A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this blog post, in which a childbirth educator talks very eloquently about how difficult it can be to work in the birth world at this time in history. Sharon Muza describes how so many parents feel bruised, shocked, battered and traumatised by the treatment they receive during their birth experience, and asks if and how we can better prepare them for this.
I’ve been asking myself that question a lot recently, as I write the final chapters of my next book, Twenty things I wish every woman knew about birth. (Yes, I’m still writing it, and the first draft is actually nearly finished, but I’ve been so focused on getting my post-term pregnancy online course up and running that I’ve not had time to mention it recently).
This paragraph particularly struck me:
I wondered what I could have done differently during class to leave families more prepared to navigate the labor, birth and postpartum experience. Am I doing enough? Could I do more? Can I include a different activity that prepares them better? How do I strike a balance to offer them what they need from me as they prepare to birth? How could everyone in this class have come out of their births battered and shocked?
It’s really hard to know the answer to that, and I’m not even sure there IS an answer, especially if, by ‘answer’ we mean a universal solution that can be applied to everyone. Because the notion that there are universal solutions is a part of the problem. Women are individuals. Familes vary. The priorities of one village might, by dint of weather or location or any of a thousand other variables, be different from the priorities of another.
And that’s only one tiny aspect of the problem, which is mammoth. I don’t have the answer either, but I do know that there is value in highlighting the issues, asking the questions and holding spaces for discussion.
To all of you who care and who ask yourselves questions like this, thank you.