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Entries in introspection (7)


Responsible Blogging

Angela Horn, on her new blog Doula2You wrote a post entitled, “Ethics in the Childbirth Blog-sphere” (sic) about the responsibility a blogger takes just by writing her (or his) words on the Internet. 

“When we proclaim ourselves as experts, by certification or opinion (blogs) we are responsible for our words. We have an obligation to our clients and/or readers to provide accurate information and to disclose our bias. When we conduct ourselves as experts in a particular field many followers of that field will trust what we say and take it as fact. While I don’t disagree that readers have the obligation to do their own research and make their own informed decisions that doesn’t absolve the birth advocate/blogger of the responsibility for their own words and how they are presented.” 

This topic comes up every few months, especially when someone took the advice of an online “counselor” and had a negative or even tragic outcome. Women who let their pregnancies continue past 42 weeks or who have Unassisted Births with a breech baby readily come to mind; certain “natural birth” community forums leading the way against safety and, all too often, even common sense. What is it that makes it so easy to take a stranger’s advice when real life advice says otherwise? I’m reminded of second (and third) opinions… continuing to ask for “opinions” until someone finally says what you want to hear. “Aha! See! I was right after all!” When it comes to childbirth, ask ten women what they think and you’ll get fifteen answers. Eventually, you’ll hear what you wanted to hear in the first place. 

But blogging isn’t quite a community forum. Bloggers taking on a more serious tone, sounding more professional, when, in fact, all we bloggers really are are darn good writers (for the most part). We don’t necessarily know any more than anyone else, we’re just good at getting the information out there. And yes, myself included. 

So, do we bloggers have a responsibility to our readers? Do we need to put disclaimers on each post saying, “This is my opinion. To figure out yours, read and research a LOT. Do not just take my word for it.”? 

I’d love to hear from the women themselves how they think we should present ourselves, how we remind women we’re human, too, and don’t know it all (despite some believing they do). How do we demonstrate our specialties while also showing our warts? Is it only through time that someone earns respect?

What do you think?



Not that this is news to anyone who reads here regularly, but I’m going to take a formal break for awhile… not sure how long at this point, but the worry over not writing, especially not writing blog posts on the blogs, causes much distress as I work to heal from this intense depression. 

If something pops up here or there, cool! I might even toss up some pics of the granddaughter, but no commitment of posting anything until… who knows when. 

Until then, I’ll be working on my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (pardon the Wiki link, but they have a great, easy-to-read, explanation of DBT) individually and in groups. I might not be writing here, but I will, most assuredly, will be working hard - on healing.

One of my meditation focuses.


Preface to Birth Rape Piece (questions)

(Not that I really need to say this, but serious Trigger Warning.)

Okay, so I'm working on a piece that's a (long) comment to Jennifer Zimmerman's wonderful article "What Feminists Should Know About Birth Rape” and I'm toddling along just fine , but now I've butted up against the profile of a medical rapist; there isn't one. Yet.

Profiling, while not an exact science, does help those that look for, arrest and incarcerate perpetrators so they are able to help the rest of us avoid these animals. Profiling also helps therapists and rape counselors so they can help rape victims find their way in the world again.

For me, when I was raped and went to therapy, it was extremely helpful to understand the profile of my rapist. First, for him, it was a crime of opportunity... not (that we could tell) a serial rapist, but one that delighted in a very drunk and very vulnerable teenager. When we move into the categorization, he (and his friends) fell into the Power Assertive type of rapist.

"Power-assertive rapist: Athletic, has a 'macho' image of himself. More often than not, this is the type who commits date rapes. He typically meets his victim in a bar or nightclub. Instead of targeting a specific victim, he looks for an opportunity to get a woman alone with him, perhaps with an offer of a ride home or an invitation back to his place."

And "This offender may have self-esteem problems and rapes the victim in order to prove to himself that he is a man."

In therapy, my therapist described this man (and his friends) as having low self-esteem and they raped in order to (spiritually) grab the strong sense of self the woman had/owned... that he came with shit, deposited the shit into the woman, left with her power and she was left with his shit -literally and figuratively. This helped me so much to find a way to take back my power from these assholes (understatement).

So, while I have the absolute belief in birth rape as an action of violence against women and I will include the legal definitions of rape from different sources that validate medical rape, there are absolute contradictions when trying to put birth rape into the general rape category.

Do we need new words/terms for medical rape (as many have suggested all along)? Perhaps creating a profile of a medical/obstetric rapist would be helpful in creating a universal definition of what birth rape is.

I've defended the use of the term "birth rape" for years, but I hadn't taken a look into the general rapist definitions/profiles in years (for whatever reason). Now I'm not quite sure what to think or do about the comment piece. The first 3/4 of it is defending the term and now, as I delve into the legal definitions and profiling, my piece has taken a decided turn to the opposite viewpoint.

Do I keep going and let the post be ambiguous or, worse, schizophrenic? Or do I stop and re-group, taking time to think about what I really believe about the term? As you can tell, I don't know what I think anymore! Should I just set it aside until I have an answer? Or is the ambiguity okay and be incorporated into the finished product.



Facebook or Blog...

... that is the question.

I love my blog. Love love love it, but she's definitely become the neglected step-child in my writing life. What is up with that?

I write so much more in Facebook and wondered if other bloggers do the same. I throw out links and comment, I answer questions, sometimes in full-length posts. Why don't they end up here?

When I started the Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page, I didn't realize it was going to morph into the luscious Question & Answer forum it's becoming. It's become apparent that those questions and answers must find light over here in the blog; they are simply too profound to leave lingering in Facebook.

But is there the risk of people reading one or the other, thinking I'm merely duplicating Facebook and why bother reading the blog at all? Do I have more to say than the snippets I snark in Facebook? Should I drag some of those articles over here and comment more elaborately?

I have so, so many blog posts mid-written... great ones like "Comment on 'What Feminists Need to Know About Birthrape,'" "Getting Your Medical Records," "Lying to Your Care Provider," "Demonstrate Seriousness in a Birth Career" and "Decisions in Midwifery: Legal, Ethical and Practical." Some are now so out-of-date, they'll need to be completely re-written, but are still great premises to jump off of. I also get suggestions for topics to write about every few days. Some are appealing; others aren't my specialty, so aren't enticing at all.

I know I have to figure out a balance, but each place has their... uh... place! in my writing world. What do other bloggers do? Thank goodness I don't tweet, too! I'd drive myself bonkers.

So, for today, work on blog posts. I have a lot of Facebook posts to bring over and then I'd love to actually finish one of the articles I have going. But, there's that birth plan on that other site worth critiquing, too.

Decisions, decisions.


FB Inquiry: What was the BEST decision you made as a parent in 2010?

Recently, I posed this question to my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook fans. These were the answers: 

RNK: To have a home birth! 

NF: Enrolling my kids in The Madison Waldorf School. 

LMS: Heading to the hospital when we did during Zoey's labor… oh and being emotionally ok with not having my planned homebirth. 

CM: To trust in my baby and my body to have a beautifully unplanned homebirth. 

JA: Asking friends and family for help... needed a lot of it with babies 16 months apart and a husband who has to travel for work. 

MBM: Deciding to put my 10-year old back in public school, because home schooling really wasn't a good fit for him. 

NWB: Deciding to finally start taking better care of their mother! 

GP: Refusing the elective c-section for suspected macrosomia and going on to have the unmedicated birth with my doula that we had planned for months (and my baby was only 8 lbs 1 oz!). 

MAH: To start keeping my mouth shut. 

KP: Not returning to a destructive relationship. Continuing to choose self-love over pressure to please others. 

SHB: To pursue getting my son evaluated for autism spectrum disorders... and then working hard to get him evaluated through our school district so that we could get him the therapies he desperately needed! It's been one of the hardest years of my life, but also good in many ways, too. And now as the year is drawing to a close, things our stablizing and we are starting to have peace in many formerly-chaotic areas of our life and marriage. 

AF: To take my kids out of a school that was terrible for them. 

HT: Letting my 3.5 year-old start co-sleeping with me when he went back to preschool. Prior to that, he always started the night in his own bed (with no resistance), and then sometimes climbed into ours early in the morning. When he went back to preschool after being home with me for 6 weeks (I work on an academic clock, too), he really needed that extra contact and wanted to go to sleep in the big bed. And it’s been one of THE best decisions I’ve made so far—to just accept it and embrace the fact that co-sleeping is EASIER and the better choice for us right now.

CB: To cut back on the number of births I was attending so that my family would feel like they were the priority in my life.

This is a great start. What about you? What decision have you been proud of this year?


The Post List Grows Longer

While I didn't meet the goal of a post a day in November (and it's over already?!), I did scribble a list of topics/titles that could end up as blog posts.

- public criticisms of natural birth

- Vitamin D and breastfed babies

- motivations in natural birth

- when you and your doctors disagree

- milk sharing

- comments on several other bloggers' posts

And the one I'm working on right now is "Thoughts About What Feminists Should Know About Birth Rape".

(All titles are a work in progress; not set in stone until posted.)

My birthrape post... I don't know why I just don't write a booklet about it. I always feel compelled to quote the laws on assault, battery and rape to shut the critics up. What complicates things are the laws are different in all 50 states and then if we add other countries into the mix, it gets even more convoluted. But I did find the definition on the Amnesty International site, so that should be helpful.

And do definitions really mean a damn thing when it comes to a woman's experience? Should we have to defend our usage of the word "rape" when we speak about birthrape? We shouldn't have to, but since the word (words) is (are) becoming more common and more non-birthy people are commenting about it, up in arms that the words "birth" and "rape" are being used together, I do feel there need to be articles or posts the mainstream press can refer to. There has to be some piece that parallels our description of birthrape and the legal definitions of rape... not just from an emotional place (which is wildly valid all on its own of course), but from the place of law. Just like folks appreciate proof via medical studies (not that anyone really listens to them), when we can point to written laws, skeptics might actually listen.

There are other pieces in the works, but I'd like to finish some of those mentioned above. This birthrape one in particular.

I'm working on it! 


The Bloggerhood (as seen from my window)

I'm watching a movie called "Motherhood" for the second time tonight.

Besides the really great examples of the plethora of mothers out in the real world, Uma Thurman's character is a blogger.

I've taken to watching movies about bloggers.

Even if the movie is on as background noise, I find blogger sub-texts fascinating. I'm trying really hard to mash the inspiration I see/hear into my psyche, hoping the end result will be more blog posts.

Something's missing in the translation.

I think about bloggers a lot. I try imagining the men and women, pecking away on their keyboards, some smoking incessantly, sloppily sipping Diet Coke. Or mommy bloggers who shoosh their kids over and over again... or sit their brood down at the dining room table with a crafty project that keeps them occupied for three hour spurts so mom can write fascinating observations about other moms' lives. Those bloggers always get published.

What about the nursey/midwife bloggers like me; where do they find the time? I think I have more time because my client load is light, because I have grown kids, because I only have to feed the dogs twice a day... and I can snack on almonds and raisins for hours on end without getting up except to pee. So, if I have more time, where the hell are my posts? If magazine articles were flowing like waterfalls from my fingertips, I'd kind of give me a hall pass.

But for crying in a bucket, my words are constipated, impacted... needing some Citracel caplets to eek out even a few syllables.

Maybe if I watch "Julie & Julia" one more time.

Uma Thurman's mama-character carries her Mac around with her, seemingly, everywhere. She peeks her head up while watching her son play at the public playground. She tippity taps in few moments' long spurts; how she keeps a coherent point through fits and starts is beyond me.

But, she doesn't write tomes. She writes three and four lines of thoughts at a time, those brief glimpses into her world, published several times a day. Her words demonstrate the length of time she can focus on any one thing, yet the running dialogue simmers quietly beneath the surface of her crazy frazzled life.

Oddly, I've evolved from a pretty easy-going blogger to one who feels that every. single. post. must. make. A. Statement. Where did my fun side go? Where's the humor in always nit-picking about midwifery, medicine and birth? I've lost my silly side as the blogging years have passed. I wonder where she is?

Maybe I don't need to write forever-long posts all the time. Maybe I don't always need to research my ass off before hitting the publish key. Maybe I can write three or four line posts that inspire thoughts and questions beyond "And she said this why?"

Maybe I can be funny sometimes.

Maybe I can have regular BMs with the computer... Blogging Moments. I'd certainly like to try.