I am often asked why I advocate the midwifery model of care. Usually the question is accompanied with a disproving tone and an eye roll, as if I am looking down or judging those who do not. Before I had my daughter, I was told to “shut up” about my “hippie” thoughts on childbirth. I had never experienced labor, so what qualified me to talk about it. What qualified me? To me, my qualification stemmed from hours of reading and researching many forms of manuscripts about laboring mothers’ trauma while experiencing the “common”/”accepted”/”expected” medical model of care from OBs and hospitals all over the United States, but specifically Alabama. I felt qualified after examining study after study showing proven statistics about the harsh and unsafe environment of the current medical model of maternity care versus the midwifery model of care. I felt qualified while reading and crying over these manuscripts for each mother who lost her infant during the birthing process or shortly afterwards due to the careless OB’s or hospital’s actions, or experienced such emotional and physical trauma she would never want to experience childbirth again.
Guess the number one statement I read and heard repeatedly after a mother shares her trauma or loss experience. “I wish I had known the dangers before.” Or at least some form of that statement. “I wish I had known…”, “Why didn’t the OB tell me the risks?” Expecting women fully trust their OBs/hospitals/neonatal nurses to give them the best maternity care possible. Yet, many times they are lied to, bullied during labor, and led to believe they are being “saved”.
Tonight’s post isn’t about midwifery versus current medical model of care in the United States or Alabama. I’ve had a heavy heart all day. My mind has been else where all day. I’ve cried numerous times today. Why? Because I have a dear, sweet friend; along with her wonderful husband and daughter, that should be celebrating Eliza’s first birthday today. Eliza should be smashing a cake, receiving gifts, and admired by family and friends. Instead, she is being mourned by so many. Her mother, father, and big sister are fighting a horrific battle from the memories that transpired a year ago in an Alabama labor and delivery hospital room. My heart aches for them and each mother that has experienced such a loss. I can think of several family and friends right now with similar birthing stories. And countless traumatic birthing stories where the mother and baby lived, but will forever be scarred. They are the reason I fight so hard to educate women that there is a better model of maternal care…midwifery. We do not need the pain medications, the inductions, and other interventions during birth. For some women it is necessary. But not at the rate as reported today.
Please read Eliza’s birth story #ElizaShouldBeHere
To hear my friend tell her birth story, in her pain filled words, is heart wrenching. I do not want another mother to have this experience. I want to educate each woman on the dangers of labor medications, interventions, and C-sections. I’m not judging those who decided or will decide differently; but be aware of the dangers. Don’t blindly trust every word your OB says to you. Do your own research! Unfortunately, my friend lives in a state where her choices are extremely limited for maternity care. We can only hope and pray that the state legislation hear these mothers’ cries and change the current laws. This is why it is so important to talk about obstetric violence and demand change.