Midwifery and Racial Oppression, #BlkBFing Chat Highlights, Black Women and Medicaid Podcast and More!

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I’m going to try my best to post weekly/bi-weekly links to articles I come across. I forget that not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where I post most of the things I come across.

Anti-Racism and Anti- Oppression Work In Midwifery – Letter To Midwifery Today: Real Talk About Midwifery and Racial Oppression.
This powerful letter was collaboratively drafted by 97 BirthWorkers from around the globe.

While the article is gone from the Midwifery Today site, the discussion it has engendered is too important to disappear without a trace. It is important to us that your readers understand why the comparison between the anti-slavery struggle and the midwifery movement is wrong and profoundly hurtful. Even more than this, however, we hope to show that the struggle to provide a full range of birthing options must address our history of racial oppression if we really want to change birth in this country.

ChildBirth Connection Transforming Maternity Care – Urge Women To Question Elective Deliveries.

Don’t schedule elective, non-medically indicated inductions of labor or cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks 0 days gestational age.

MomsRising Blog – Breastfeeding: Obesity, Diabetes and Asthma Prevention.

Breastfeeding decreases the risks for obesity, diabetes and asthma. As a nephrology social worker, I see firsthand the consequences of obesity that can lead to diabetes and ultimately chronic kidney disease.

Healthy Black Women – Podcast on Why Black Women Should Care About Medicaid and It’s Expansion.

Twitter – #BlkBFing Twitter Chat Highlights.

Every Mother Counts via Jennie Joseph – Black History Month: Midwifery Matters.

As a Black midwife, newly arrived in 1989, I had no understanding of the history or legacy of midwifery in the USA, let alone the foundational role that African-American midwives played in the provision of maternity care for both Black and White women from slavery on upwards.

The Ideal Way To Birth

Most people know that I am a HUGE homebirth advocate. I love it, I love midwives, I love the entire experience of birthing in my home…. climbing into my bed with my new baby and the rest of my family.
My first was born in the hospital, and my last two were at home. If I were to have more children, there is no way you could convince me to birth in the hospital. Birthing at home is ideal for ME, it may not be for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not everyone can have a homebirth….and not every woman wants a homebirth.

I think it’s time we stop focusing all of our energies on homebirth. Yes that’s how every woman birthed many moons ago, and more women are choosing to birth at home. but it’s not the ideal way to birth for all women.

Your ideal birth might be birthing in the hospital with all their fancy technology at your fingertips, wearing perfect makeup, or maybe a birth center….it’s your body and your birth.
Maybe our time and energy would be better spent if we put our focus into helping men and women learn all they can about birth itself. We present fact-based evidence…after that it’s up to the woman to decide what’s best for her.

And can we stop telling the story of having a homebirth in the hospital? I get where people are coming from on that topic, but I think it sets women up for possible failure. It also sounds like no one ever has a peaceful hospital birth experience, and we all know that’s not true. There are policies and procedures that the hospitals have to follow, and a hospital is not your home. Not all hospitals and their staffs are terrible. Infact, there are some really great Hospitals, OB’s, Midwives, Doulas, and Nurses working in the hospitals….imagine that.

We need to stop bashing women because they choose to birth differently than we do.
I’m guilty of talking about homebirth like it’s the ideal choice for every woman. No more. Don’t we realize it’s not how we birth that makes the mother? How a woman births has become a competition. It’s not good enough to give birth unmedicated. Now you’re a super woman if you birth at home, but you gain the ultimate in respect if you birth unassisted out in the woods or by the ocean. I’m not making fun of people that do that….I would love to birth near the ocean! I think we’ve lost focus and we need to bring it back to the whole woman, meeting her where she is and making sure she’s informed of all her choices, then supporting her in the birth she chooses.

If a mom chooses a cesarean, stop talking about her choice and offer to bring her meals or do her laundry. She made her choice, bashing her decision won’t change it.

We’ve got to stop the birth debates, bullying, and scare tactics. It’s not helping anyone and it makes us look like jerks.
The woman that chooses an epidural deserves the same love and attention as the woman that chooses to birth at home. They are both becoming mothers in their own way.

Birth matters for every woman, whether she realizes it at the time or not, let’s do our part to support the decision of her ideal birth, not ours.

Birth Really Does Matter

After my first daughter Nakiah was born, I had so many people tell me that all that mattered was that she was here now and healthy. That didn’t feel right to me. I have never written her story down because it was always too painful for me. I’m working on it a little bit at a time now though, so that I can share it here with all of you. A little back story. I started labor at home, went into the hospital, the midwife said I could either go  home, or stay and get induced. I chose to get induced because I wanted to meet my baby asap.
Knowing what I know now, I’m still kicking myself.

Having had a traumatic birth experience myself, I know how women feel when they talk about disappointing birth experiences. It rocks you to the core. It’s not something you can easily get over. I’m sure friends and family mean well when they say your baby is here and healthy and that’s all that matters. It is not all that matters. I don’t think people really understand the impact that birth has on our first moments with our children and our mothering as we go through life.
I know for me, I had a hard time bonding with my first daughter. Something was missing, I could feel it.
Did my body not have enough oxytocin because I had so much pitocin in my system?

Oxytocin is  known as the “love hormone” because it is involved with fertility, lovemaking, contractions during labor and birth, and the release of milk when breastfeeding. It makes us feel good, and it triggers nurturing feelings and behaviors.
Oxytocin is that rush you feel right after you birth your baby. Helps you bond and fall in love with your baby.
When you use drugs in labor they do cross the placenta and can cause stress to  you and your baby.

Birth is a natural normal process. Interventions mess with that process. Epidural, pitocin, directed pushing, episiotomies, electronic fetal monitoring, not being able to walk or eat during labor, lying on your back to push. Those are just a few of the things that go on during labor and birth that interfere with birth.
Our bodies were made for giving birth. Our bodies and baby work together during labor and birth.

After a woman has a not ideal birth she needs to be validated, not told that she should be happy her baby is here. She never said she wasn’t happy, but she needs time to mourn the loss of the birth she had planned and hoped for.
I’ve had enough kids to know that birth does not go as planned, but there is a big difference between plans being altered and what they call birth rape. I’m not being extreme. I’ve read stories and talked to women who felt so out of control during their birth that the best way they could describe it was by using the term birth rape.

Pregnancy and birth are not medical conditions. It is a normal, beautiful, natural part of life and should be treated as the miracle it really is.
This is why women need to be informed about all of their choices during pregnancy and birth. It’s best to research before becoming pregnant, but that isn’t always the case.
It doesn’t matter if your only 6 weeks pregnant, or your 36 weeks pregnant. Learn all you can about pregnancy and birth.

I’ll leave you with this link from The Adventures Of Lactating Girl: Homebirth Midwife Interview Questions.
I posted this link on Facebook last night and someone pointed out to me that we don’t even ask doctors half of these questions.
So read the list and apply them to any care provider you are seeing while pregnant. Asking the right questions, seeing a provider who best fits what you’re looking for can make a huge difference in how your birth plays out.
Don’t leave it all up to your OB or Midwife.