I'm writing this post as an assignment for a class I'm taking. This is where I collect my thoughts and then disperse them, so that others can relate to me. Enjoy!
Why am I interested in midwifery? Why do I think it's for me? How did I find out about midwives? After having two very medicalized and invasive(but not surgical) births, I knew I wanted a different way to have my third child. I knew even before I conceived my youngest that something had to be different. So, I started looking into more natural and alternative births.
This started when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child. I started looking into natural techniques and took a hypno-birthing class. I was interested in natural birth, but I didn't seem to have my mind wrapped around what a truly natural birth was. The idea of it was great, but the pressures of being at the hospital and having the drugs was overpowering and I caved.
When I found out I was pregnant with Levi, my youngest, I knew, for a fact that I would not have him in the hospital and I would not have drugs. Call it what you will, but my intuition kicked into high gear from that point on. I researched endlessly about birth and precautions to take to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery.
By my third trimester, I knew I wanted to be a birth professional. Wether it be a doula, midwife or OB nurse, it was going to happen. All of my research led me to one conclusion: that the state of maternal healthcare in the U.S. was in horrible shape. Women's needs are disregarded and are coerced and even forced to do things they did not want to do, all in the name of a healthy baby. It never mattered to these healthcare professionals HOW the baby came into the world, but if a live baby was delivered, they'd done their job and that was good enough.
This is not true. All a mother wants is to have a healthy, happy baby. This is why they are swayed so easily to do a doctor or nurse's and midwife's bidding. My mission in becoming a midwife is to educate women about their bodies. Not just in childbirth, but their overall health, to live a long and fulfilling life.
To me, midwives are the ones meant to care for women. When a complication arises, this is the Obstetrician's job. To treat the complication and resolve it. Low-risk women do not need to see an obstetrician, because an OB's training doesn't cover an uncomplicated pregnancy and labor. Because obstetricians deal with complications, most will warn any low-risk mother about something happening so that they get what they need.
If a labor is taking too long, better put her on pitocin! If she's feeling too much pain from the pitocin, better get her that epidural. The epidural stopped her contractions, better up the "pit"! Well, now the baby is in distress, we better give her a c-section! This is the famous phrase that women in the natural birth community like to call "cascade of interventions".
Obstetricians and OB Nurses are not trained in the normal physiology of birth. In their world, women are pumped full of drugs, laiden with wires and IV's and stay in bed until it's time to push or the mother or baby show signs of distress, leading to c-section, in 33% of births. As well as laying flat on their backs, pushing to a 10-count.
Midwives are trained in the natural physiology of birth. Gravity is nature's best friend. A laboring mother needs peace and calm and resolve and positive affirmation to give birth. This is often not facilitated in hospitals. Often times, there are doctors and nurses coming and going. All of these strange people, in a strange environment(hospital), touching you and inserting things into you, sometimes against your wishes. This can cause longer labors, and will stall a labor, leading to the mother to be convinced that pitocin is needed.
This is what I want to change. I want women to be in tune with themselves. I want them to feel empowered and to feel joy as they come closer to meeting their baby. I want them to know their bodies. I want them to know their rights as a patient. I want them to be able to cure a condition, instead of trying to cover it up with drugs (i.e. high blood pressure, onset of pre-eclampsia, extreme morning sickness). I want to give women the power to choose the birth that they want, because they know what is best for themselves. Because this is something I did not have with my first two children.
Knowledge is power and I want to give women the gift of the knowledge that their bodies are just as they should be. They are not broken. They are not ill. 40 weeks is not their expiration date. Women, as complex as our bodies may be, are made this way for a reason. We were built to create life and bring it forth. Birth is a big deal and I see it as my duty to let women know this.