Sunday, 27 July 2008

Free Birthing

There has been a lot of publicity recently about this latest craze of women giving birth alone and unattended by either a midwife or a registered medical practitioner. In Britain, this legally falls into a grey area. It is against the law to give birth attended by anyone other than a midwife or doctor so by the very fact that most women have either a partner or friend with then who could be deemed as assisting the birth, they are in fact, breaking the law.

All this aside, it is also a very dangerous and foolhardy practice. Ok, I have read lovely accounts of how the baby just slipped from its mother and went on the breast and all was lovely and wonderful. But, in reality, giving birth is fraught with all kinds of dangers and problems and it is only because of the very skilled attendance and intervention from highly skilled midwives that prevents the maternal and neo-natal mortality rates being as high in this country as they are in Namibia for example.

In the third world and developing countries, women ‘free birth’ because they have no choice and they unfortunately die in large numbers as do their babies. These women would give anything to be able to access the level of care women in this country not only take for granted, but criticise. Women in this country have it all but still demand more, wanting a ‘birth experience’ that only exists in ‘fairy tales’. Birth is an experience in itself, but it is painful, frightening and can be above all lonely – why would any woman in their right minds want to do it on their own?

Only this week, a young woman gave birth on her own in a hotel in Spain – the baby died and she is being charge with infanticide. Of course we do not know the details of this sad case but I hope it does not prove to be one of another free birthing episode.

This concept is hotly under debated at the moment and whereas I can understand where women are coming from when they decide to go it alone, I wonder if it is truly because midwives have become so callous and uncaring that women would rather birth alone than have one in attendance – I find this hard to believe and wonder what other motives lie beneath this latest craze.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is probably because midwives are useless.

enajseer said...

Why do you think midwives are useless???

foxglove said...

A possible motivation for choosing unassisted birth is a woman's desire to have a home birth coupled with the low numbers of available home birth midwives. I have searched extensively, and can only find three or four home birth midwives in my WHOLE state. Perhaps women choose to give birth alone because they are unable to find an attendant within their area? I know I would go unassisted before I would go to a hospital...

gillberk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gillberk said...

I am going to talk about natural childbirth, and by this I don't just mean birth without pain medication.Birth is a process, connected to the life and desires of each individual mother. We birth how we live, and it is also through birth that we heal ourselves and our relationships.The difficulty is that many of us live in a culture where natural birth is not accepted, and it can feel difficult to open up to the reality that birth is normal and natural and is a wonderful part of our lives. But I maintain that the reality is always there, and all you need is yourself and your feelings and desires. I had to learn to get energy from those needed rests, rather than waste them anticipating the intensity of the next contraction.
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Peter

LINK BUILDING

Jane said...

God it pisses me off when people talk about birth as this magical mystery where you ride the waves and feel connected to the Goddess within. I'm all for women having the birth they want but there's no getting round the fact that it really bloody hurts.

I've had two babies and given the pressures and rotten pay, my midwives were fab. I'll never forget the lovely midwife Janey who ran round the hospital at 10.30pm to get me toast and marmite after my 28 hour labour. And the lovely Nigerian midwife who kept shouting: "Push down like you're having a big poo!" Both great ladies and I felt safe in their hands.

Anonymous said...

Please don't insult women who DO have a beautiful unassisted perfect birth. It is possible and very real.

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