Responsibility in Birth: What it Does & Doesn’t Mean

28 09 2012

“I’m taking responsibility for my body and birth now.”

So, you’re having a home birth or a UC (unassisted childbirth, freebirth). You’ve said adios to the medical model and the conventional hospital birth via OB.

“I take full responsibility now.” Has that sentiment been misunderstood? What does and doesn’t it mean? While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that in speaking for myself I will be echoing the voices of many.

It does mean:

  • I’m done letting other people make choices about my body or baby to our detriment.
  • I see the fallacy in mainstream literature which has been filtered and misinforming.
  • I know that Science and Medicine do not always align.
  • I know that doctors are not always right.
  • I, therefore, see the need to educate myself on a point of view contrary to those who may be incorrect.
  • I will recognize that no one cares about me and my baby like I do.
  • I understand that even doctors/midwives with hearts of gold and my best interests at heart are capable of being misinformed or indoctrinated into systems which lie.
  • I know that I contain in me maternal wisdom that cannot be learned by professionals while in college or in practice, and I honor that.
  • I will listen to my intuition in pregnancy and birth; if something doesn’t sit right with me and I ignore it, I know that only I could be responsible for the outcome.
  • I admit the illusory nature of being “under someone’s care”. By giving over my body and health to another individual, however well-trained or well-meaning, I mistakenly believed to have opted out of learning how to manage my own health and have taken a child’s role in my own health. I am not an infant and childbirth doesn’t have to be a surgical procedure, so I will take care of myself.
  • I fully accept the reality that I am the true authority over my life. I am truly the first and sole protector of my baby, as we are connected in a way that can only be felt personally to be best understood. I can no longer deny that I am in the driver’s seat and pass the buck to someone else, who may make the wrong move.
  • I trust myself. I am in tune with my body and intuition, and baby.
  • I recognize that others do sometimes make the wrong moves, and that a lot of that time, they are just doing their best. It is not always their fault, but I reject their best.
  • I accept my best instead.

It doesn’t mean:

  • I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m risking my baby’s life and that if they die, it was all because of me.
  • If the tragic occurs, it is automatically my fault, even if the tragedy were unavoidable.
  • There is no such thing as unavoidable tragedies.
  • All baby or mother deaths or injuries were “meant to be”.
  • I will be at liberty to blame everyone else for whatever happens, immediately revoking my own authority upon bad outcome.
  • Everything magical is automatically promised to me.
  • God loves me so much and my trust in “Him” is so great, that my baby and I would never die in birth.
  • I’m just going to listen to and surround myself with certain people and get sucked in by everything they say, and take their words for everything.
  • I’m not going to prepare in any way, mentally, physically, or educationally. I’m just going to leave it all up to God and accept whatever outcome “He” provides.
  • Medicine and C-sections are never necessary in birth, and I will avoid them at all costs.
  • I have no idea how birth works, natural birth just sounds really cool.
  • I have no emergency plans in place. That’s how I roll.
  • All’s well that ends well!

Being responsible means that you open up your eyes and you take in the various truths from whatever direction. They aren’t always nice or convenient, and sometimes they rock and shake your world views. Being a mature and evolving adult means having to accept that, and adapt.

If you cannot accept your role in a bad outcome when you made choices that had an obvious negative affect on your birth, that is not responsibility. If you were not totally helpless and you knew something was wrong, you had the responsibility to act on it. If you were just ignorant as to what to do, it is your responsibility to rectify that so that it doesn’t happen again.

If you can understand that this universe is a mysterious place and that life is sometimes full of senseless suffering of which sometimes truly no one is to blame, you may not only have responsibility for yourself, you may also possess tremendous grace. Not every tragedy is explainable.

I’m known for recommending homebirth and UC to any and everyone, but it comes with a catch:  first, you must be balanced. Everyone can prepare, and UC or homebirth can be for almost everyone. However, if you go into it without the appropriate intellectual or spiritual fortitude, it could be a recipe for disaster. If one is psychologically unwell or ill-prepared beforehand, and doesn’t have their ideas of what their responsibilities truly are firmly in place, the hospital may actually be their best bet. You’ll still be responsible for choosing the means, but trusting another may be more suitable for your state.

The good news:  you don’t have to start there. You don’t have to accept that. A severely out of shape person may be unfit to run a marathon today, but with training and in the right time, they become able. Get right in the head if your heart is set on homebirth. Meditate, read, learn, grow, and you’ll be ready to understand what your responsibilities are and embrace them happily.

The Difference Between You & Me Is…

24 09 2012

The difference between you and me is this:

You’re busy telling women to soak up being told they are beautiful by their doctor while their asshole gets pushed out.

I’m busy telling women how to avoid getting their assholes pushed out.

Several weeks back I wrote a status post where I declared that I want women to be liberated from the feeling that they could not have done it (given birth, or survived birth) without their health care provider. My point is that, truly for most of us, we could do more than just survive birth– we could thrive in birth.

A new “fan”, who said she joined because she liked “all my beautiful birth stories I shared” (obviously didn’t know me very well!), told me that she wouldn’t have changed a thing (sound familiar?), and that her doctor assisting her birth is exactly what she needed. I told her that my message was simply that most women don’t need medical assistance or interference to deliver a baby, but she kept nominating her doc for the sainthood, letting me know that he was right there holding her hand, telling her how beautiful she looked “while her asshole was being pushed inside out”, or something to that effect.

I informed her that if she truly had an emergency then I’m glad her doc was there, but that birth is not an automatic emergency, and that her position was pretty much contrary to the beliefs of this page. We are about getting women to understand their power, not believe completely in the power of the docs. I told her that blind reliance is scary, and she contended that it was “not scary at all”.

This woman gave birth in a hospital and didn’t question our system, only had praise for it, and she wasn’t at all getting the point of the message I was trying to get across. It got more heated with our back and forths and she ended up calling me a psycho bitch, so I deleted/banned her. I don’t ban everyone, and I don’t ban people just for disagreeing like some pages do, but if you come to the “wrong page” (for you) and keep arguing the core beliefs of that page, and ultimately resort to calling me names over it, well… you need help towards the exit.

So classically, I was able to boil down all the gist of what was going on between us (and what I should have said) well after the fact of her leaving. There you have it, in the intro. And may it stand as a testament to what so many of us have come to understand about walking away from medically managed birth.

Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? More on Stillbirthday.

21 09 2012

Even though members of the Raptors (anti natural birth group) and mentors and members of Stillbirthday (such as Lisa, Bambi, and Liz) are very angry that midwifery is supposedly lacking standardized education and licensure across the board, that isn’t stopping the new grief mentorship organization from doing something similar.

You know the old saying:  if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Recently someone who was considering being a Stillbirthday Doula contacted me for more info after some concerns and arguments were raised on The Birthing Site. When I informed her of the reasons why people were very
wary of the founding of this group, she thanked me and expressed relief that she hadn’t paid for the training yet.


Apparently, Heidi has created and defined a doula credential, which she oversees the education for and approves, and charges $200 for it.

So, like the concern one may have over self-governing and self-regulating midwives, one has to wonder why this would be acceptable.

As far as I can tell, this is a completely made up credential built around Heidi’s brand (stillbirthday), that is designed by, taught by, regulated by Heidi herself.

Now it makes a lot of sense why she was so heavily promoting Stillbirthday, even in inappropriate moments…

… and why she took such great offense to my question-asking, calling it bashing her “dead son’s legacy”. I was threatening a form of livelihood.

I’m not trying to take food out of her mouth or do anything to intentionally hurt anyone, contrary to how I am being portrayed and will undoubtedly continue to be portrayed. However, it doesn’t take much to see that what Heidi is doing is and always was the makings of a business; a business which models its self-righteousness and self-professionalism off of the same (perceived) invented and unregulated credential/professionalism of the midwives Stillbirthday supporters so vehemently oppose.

Below are some examples of the kind of individuals that support, endorse, and are even actively involved within Stillbirthday. This happened on a blog.

Lots of anti-natural birth comments followed, which I found very telling considering that this was a blog intended to be about the virtues of Stillbirthday and Heidi. Her supporters were very single-minded, but let’s face it– it did suit the tone of that entire natural birth bashing blog post. Then this happened:

The $200 invented doula specialty credential is not all Heidi has for sale, though. She offers many things you can purchase through her site, one of which is a Stillbirthday cake.

For $15, Heidi will take a pound cake and put the signature stillbirthday zero candle on it, light it, and use frosting to write your baby’s name on it. She then takes a photo for you to download. Then, she takes the cake to a hospice, where they refrost it and use it.

This seems like Heidi’s version of names in the sand, a project run by a woman called Carly Marie. Carly Marie is also a loss mother, and this is her legacy– she writes your child’s name in the sand on a beautiful beach at sunset and takes a stunning photo of it, to memorialize your precious baby lost. Seen here, she did one for Vylette (of Justice for Vylette).

Carly Marie does charge $20 for this service, and there is a waiting list.

Other items for sale via Stillbirthday include:

  • 20 Stillbirthday business cards– $25
  • A Stillbirthday Loss Doula Handbook– $5
  • Sponsorships– ranging from $25 to $100.

Luckily, not “everyone” (as Dr. Amy has said) is on board with Stillbirthday. People who were not hip to the game are becoming hip, and with the help of posts like these, the word is getting out to innocent and unsuspecting people that something here is amiss.

There are those, however, who argue that Stillbirthday is a “very needed resource”. I disagree. One, it’s not needed. There are tons of amazing resources out there for grief and specifically infant grief and pregnancy loss. This program fills no void that was previously lacking. Two, the individuals involved in the program having such a scandalous past and present where birth and baby loss are concerned also makes the program very much not needed. Women have options, and there are lots of them, and many of which are very stable and healthy and unbiased.

They say birth is big business. Apparently, loss can be, too. Please keep that in mind, even when people you like or groups you have trusted become overly insistent on something seemingly fishy being anything but. Beware of not being allowed to speak, and questions being shot down or hush-hushed.

I think I’ve been clear that I am not trying to deprive Heidi or anyone for that matter of proper grieving or even the right to earn money. We all have things to cope with which pain us, and we all have families to support financially, which is completely understandable. I would never begrudge anyone that, even people whom I dislike or disagree with. Before, in prior posts, I was more concerned with questioning ethics and double standards, but at this point I really need to call into question mental stability. I’m sorry, but these are very disturbed, sick individuals we are dealing with.

And the first sign of this is, they don’t even recognize nor acknowledge the concerns we all have about them. They treat it as totally fantasy, and act as though it doesn’t exist. To this day, all my screen shots are called “creative”. The truth is swept under the rug, like so many “murderous midwives”. Heidi and others tell people that my goal is to inflict harm, or gain readership. Truthfully, I lose fans whenever I post these. I do it not because it helps me at all, but because it might help you.

So in the end, if you can’t defeat all of midwifery and natural birthing, just do like you think they do– be sweet to everyone, earn their trust (sometimes by lies, bribery, or flattery), create your own credentials, and make that money.

Back to School Sale, Whole Month September

12 09 2012

Back to School Sale    The Entire Month of September

  • All Baby Blankets, Buy One Get One Free
  • All US Shipping Free
  • Each book purchase comes with Free Emergency Childbirth printout copy
  • All orders over $50 come with Free surprise gift

The Perfect Birth

Improving Birth Rally in Jacksonville, Florida (photos)

4 09 2012

I attended the Jacksonville, Florida Improving Birth rally this past Labor Day. It was held in front of Memorial Hospital, which claims a 44% C-section rate– the worst in the city. Below are some photos from the event, taken by myself, my husband, Lori Lee Photography, and Chanel Martin. My husband and kids were in attendance with me. 🙂

This rally took place all over the country, held in front of strategically chosen hospital locations to raise awareness about the rampant unnecessary medical intervention in births today, which has decreased– not increased– the health of women and babies over the years.

These are my kids.

This is me. The opposite side of the sign (facing you) says–
Women naturally, on average, take 41-42 weeks to grow a baby, NOT 40.

Signing autographs! Just kidding. Just a sign-in sheet.

My husband was laughing at me, he said I looked pissed. I wasn’t really. It was just really bright out. But to be fair, 1) I think I often look pissed naturally, and 2) I didn’t really think it was appropriate to smile, given the occasion and my sign’s message..

The view driving away (don’t mind the baby prints on the window!).


Hmm, I don’t personally agree with the blue sign, but I’m glad she is trying to empower women.

A view of the hospital and parking as we passed.

The signs our kids held. I made them, my kids helped me decorate them.

Joymarie says: “He was asking why were were doing this and what it was about and I told him about better birth outcomes and less interventions leading to c-sections. His response was that we should protest the malpractice insurance. His voice was very weary and it made me very sad to hear him talk. He was also telling me how c-sections went up when we started monitoring because those strips can come back to haunt you in court. I told him I can only imagine how difficult it can be to make that call. No one wants a dead baby. He continued to tell me that he just had to do a c-section on a 36 weeker and she was a premi and had to spend time in the NICU. (he was not happy when he said any of this) I further explained that we were about promoting education and how I had a c-section with my first because I didnt wait for my body to go into labor and as a first time mom made a bad choice, but how I learned from that experience and went on to have a successful VBAC. He then told me that was cool and that he was born on labor day but not today. The conversation ended with me telling him Happy Birthday and he said thanks for the conversation.

“Find out what it takes to have your best birth.” Below that, it also says In Search of the Perfect Birth, and below that, our website (

Joshua, my husband.

My fam and our signs: Eve, Joshua, Sage, me, Cian.

Try not to take it the wrong way and see the spirit of her message. I do understand that sometimes nature effs up. But not 44% of the time.

Look kids, we made the news! Josh and I are right there.

Josh’s sign.