When I found out I was expecting this time, I thought I’d probably have to go to a traditional obstetrics practice; my first birth was premature, and was likely caused by my bicornuate uterus. I figured it would be ok if I chose a women-run practice, that the gaps between it and midwifery care would not be so great. I was wrong.
The loaded language of the modern medical pregnancy is enough to make a woman believe that she is incapable of figuring out how to birth a baby. Except that the body is designed to do just that, before there were ultrasound machines, or quad screens, or obstetrics.
I have felt like mentioning – ok, screaming – this as of late. Instead of being asked to consider different treatments, instead of conversations where the assumption is that the mother knows and is capable of knowing about her body and the process of pregnancy and childbirth, the mother is told what to do. It’s not sitting well.
My nurse knows nothing about vegetarian diets, and actually asked me if I’m getting enough protein. Sigh. I never had these issues with the midwifery practice – they understood that a veggie diet is not a risk for healthy fetal development, and gave me props for my hematocrit levels at the start and the 28 week point.
The other part has been more than a little annoying. From the perspective of the practitioner, I have a name: high risk. I get this name based on nothing in my chart, other than my birthdate. I’m wondering how many women go through this without knowing that they own the birth. They know what to do, they can trust their instincts, but they would do well with some knowledgeable support. What if more women knew about their bodies, the glorious power of them, their ebb and flow? What if this self-knowledge were as common as knowing one’s shoe size? Midwifes understand the power this knowledge gives; obstetric practices would do well to take heed.