm concerned, this is art -- and what it says to you might be different from what it says to me.  Yes, some of it is anonymous.  Sometimes there are things that can't be said any other way.  Yes, for the most part, I know who these people are (I am currently having an ethical crisis -- I didn't save enough identifying information on some of the best stuff...and I REALLY want to share it...but have no way to get permission.  I'm not quite sure what to do about that).  But I am going to respect any decision to remain anonymous.  I feel no obligation whatsoever to give voice to some "other side" -- I might but then again, I might not (hey, if you think you can write something compelling in answer to something you've read here, go for it.  Email it to me and we'll talk).  The way I see it, "the other side" on most of the issues that I feel strongly about has more than enough exposure. This is the stuff that's hard to find.   And I fully expect some of it to be controversial, some of it to piss you off or challenge you.  Remember, being challenged is a good thing, it'll make you more sure of exactly what you do believe!  All of that said, I hope you are moved by what you see here.  I was.

Gretchen

July 28, 2006

Blue Eyes  I met Shannon for the first time at the 2003 ICAN conference in Florida.  She had no idea what she was getting into -- she's doula and has 4 kids, 3 of them VBACs, back in the day when having a VBAC was what you did.  She was there for the CE and ended up part of ICAN.  She is one of the most passionate women I know when it comes to woman centered care.

OB Alphabet  Years ago, I snagged this off of an email list for OBGYNs where I occasionally lurk. It isn't here because I think its particularly hysterical but rather because I believe humor is a window into what we really believe.  And that's a big reason why I lurk there at all -- because while its a "public" list, only professionals are allowed to post.  So they tend to forget that there could be just about anyone there, and they do "let their hair down" so to speak.  I think most women who use obstetrical services would be SHOCKED at the way some of these physicians talk about their patients. (yes, I know that there needs to be a place to vent for any professional, and believe me, after a night where I've had to euthanize multiple animals, I understand gallows humor but there is no excuse for the overt misogyny I've witnessed there!)  "How can I lurk on that list?" you ask?  Well, email me and I'll tell you.  I will also make you promise to never ever ever ever post there, even if your blood pressure reaches severe pre-eclamptic levels because they forget that anyone can be reading...and if they get slammed by a bunch of "non-professionals" they'll close the list.  And I like being a fly on the obstetrical wall!

Alphabet Birth Bonnie underwent a medically unnecessary cesarean surgery for the birth of her daughter in 1988.  She has gone on to birth two other children in her home.   Her quest for understanding birth, lead her to becoming a certified childbirth educator for BirthWorks.  She also attends women in labor as a doula in both home and hospital.  She's also one of the wisest women I've met in my work with birthing women.

This poem was written around the third anniversary of her c/section.  Her first homebirth occured about 9 months later.  She suggests that you read the poem outloud.

My Cesarean Poem I met Barbara on the ICAN list, shortly after her cesarean.  She posted this poem there, written 3-4 months after her cesarean.  Barbara has since become a doula, an ICAN Chapter Leader and Birth Activist.  She is also expecting her second child, a planned homebirth, in Fall 2006.  If you'd like to contact her, please email her at womancaredoula@comcast.net

Letter to My Doula There are varying definitions of what a "doula" is.  Usually, a doula is a woman who has some level of training (formal or otherwise) in how to support another woman during pregnancy and particularly during labor.  Most of the time, doulas ask for some sort of fee for their services, though by no means is this an absolute.   It is fair to say that a woman who contracts with a doula is very likely a woman who is wants a low-intervention labor and birth.  And, since most births occur in the hospital, most doula's work in that environment.  This has made the work of "supporting the woman" a lot more complicated than most women realize, often to their sorrow.