How Much More Is There?

Social Media has done so much.  You can get information at the click of a button.  You can make friends with people on the other side of the world.  You can “like” someone or something just by sitting on your couch.  You can spread your message in your underwear and people will come read it.

And yet, how much are we truly accomplishing?

I mainly work with the birth community within social media.  I follow all the birth blogs, I read, I comment, I learn.  But, how many of the non-crunchy crowd are doing the same thing?  How many of the people that aren’t radical like me are even caring what we write?

The cesarean rate is going up daily.  Regardless of what I write on this blog, or my twitter, or my facebook.  The number of women being induced is going up.  Again, regardless of what I write.  The number of epidurals or pain medication being used is going up.  Women that want these things don’t read my blog.  They don’t read the birth books or blogs I do.  They are sheep.

They believe that the things we write are done out of spite.  That we hate hospitals, OBs, midwives and everything they stand for.  They think that we make up risks, that the movies we recommend are just to scare them.  That we are hippies who don’t know any better.  That their way is right.

Over the last few hundred years, we as women are bringing ourselves down.  First we let men push us onto our backs for birth so they could help better.  Then we took their drugs.  Then their idea that the hospital was safer.  Then we let them knock us out to drag out our children.  Then they told us that once we had a cesarean, that was the only way we could birth, that vaginal is unsafe.  Now, we are doing everything we once did.  We are letting others control our bodies.

Over the last 100+ years, we have demanded change.  We didn’t want to feel pain.  So they answered.  We didn’t want to have a wrecked vagina.  So they answered.  And now, we want to birth.  Now we want to feel.  And because of our past ignorance, no one takes us seriously.  We are the minority.  We want change.  And yet, we aren’t listened to.  After all, we are the hippy nuts that want to feel the pain and stretch so our husband’s don’t want us anymore.

We preach empowerment and informed consent and refusal.  We try to educate women that their choices have a profound impact on their confidence as a mother.  We try to inform on the risks of procedures, that they aren’t safe like we are told.  That nothing is the same as what your body can do naturally.

And yet, we aren’t being listened to.  Women that are doing these, don’t care.

After all, it is their body and their choice.  They know what they are doing.

The thing is, they really don’t.  They talk about how a healthy baby is all that matters.  That it doesn’t matter how the baby gets here.  It makes you wonder, why don’t they think they matter?  Why don’t they think that their choices are important?

Even women with dementia and those so old they don’t remember their names, they remember their births.  They remember how they were made to feel.  They remember how they were treated.  They remember.

Choosing an induction or a cesarean isn’t about information.  It is all about impatience and fear.  Impatience that your body will never start.  That you just want to be done.  Fear that you will tear, or be cut, or need an assisted delivery.  Fear that your body is flawed.

1 in 3 women leave the hospital with an incision in their abdomen.  1 in 3 women are told that this was the way their baby had to be born.  That their body did something wrong.  70% of women are told that their body doesn’t know what to do and they need labor induction or augmentation medication.  That their body is stuck.  That it needs help.  Even more are told that they don’t know how to push, that the better way to push is on their back, that the epidural is completely safe and won’t interfere with the birth or after.

And we believe it.

We are sheep.

All because we don’t have a medical degree and they do.

How bad will this have to get before all women see what is happening?  Will 50% of women need to be cut?  85%?  100%?  How many more women will have to die before we say it needs to end?  How many babies?  How many women need to have problems from their cesarean for us to admit it isn’t the better way to birth?  How many women need to be told they can’t do it before we all begin to question?

We as women have lost our power.  We have lost the goddess within ourselves.  We have made it so when we are pregnant, even if we have never needed help before, are automatically in the mindset we need tests and ultrasounds and pills.  We are thought to be sick and weak.

We put ourselves on a clock.  40 weeks and we are done.  Anything over that is dangerous.  That we are overdue.  We imagine that the baby is ready at 37 weeks and is just late coming out.  We never think that there is more to this process than just their lungs being ready.  No one ever questions if you labor prematurely.  They know the risks then.  But if you are 37 weeks, things should be fine.  We don’t question.

I didn’t question.  A NICU stay later, I wondered.  And then I knew I had failed my child.

Does it only take a bad experience to let you know something is wrong?  Does it only take being battered daily with birth information to realize there is something better?  Does it only take being open to the idea to know the system is flawed?

When will we as women stop holding ourselves back?  Pregnancy, birth, and raising children are some of the greatest things we can do.  Why are we being told by doctors or midwives that our bodies forgot how to do it?  And why are we believing them?!

Pregnancy and birth used to be sacred.  Something only women could do.  The highest form of respect to the next generation was a supported birth.  Back when we believed in the goddess.  Back before we lost our power.

We need to take back our power.  We need to take back respect.  We need to take back our births.

Even if no one reads this that doesn’t agree, the great thing about social media is it is out there.  Sure, it might never help anyone.  But either way, my words are there.

We need to change the way we birth.  We need to do this now so that our daughter’s aren’t facing something worse than we are.  We need to control ourselves.  We need to know that we aren’t sick.  We need to know that we as women hold the power over ourselves.

No woman should ever be told her body is flawed.  No woman should leave the hospital with an incision, whether in her abdomen or her perineum.  No woman should have to wonder what might have been if she had just said “No” that one more time.

No woman should be used.

Educate yourselves.  Empower yourselves.  Inform yourselves.

If not for you, then for the next generation of birthing women.  They need a better birth than what we have settled for.

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6 Responses

  1. I wish all women would read this blog.
    Very powerful post right here.

    The power if information is a wonderful thing.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. For saying that we have settled. Because we have. It is so sad.

  3. I love this, thank you so much for posting.

  4. TY, I wanted to stop reading because there is so much of myself that is still in pieces concerning birth. I believe with my whole heart that every experience is part of life, the good & bad. Yet, we’ve allowed ourselves to accept the unnecessary bad as normal. My goal is to allow myself to accept that the losses can be mourned and still remain hopeful for the beauty that birth is.

  5. kayce,
    Great post, so true!!!
    I haven’t been on your blog in a while since you switched names, happy to be back on it.
    Congratulations on your pregnancy. I’ll be following your story and am excited for you!

  6. Hi, I’m new to your blog. But just had to leave a comment on this fantastic post!

    OMGoodness!! I completely agree with what you wrote! Maternity care has become yet another avenue in which throughout recent history, some chauvinistic men have used medical and technological advances to assert their dominance and control over women during this special, new and often confusing time in their life . It is truly disgusting the amount of ways and frequency in which women are convinced that they are powerless, uneducated and weak; and therefore are not capable of learning about, knowing and trusting their own bodies through out pregnancy and birth. And tragically we have accepted this and settled for it for so long.

    However, I would say that you should not get too disheartened with the affect social media has on this issue with the general public, because I really think things and times are changing for the better.
    I actually began as one of those sheep you mentioned. So terrified of the whole process of reproduction that I convinced myself that I “should not” ever have children and if I did I’d need to be knocked out and cut open to avoid the horrific experience!

    Now I can not believe that I ever thought that way and pretty much have planned out a ‘low interference’ home water birth before I have even began to TTC. And I can say that the ONLY reason this change occurred is because I have been exposed to all types of differing views on social media sites. I would have never even considered the things I’ve learned now prior to experiencing the online ‘truly natural’ birth community, as ‘they’ do not teach you this ‘stuff’ in school and I did not grow up around this way of thinking either.

    So in short, keep up the good work informing women. It’s a slow process but it really does help and inspire some of us!

    Oh and best wishes for your pregnancy and birth, I look forward to following your journey.

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