New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Giver

A while ago, my husband and I went to see the play "The Giver". If any of you have not read the book, I highly recommend it. Essetially it involves a society that tried to take away everyone's pain, but in the process also took away free agency, and the ability to experience joy. It's an interesting concept. There was an quote that I found partidulary interesting that came from the playbook.

"What they failed to realize in the process of trying to create a utopian society was that the other consequences of agency would also be abloished, namely compasion, hope, discovery, and love, among others. The end result..was in fact dystopian rather than ideal".

I don't think we've quit reached this point in our maternity system, but we are skirting a line. In our efforts to create a safer, less painful birth place, we have taken some freedoms that women used to enjoy. The ability to get up and move is one of those. Also the ability to refuse treatment is undermined in some ways. Some women have procedures done to them without even knowing, like an episiotomy or the water broken.

Is this all worth it? Some may say yes. We have a low infant and maternal mortality rate comparted to 50 years ago(though it is still one of the highest in the developed nations). Women have the ability to choose a less painful birth that is relatively safe.

On the flip side, births are standardized and medicalized for no apparent reason. Some women have had a difficult time getting their voices to be heard. Trauma does occur, and women are told to be quite about it.

I really don't want to debate who is right and wrong here(that's been done in many places). I just want to bring up the idea that maybe our quest for a painless, perfect, cookie cutter birth, may have unintended consequences. I really think we need to look long and hard at how we do birth in the US. While many women are satisfied, their are many who have felt the pain of a birth taken out of their control.

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.