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Sunday
Sep042011

Suddenly...

… I notice I don’t fit in the Natural Childbirth Community (NBC) anymore. This is probably a “duh” moment for many folks, but it wasn’t until I was invited into a Natural Birth Professionals group in Facebook that I really caught up that I just don’t belong anymore. 

I cannot support the unrealistic and non-evidence-based beliefs of so many of these women. I stuck it out for a couple of days thinking a dissenting opinion could be a good one, but it was obvious peer pressure was the unspoken rule of the road. 

When the topic of the Brewer Diet came up and I said it was pure bunk and could actually cause harm to the kidneys in susceptible women (which I have seen happen first-hand), several women defended it saying so-and-so had preeclampsia in one (or more) pregnancies and then followed the Brewer Diet and miraculously didn’t have preeclampsia in that pregnancy. Another woman said some woman was an “expert” on the Brewer Diet and she was on their faculty. Surprised, I looked to see what college she was the faculty of and it was a non-NARM-accredited “midwifery school.” Can you see me rolling my eyes? I’ve been asked to discuss the Brewer Diet here on several occasions and am sure I’m getting close to expending the time and energy to do so, but that isn’t the purpose of this post. 

This post is to express my dismay at the Natural Birth Advocates (NBAs) and their continued insistence on evidenced-based care and then going completely against what evidence there is! From homeopathy to acupuncture… from not acknowledging anything being too risky to deliver at home to the blasé acceptance of babies dying or being damaged in homebirths… I just can’t take it anymore. 

I may never have another reader again… may be boycotted the way the SOB is, but that’s fine with me. I am not going to tow the party line any more. I don’t know what I would consider myself, but I do need to separate myself from the NBC. 

The Birth Professionals group was one thing, but the cesarean birth my daughter just had was the last piece of patience I had. 

When Meghann got pregnant, we discussed home and hospital birth. I simply did not feel comfortable encouraging a homebirth for my granddaughter and helped her find a wonderful group of CNMs. They were fantastic! Then, on August 31, my daughter went into natural labor and we went to the hospital when it seemed she was in active labor. I’m leaving out a slew of details because I don’t want to tell her story yet, but we were treated like royalty at the hospital, a truly unhindered birth even with tiny bits of technology thrown in (an oxymoron to the NBAs). Meghann and her husband Brian were kind enough to let me chronicle her labor and birth on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook page and the grand majority of folks were lovely and incredibly supportive. But, when things shifted and it was obvious a cesarean was necessary, a couple of purists felt it was their place to comment… er, judge… what they thought was happening, without the benefit of actually knowing because I wasn’t expressing everything online. 

I paused as things moved to more complicated, thinking, “How will this look to others? A midwife whose UC-born daughter needing a cesarean?” And I hated that I even had to expend an ounce of energy on such a stupid, irrelevant thought. Why should I care one iota what others think? 

Because (too many) others will tear apart her birth story… especially if I wrote her story out, which I am not sure I even want to anymore. Even if I wrote the facts as I know them, her decisions will be picked apart like so much carrion; like I have done to others’ stories myself. 

This acknowledgement that I have dissected other women’s stories is another aspect that lets me know I’ve left the NBC; I am embarrassed and even ashamed that I have hurt other mothers and perhaps tarnished their stories. I pray I won’t ever do that again. 

Just the few negative comments about Meghann’s choosing to have a cesarean after 32 hours of labor and bouts of fetal distress soured me on laying out her birth, knowing criticism will be a side effect of the story here in my blog. 

This morning, I read through the comments and questions on the Natural Birth Professionals page and winced seeing women I simply cannot have civil conversations with anymore. I try to be polite, but their out and out ignorance… and, I’ll just say it… stupidity about what they think birth is supposed to be irks me no end. And the topics? rolling my eyes again How many times can we hear to leave women to labor indefinitely because their body will work it out if left alone? Or that pain relief should be the absolute “last resort” after trying every single idea the judging woman thinks is appropriate? 

I just can’t take it anymore. I’ll have to find a name for myself. I embrace “Medwife” now, but think there’s a place for us middle-of-the-roaders… Realistic Birth Advocates? I kind of like that. It’s taken nearly thirty years to get here, but here I am. And perhaps for the first time, I feel at peace with my place in birth.