New Beginnings Doula Training

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ethnocentrism in birth

Definition:  Judging other cultures based upon one's own culture; believing that one's own culture is superior to the culture of others.

Again, as a part of my class I am taking, we talked about ethnocentrism.  I have heard this term a lot, but started looking at it in a new light when I started thinking about birth culture.  Here's a few quotes I came across when I started looking for how other women talk to each other when discussing epidurals.

“You Cannot Have A Baby Without An Epidural…”

“Why Is Natural Birth So Important To You. Wouldn’t You Prefer A Healthy Baby…?”

“Well, OK, if that’s what you want.  But why cook over an open fire
when you could just use the microwave?” – OB to mother who said she did not want an epidural.
“If you hadn’t been so stubborn and had just had an epidural, you wouldn’t have needed a cesarean.”
"You wouldn't dream of  getting dental work done w/o pain relief...why not get an EPI?"
"You aren't seen as a hero in my eyes if you do it natural, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the process!"

And on the flip side....

"Who wants to give birth to a drugged baby if it's not necessary??"
"epidurals are for wimps"
"Epi's are taking a risk..anytime you bring in any interventions you are taking a sometimes unnecessary risk."
"I love when people who havent even had a kid make judgement to people based off of their "research""

“Let’s Give You The Pitocin Before The Epidural. I’m Not Convinced You’re Really Feeling This Yet.”

some quotes from:

The question is....are we just being ethnocentric or are we just right?  And if we are right, what is the best way of presenting how we feel in a way that won't undermine how another person thinks or feels?

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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.