Protecting Mother and Baby
I believe that midwives and doulas, despite their already large workload, have a duty to protect mother and baby. This role might not have fallen on us before such intense and dangerous interventions were used in pregnancy and birth. However, because of increasing misinformation, myth and medicalization, if we don’t inform them, many, if not most, women (are led to) believe that every test and intervention is necessary and helpful. Testing creates fear and, I believe, is designed either for bilking more money out of families in the childbearing year or for CYA (cover your ass) politics.
I once asked my favorite backup doctor (after he quit backing us) why so many cesareans were being performed and he honestly said, “because of lawsuits.” That means doctors cut a woman open at the time that should be her miracle because they are afraid of being sued. Focus on that, one third of women are cut open because of the possibility of lawsuits. That blows my mind. (Hmmm, there is a title. Modern birth as a mind blower. But all kidding aside.) Motherbaby has been left with a scar so big that it may never heal. This is horrible and society is beginning to show it.
So you can see why we need to protect them from medicalization, intervention and trauma. But how do we do that? With information, insight and love. Midwives and doulas are incredibly well-set for this because they are often the most loving people you will find. Most are curious and are willing to learn so they can better serve those they come in contact with. We can easily teach our clients, and even our friends and the people we meet. We can protect them with what we know and our willingness to fight fear with faith and love.
But how do we increase our sphere of influence? Our culture is so filled with fear, when faith is what is required and what works. It can be hard to get a baby out when you do not trust that you can do it. Unnecessary testing just undermines momma and puts her head and heart in a space that is hard to overcome when labor starts.
I know that we can influence everyone we come in contact with who will listen. Let your passion out. Let it show. There are also many activist “birth change” acts that we can carry out. Midwifery Today has covered this subject in an ongoing way at conferences, magazine themes and articles. It is a large part of what we are dedicated to. See Sara Wickham’s excellent article, “26 Ways to Change Birth.” Let’s all work at birth change. Robbie Davis-Floyd says if we continue to work at it, we will reach “critical mass,” which is 25%. If 25% of people know about great birth and tell other people, we can get reach a goal of permanently changing birth for the better.
Thank you for doing your part. Don’t give up. You are in good company. Together we can do it.