Have you thought about what you want to take with you from your birth into the rest of your life? What birth story do you want to tell your children and grandchildren? Have you wondered how you can create Pleasurable Birth Memories? How to find and hold your power?
Having respect, dignity and being a part of decision-making may sound so simple and expected, and while pregnant you maybe more focused on being comfortable, trusting that you care team will keep birth safe, than thinking about if you will be treated with respect.
As a doula for many years and attending births and/or listening to women around the world, sadly I know that many women are not receiving the respect and dignity they assume they will.
In our singular focus on safety, we broke the circle of support and felt safety meant we would birth in medical institutions with strangers who could care for us better than our loved ones, but along the way, we lost much of the human caring, compassion, and love, that was a part of birth.
We know now that while it’s important for motherbaby to survive birth safely, we must also strive to thrive- emotionally and as a family (however family is presented). A conversation for another day is to question and ask are we actually more safe with our technology or are we just feeling more safe even though the risks of overuse of surgery, artificial hormones, narcotics, and other drugs and technology, can increase harms for MotherBaby?
As a birth activist and chair of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative, our organization has been at the forefront of a human rights framework around quality care with compassion and heart.
This week as Chair of the IMBCI, an NGO of the UN (in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council), I am at the United Nations speaking out and up for every MotherBaby’s right to respectful, quality care and the effect this will have on empowering women for the rest of their lives. If we want to empower women, we must care about how we care for and treat them in childbirth. This is a missed opportunity that we are only beginning to recognize.
Let’s get childbirth added to the Human Rights and Empowerment Agendas!
For too long we have felt birth was a day to get thru, we didn’t care if we pushed, pulled or cut babies out. It’s one day in a woman’s life but as Penny Simkin, and others have shown us, our birth memory is impacted by how we were treated- if we were respected, if we received love and support and at what level, if we had continuous companionship, if we were honored and consulted with choices and decision-making (informed consent and informed refusal). Together these factors create either a positive memory that will empower a mother, give her strength and power in all her life, or sadly, and too often today, when these elements are missing our maternity care system disempowers women, leaving new mothers with an emotional scar. The emotional scar will provide a map to the deepest parts of the mother who knows that something was not right, that a day that should have been joyful, blissful and, yes, orgasmic, has turned sad, stressful and, for a growing number of women, traumatic. This is unacceptable!
Light shines thru the darkness of this topic from individual medical providers who do strive to help women thrive. I was so delighted when a few years ago I met an amazing obstetrician Dr. Amali Lokugamage. We are both advisors to Human Rights in Childbirth and shared a passion for working to demand and create respectful gentle birth. She shared how she uses our 60 minute documentary Organic Birth: Birth is Natural! With medical students to discuss the many possibilities that birth holds in women, men and families lives and to help them see how important the way a woman is cared for in labor and birth can effect both the process and her ability to thrive.
More recently she joined the board of the IMBCI and this week we are together along with our other board members and representatives at the UN talking about respectful, dignified care, emotional support, compassion and caring and how when women thrive in childbirth they are empowered in all they do.
If you are a birth worker take time to enjoy Dr. Lokugamage’s Human Rights Lectures published on the WHO website about respectful maternity care. Everyone will enjoy the video about her book The Heart in the Womb which talks about cerebral oxytocin and its effects.
Another video I like is Join the transformation – Maternity care with Heart!
Join me and speak out for The Right to Respectful Maternity Care!
Pleasurable, blissful, joyful, Orgasmic Birth begins with respect, dignity and being a part of decision making so that every woman can birth where, with whom and how she wants with the safety, privacy and love she deserves to give birth with ease, power and pleasure!
Share your comments about respectful care. Did you receive respect, dignity and were you a part of decision making? Share your experience, advice and join us on Twitter to add childbirth to the Human Rights and Empowerment Agendas #OrgasmicBirth.
At a Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) Conference Hermine Hayes Klein Founder, Program Director, Board Chair of HRiC posed the following: “Why are we here to share them? What is the value of sharing these stories? Consciousness raising has always been women talking, sharing their stories with each other. There have been times and places where women’s talking has been considered a dangerous thing. Any maybe it is, to some. Because it is through sharing our stories that we understand how the very personal, private thing that happened to us fits into a bigger picture, one that invokes money, power and injustice. It is through stories that the personal becomes political. And so, if we want to see clarity around the basic autonomy rights of birthing women, their maternal rights to make decision on their babies’ behalf, and their reproductive right to pursue a physiological home birth, with a midwife, we can do nothing better than come together an talk about these legal proceedings, the people involved, and the legal arguments being made.” Read more from “Personal Becomes Political thru Birth Stories.”
Please share your comments here about respectful care and share your experience, advice with us on Twitter to add childbirth to the Human Rights and Empowerment Agendas @OrgasmicBirth.