Sometimes I think I should write only about writing. Writing takes up so much of my attention, those who read my blog certainly must get incredibly bored reading about it. But, here I go again. Writing about writing.
I’m finding myself, once again, in a place of stuck-ness with words. I’m watching from the sidelines – watching as Medblog after Medblog leaves the Blogosphere and it distresses me greatly.
While I have the permission of the women I write stories about, whose to say that 7 years down the road, a story I wrote about a shoulder dystocia doesn’t re-surface in court and I am sued because of some action I did or did not take? This is but one of a multitude of examples of the things that are going on in my head at the moment when it comes to my own blogging and storytelling.
Should I just write about birth in an abstract way from now on? Should I never write another true life birth story? Should every story be a combination of many women, all juxtaposed onto each other so that none is recognized? Should all of my writing become fictionalized?
I’ve spent a lifetime telling stories. I am the storyteller of the tribe. Around the dinner table, I am the one chosen to share the family stories; I hold them – every detail, retold the same, over and over and over again.
I’ve tried to write fiction and I really do suck at it. I excel at remembering details and re-telling them in verbal and written stories.
Why have I now found my storytelling self in this litigious culture that not only frowns on the sharing of stories, but also punishes the writer because the writer has a viewpoint that differs from the person being written about?
I know that answer. It’s because I am a midwife and I have been sworn to privacy between client and myself. I do understand that. And I do not write about anyone without permission; I learned to do that by hurting someone who did not know I was writing about them. However, the truth is, I don’t write about anyone now without permission. I do write about long ago clients without their permission because I don’t know where they are and cannot obtain their permission. I also loosen the identity tags so others won’t recognize them, even accidentally. I assume I will do the same as the years pass with those that are clients today. The issues mentioned above, the lawsuits for actions during births, are also relieved when re-telling older birth stories.
I envy doctors whose faces are behind masks or whose patients are anesthetized and whom are able to write about their jobs completely anonymously. No matter how anonymously I tried to write, I would still be discovered. Easily. The homebirth midwifery community is small and tight. And now I have written so much, my style is well-known.
I’ve considered hand-writing again instead of blogging. Or just writing for me on the computer and not putting it out onto the Web. It’s an odd consideration for me, this private journal writing experience I’d done for decades before I discovered blogging… yet hesitate returning to. Because I’ve had people read my private journals, it agitates me to think of having private journals lying about my home that someone might be able to read. I would have to lock them up. I could write here, in Word, and save them on cd’s or sticks, and they could be just for me as all those stacks of book journals are. I would certainly not have to edit a thing. I could write all the thoughts I think. I could write everything I think about all the women, their labors, their families, their homes, my behavior at their labors, births, and postpartum periods… I could write completely uninhibited… but who would it serve besides me? Am I the only person I write for?
Who do I write for? sigh (Here we go again.)
I’d rather edit and share more of the story with others. But what if that isn’t possible anymore? What if the blog culture isn’t going to allow that anymore? What if, as I write this, my hands are being tied and I am really not able to write about birth stories anymore?
I can only go ‘round and ‘round so many times about how much of a drag hospital birth is, how we need to change the whole perception of birth in this culture, how horrendous the cesarean rate is or how great birth can be when left alone. It is in my showing that has been my forte. In my storytelling, I have demonstrated the Truth that VBAC is safe at home, that shoulder dystocias can be resolved, that a care provider doesn’t have to control the experience, that babies are worthy of tenderness and intense love at birth and that women can and should be heard when they speak about their wishes, wants, needs and desires in birth.
I’m lost again. I hang my head thinking about the power Tenacious has to speak her Truth and keep willing my lips to open (hands to move), yet they remain closed (remain still) and I blink, stunned in confusion about where to turn next. Do I turn to the right and pick up a pen and write with my hand on paper and lock it up every night? Do I type in Word and hit Save and find some inner satisfaction that I am a writer as I have always been a writer… for myself? A journal writer, like the millions upon millions of journal writers before me? Or do I find some way to write about birth, telling stories bravely – perhaps getting written permission like I wanted to before – yet looking over my shoulder always thinking, “Did I say something in there I could be sued for down the road?” Do I also ask for a release from liability at the same time? Is all this asking for trouble? Isn’t this all so un-Secret-like?
I’m spinning, confused.
It’s why I’m not writing a lot.
I had a baby the other day. Another difficult birth. The Universe is having lag time understanding that I said I wasn’t having any more drama. I’m embarrassed to share the story, even. Anyway. The baby is beautiful, mom is healthy and I lived through the experience.
I want to write so, so much more.