Birth is a Human Rights Issue
I have thought a lot about “Birth is a Human Rights Issue,” possibly because of hearing so many brutal birth stories. We have been publishing Midwifery Today for 24 years, since 1986. In those years of publishing birth and midwifery information many, many birth stories have come across my desk. There have been stories of incredible highs and empowerment in birth, forming a strong foundation for mothering. However, often these stories are accompanied by preludes to this birth of one or more horrendous stories the author has endured. Many are just horrible stories with no good birth after.
My own stories are similar in impact. Bad birth followed by good birth often prompts a women to become a midwife or other birth practitioner. I prefer women come to birth work with all good births! You can be just as good a midwife having had all great births yourself. Every birth is a real story of a woman and baby and her family. This really played in my mind when I learned that Strasbourg was the Human Rights Capital of the European Union. The idea that “Birth is a Human Rights Issue” jelled in my mind for the first time when I learned that. The idea of the theme came from the place.
If you can, read ICAN’s book of birth stories, which Midwifery Today was privileged to choose stories from to reprint in our magazine. All are stories of pain, mostly from “unnecessarians.” I cried every time I read them. I still do. They have been made into a book now. I have seen and felt with my sisters both the devastation and the joy these memories contain. Memories of birth, whether good or horrendous, are some of the strongest we have. They are not forgotten. We all want to love our birth stories. It is a right to have the most optimal birth possible. Birth really is a human rights issue. The whole world has offended this right. Let’s change that. Our conference in Strasbourg, France September 29-October 3, 2010 will explore this issue.
Love Jan Tritten,
Mother of Midwifery Today
Documented Causes of UnneCesareans by Judy Slome Cohain