I shared my previous post on “safety” in birth in the group for my MamaMuse (un)Midwifery program mentored by Krista Joy Arias and she made a comment that spurred a new thought process. My view point on “Unassisted Childbirth” has ebbed and flowed through various thought processes, view points, and opinions since I first discovered the terminology (and the ever-growing movement) but that is for another post. We had talked some on UC in our class and I had made a comment in regards to UC being counterproductive. Krista asked in regards to my last voiced stand on UC how it related to my post on “Safety in Birth”. This was my response:
I feel that if one can go into a UC (here meaning having no one, midwife or otherwise… i.e. someone other than a midwife more experienced in birth than yourself… at your birth to “assist you” in the instance of an “emergency”) with the frame of mind that whatever happens, happens, and feel that they can be present with that and just let birth BE, that UC may be the best thing for that mother…. However, I still feel that it is counterproductive all around, whether for “safety”/”positive” birth outcome or for spiritual growth/enlightenment/what-have-you, to go into a UC planning to “be the midwife” trying to learn as much as you can and practically train yourself to be a midwife, to be able to recognize complications and be able to handle them, WHILE giving birth and being in a completely different state of mind (or, this weight and responsibility you have put on yourself is KEEPING you from going into that essential, primal, state of mind)… this is the route that I see most often in women who seek UC. I feel that it is OK to have people with you. You don’t NEED to be by yourself, to “prove” that you can do it, that your “natural”, or anything like that. I think that women have been giving birth surrounded by women, for millenia. And yes, even though they had women who were more experienced in birth, whether a great-grandmother and their grandmother and their mother (who all had 8+ children), or a midwife, or all of the above… they still knew that even if something happened and no one there knew what to do, or something happened and someone there DID know what to do, and it still didn’t help or salvage the situation and the baby or mother died, that was accepted as the way of things. There was allowance for acknowledgment in this, and allowance of time needed for grieving. But it was known to be a possibility and was accepted as such…. I think that’s the key. Not seeking safety as the goal, or throwing safety out the window. Not seeking to know as much as humanly possible to keep something from going wrong or throwing experience and knowledge out the window, but instead using what we have to the best of our ability (our skills and knowledge) and if what we had to give was not enough (or the mother did not want what we offered and so we met her in that place and acknowledged her right to chose and her choice), and regardless of the outcome let it BE. Acknowledged it, was present in the moment, and took nothing for granted. That, is the key.