Modern Medicine Vs. Superstitious Savages

10 09 2016
People get so mad when you talk about traditional healing or medicine, natural remedies, or things that aren’t modern Western medicine sometimes. Why? How do you think modern medicine got some of *its* healing properties? Some people seem to think those old methods don’t work, and that’s the reason we have modern medicine… that it was a necessary improvement. Hallelujah, “science”.
 
(Which this philosophy, btw, has a firm basis in white patriarchal empire– to act like other more “primitive” methods are inferior, that wise women are a threat to be gotten rid of… and to steamroll these, using both damning ideology and resource theft, plus rape and slaughter, erasing the cultures and the old ways into oblivion…)

They think these old medicinal methods are only silly myths which are a fad, despite the fact that some have been used for thousands of years. Modern medicine, on the other cigarette-ads-asthma-cigarettes-stanford1hand, has kept methods for decades at best. And it keeps changing, seemingly coming in and out of style, with new and improved “evidence”. Depression drugs that lead to suicide, surgical cures for being in the “wrong body”, female Viagra, restless leg syndrome, institutional lobotomies for various forms of “hysteria”, leeching, twilight sleep. Two-thirds of OB/GYN guidelines are not based on scientific evidence but on outdated medical *beliefs* held by doctors, and the CDC shreds documents if they come to inconvenient conclusions about what a vaccine is doing to children. Especially brown children, like the MMR, or females, like the HPV vaccine. Doctors used to recommend smoking. Define fad again?

 
Lack of effectiveness of time-honored remedies was never the issue. These newer methods weren’t devised on the basis that none of the others worked… Manufacturers know they work– they incorporate some of their properties (either synthesized or natural) in their products. These methods were really devised for purposes of mass production of medicines. For industry. For convenience. Because there was $$$ to be made in convenience. And sure they’re full of other synthetics and cause side effects that more natural cures do not, but quit being so sore about it. Lighten up, baby. Get with the times.

Just like a controlling, insecure, power-hungry man to say to a woman (an indigenous woman, a wise woman, Mother Earth, or Mother Nature)– “whatever you can do, I can do better!” He then takes credit for her work even though his special touches fuck it all up. Obstetrics is a glaring example of this. This is the ultimate in institutional level mansplaining and whitesplaining, dominion over our very bodies and well-being…. and how disconcerting that it is not seen as such by more feminists and other activists. The industrialization of the natural world gave us some conveniences but isn’t necessarily an improvement.

 
Think about it– if one single herb could cure and treat a host of ailments effectively, you can’t put a patent on that. You can’t sell it to people if people can grow it themselves. (Well, you can try, like Monsanto, and they are doing their best to own everything under the sun and stop you from utilizing it independently, just like how Nestle wants to privatize water while undermining African breastfeeding by providing them with formula– which requires water, in places they know has… contaminated water. And maybe one day we’ll have to pay to breathe air.) You can’t have a monopoly on the cure if a well known natural cure exists.
 
You *have* to indoctrinate the public into a belief that your way is the only real or proven way, that everything else is “witchcraft” (hello again, misogyny), that people not on board 105-a_suspected_witch_before_the_tribunal_of_the_inquisitionare primitive “savages” (white supremacy and imperialism), and it’s surprisingly easy to do when people are so obsessed with manmade achievements and futuristic living. It feeds the human ego and arrogance, our desire to be godlike and immortal and transcend anything animalistic about ourselves, and it reaffirms the modern industrial lifestyles we’ve been able to assume of laziness, consumerism, leisure, and instant gratification. So it promises us we can be indulgent and we’re superior, and nice and safe and protected too, basically. It promises comfort and no thought.

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But in many ways we’re sicker than we’ve ever been. There is a price to pay for that trade off, and for trusting people over nature. For putting the power of our lives in the hands of strangers with careless motives, rather than being strong and knowledgeable within and for ourselves. Maybe if we can resume taking responsibility for our thoughts and our bodies, we could truly grow and evolve as whole beings. Maybe then we’d be strong and healthy of mind and body enough to protect one another. I bet we’d finally find peace there. The question is if we are willing.




Intactivism Needs Feminism to Survive.

4 01 2016
Intactivist.jpg

Yelling at women precedes all of these and hasn’t stopped one of them. Blaming women has preceded all of these and hasn’t ended one of them.

 

I once had a nasty run-in with Men’s Rights Activists in the intactivist movement. On this one conversation I was alarmed to hear that the men present believed in “female privilege”, because baby girls’ genitals allegedly are left entirely unmolested from life’s onset. Based on the history of circumcision I mentioned circ was patriarchal and women, mothers who defy the system, would be the reason intact boys become the norm.

One man absolutely lost his shit and blubbered misogynist insults at me until he blocked me out of rage. Another brought me to tears by saying something that happened to *me*, to my body, never did happen and that I was lying (it was extremely personal to say and nothing I had ever told another living soul besides my husband, so the level of violation was deeply felt– I obviously should never have trusted that kind of personal experience to anyone like this person but I was trying to correct their assumptions about female experience and privilege), after he spent some time condescending to me and my friends (who, up until that time, thought we were a vital part of intactivism– our boys are whole). <— That man now has a major role of power within Brother K’s Bloodstained Men movement– a movement I previously thought deserved my respect.

Now notice I didn’t say ending routine infant circumcision was a cause I left behind…! (And, neither have the feminists who’ve been speaking out against this behavior. We all still believe in stopping RIC.)

He then deleted all his nasty comments, kept mine which were full of justified anger and now out of context (looks crazy, hysterical, of course), and messaged me to *privately* apologize and told me that he’s actually a really *nice guy*. No, he’s not a publicly make it right kind of guy, he’s a scream at you for effect and then hide the evidence kind of guy.

You know, a coward.  A blowhard. A bully.

These men I referenced from that convo are all childless, by the way. But they had fun telling *me* about birth because “their girlfriend did it natural in the hospital”. (Mansplaining galore…)

This was the turning point for which several of my natural parenting friends and I realized that the intactivist community didn’t value us. We didn’t belong. Even though we were the mothers, because we were females and we had disagreed with the sexist attitudes we suddenly encountered, they may as well have hung a “no girls allowed” sign– what could *we* possibly know? We were just mothers who’d saved our sons and the sons of friends through information, support, and love.

Now this was a shock to me because my observations of Brother K and his movement up to that point were positive. He seemed like a cool hippie dude. What were all these awful woman-haters doing in this group? Had I missed it and they’d been there all along?

Why I Am No Longer An Intactivist – Whole Woman

We are the ones having the gentlest births, the gentlest parenting, the most mother-led-instinct in the home, and yet you would alienate us? We are the reason it is working. We are your truest hope, beyond all other tactics you’ve tried. We are the most educated and passionate, well-rounded on all these societal interlocking topics, and we are on the front lines. We are the feminist natural mothers.

Since then, the rise to power of that one abusive and self-pitying rageaholic has been noticed. We left groups and put certain people on block but still, these things came up. Avoidance of this brand of male aggression was futile.

I’ve seen more and more anti-woman, anti-feminist dealings, more talk about female privilege from the boys club and their handmaidens, and the new frontier– confronting birth and pro-woman pages, of all places, to ask their stance on circumcision. And not just as their own post, or as a message, but as a derailment of the original post on other important topics. I’ve seen this in at least two places on Facebook that I can recall– on The Girl God and Birth Anarchy. The first responded graciously as is her gentle nature. (Because, you know, it’s really important when discussing that all our gods were men and that girls matter too, that we check to see if we’re properly caring for male genitals.) The latter did not. And I was pleased with both responses; no one owes the sexists in intactivist circles anything. The intactivist questions were a tangent out of place both times. It was awkward and disrespectful to observe. It was like being accosted by religious fundamentalists as you were minding your own business.

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This tactic is cowardly– for two reasons. One, they are hitting up sites that are very much anti-circumcision in the first place. You’re preaching to the converted. Two, they are hitting people when they are down. This was clear on the Birth Anarchy page, in which the post they attempted to make about themselves was about a woman seeking justice after a forced episiotomy.

Birth Anarchy: The Sexist Shit Show of Intactivism

Only cowards make an enemy out of a gentler friend and don’t target the real enemy. Because it’s strong. It’s daunting. You would rather this mission never be accomplished and the movement eat itself than to tackle the real enemies. It’s then about getting out your own power and feeling like you can dominate someone. It’s easier to follow the disgusting pig narrative that we have “pussy privilege” — a true embittered cry of the resentful MRAs — than to band together with like minded souls for the common good. That makes you an enemy to intactivism.

Because your intactivism only works if you act like the ultimate victim. That means you have to first tear women down.

I watched an intactivist woman tell me women “allowed” circumcision to happen. Allowed! We didn’t invent it, we didn’t enforce it, it wasn’t our idea, our husbands still hold more control and power than us in society and in our homes,  and it certainly doesn’t benefit us sexually or otherwise– but yet, through all this, the onus was on us… we had allowed it. These are the women in the intactivist movement and why they get along so well with the MRA type men.

Make no mistake, I’m not asking you to be nice, intactivists. Just not to be pigs and assholes to innocent women. I’m not asking you to not be pissed about circumcision. Get mad! It’s terrible. I’m telling you how ineffective it is to shit on women who are recovering from traumas and act like that is justice. I’m warning you that you are barking up the wrong trees and it looks impotent-bully as fuck. Laying the blame at mothers’ feet and targeting 18 year old new parents right after delivery is hardly taking on the big dogs. It’s just cowardly aggression, like a Rottweiler going after a chihuahua. Sure, it’s easy to go after smaller, weaker targets.

I want to say I still love what you do but you are alienating THE most important people for the progression and longevity of your movement. They are the lifeblood. Your short-sightedness and blatant disregard for the strong women of what would be this movement is lacking in both compassion and smarts.

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More mentions of mothers than daddies, and doctors. Doctors do the cutting, doctors invented it, doctors profit off it. Daddies insist it be done for bullshit macho male reasons and beat their wives into submission. But okay, moms, this one’s on you.

And for all their bodily integrity nonsense, and not trusting doctors, and supporting the natural flow of goodness and letting nature be and do it’s job, I’ve watched them have no problem with women in their movement getting cut up in Cesarean sections with the same familiar retort: “I’ve done my research”.  Oh, intactivists, where have we all heard that before!?

This is not best for babies, though. And it is not best for women. It’s meant for emergencies and that’s for good cause. But cheer that on all you like if you don’t mind being hypocrites. Or maybe it’s only baby boys who are sacred, and fuck what happens to their mothers? However, mothers who’ve been traumatized by birth are far more likely to submit to cutting their sons out of defeat or depression, or sometimes lack of consciousness. Mothers disrupted from their natural oxytocin are more likely to feel a disconnect from their child, have a harder time bonding, PTSD, PPD, difficulty breastfeeding… and I know some MRAs think that is good for boys ultimately. I do not. They think it will teach boys not to love women too much, which attachment to a doting mother would inspire. Yes, an injured woman will continue the MRA cycle of violence well.

Now, it would be brave if you were going to places you suspected were pro circumcision. It would be brave if you were going after the people who were doing the cutting, and the people who unapologetically profited from this system. Those things would be confronting the problem. I have to wonder what limp-dicked mission you hope to accomplish by badgering vulnerable women who already very likely agree with you. Attacking gentle and wounded women is the easy way out. It’s for people who are deeply insecure about their dicks, which MRAs are.

One of MRAs pet causes is routine infant male circumcision, which is quite unfortunately and unconnectedly a shared cause of modern gentle parents, especially feminists who believe in mothering on instinct and leaving warlike male domination behaviors in the past. Circumcision is indeed a relic of male aggression in a thriving patriarchy, even though MRAs try very hard to continue blaming women for this. But I’m not here to convince you of that history, just to make you aware of the infiltration of one of the only true things a men’s rights activist has to bitch about (circumcision), and how this cause will continue to remain limp in their hands. Again, many of these men are childless.

And why does that matter? The future is with mothers and their children. It is the in tune Earth Mothers who are procreating, procreating a LOT, and doing it with ultimate gentleness and love. Whole mothers make whole babies. Keep babies whole and women have a better chance of staying whole and then they in turn keep their babies whole… etc. The future does not lie with angry men shouting into the wind about their dicks. The future is not with the street signs, blood theatrics, and the streetside hostility. You will reach people and get attention and change some minds, but no, the primary change does not occur there for the future generations. I’ll tell you exactly where the change is happening. It is on the front lines. It’s with the mothers who instinctively know they want to keep their sons safe, and believe in it. They are trying. I was anti-circumcision instinctively before I heard any of the statistics. I would have been anti-circ with or without these guys. And I was lucky that I had the personal empowerment such that I would have fought any male partner who tried to contest me. Not all women have these things. Beating them up will not gain them these things. Beating them up even when they are being good will not gain anything.

The MRAs have large amounts of single men, deadbeat fathers, involuntary celibates, and many of them will never be fathers. Those who are, are very controlling in the household. I actually know one who insisted his wife circumcise their son(s). Male control is obviously a dead end street. Male control is the reason for circ in the first place.

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Ha, not a chance! ^

Women, softness and compassion of an Earth Mother, are the future. Feminists are the future. Your movement will never survive without feminism. Without feminism, decisions and power will always revert back to warlike males (see: Heather Hironimus) having turf wars and dick waving contests. Your movement is only succeeding because young mothers talk amongst themselves in private groups and share knowledge and stories and support. You said you don’t need us but it is we who do not need you. If you think this is war, and a war against the women mentioned in this post, know that all you do is perpetuate male violence.

Rape of all types is a manmade invention.
Sexual rape, birth rape, and surgical rape.
Control and aggression aimed at women and children destroys the world.

The world will be saved by a Western woman. -The Dalai Lama, 2009

Restoring peace means restoring power to women. 

Men,

You invented war. You can either keep waging wars or you can listen to women. 

Respecting life starts at the source– the womb, and the Earth. Without this, you are emptiness.

Male violence is the worst problem in the world. Name the problem.





Unassisted Birth: What Feminists Need to Know

22 08 2014

 

Lynn Griesemer, author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love, has a website called unassistedhomebirth.com. On it, she makes the following commentary about feminism:

Unassisted Homebirth and Feminism

In my book, Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love, Chapter 16 is titled Childbirth:  A Feminist Issue?  I do not wish to reiterate the chapter, but only say that if women want to be truly liberated during their birth experience, they need to take charge of their births by deciding what they want and taking deliberate action toward their goal(s).

Feminism has focused on “reproductive rights” and career opportunities, but has largely ignored the important process of childbirth.

One of my future goals is to contact women’s studies programs at colleges and universities and encourage them to consider teaching a unit on empowered childbirth.  Young women need to know that feminism should not be restricted to reproductive rights and equality in careers, but that it extends to every aspect of womanhood, especially childbirth, which is a defining moment / experience in many women’s lives.

 

Feminism does often neglect childbirth, sometimes even leaning more towards the woman’s obvious right to not even begin a family. Still, how can “feminists” have such blatant disregard for the power of or disrespect for the vagina? Childbirth is a battleground for the vagina (as are the politics around our births). Shouldn’t that be a central point or focus?

When feminism DOES address the act of childbirth, it tends to address a woman’s right to powerful narcotics in order to have a il_570xN_193760289humane experience, neglecting that this is still completely dependent upon and stemming from handing our body over to the patriarchal system which is modern maternity care.

It completely neglects that for women to know their TRUE power, they could avoid that system altogether as well as avoid real pain, trauma, or injury (which comes standard with the current system of birth).

This type of feminism lets patriarchy in the back door. [All innuendo contrived from that is completely appropriate.] It does not protect the vagina nor recognize our power. I call this “white coat feminism”, because it’s the feminism that focuses on having the same professions and beliefs as men, wishing to be regarded as logical and [pseudo] scientific only, to the detriment of the actual true fullness of our capabilities. That we have differences in the sexes is cast off as mumbo jumbo, as if clearly the only thing different about us is penis/vagina. We have completely different biological abilities, functions, and motivations. The brain-body connection, hormones, intuition/instinct, or maternal traits are absent in these discussions. Just because we can do everything boys can do does not mean we have to be exactly like them. Why are we disabling ourselves? When you’re striving to be accepted like of the boys, don’t lose the very thing that makes you a woman. That’s not feminist, it’s misogynist! It’s self-hate and denial.

Just think: we are facing our version of being emasculated when we are denied our true power and identity.

Just think: we are facing our version of being emasculated when we are denied our true power and identity.

How feminist is it to remove the qualities which make us female? We’re not talking about removing negative stereotypes, we’re talking about stripping away all things that make us women, including the positives. How in the hell is that “feminist”? If you don’t celebrate women or even believe they have power, you don’t love women and you aren’t a feminist.

Putting on a pair of jeans and holding the same respected professions as men does not make one a feminist. Saying that the only way we can have a peaceful birth experience — the very natural function which defines our sex! — is if we give ourselves over to a system created and run by men so they may rescue us does not make one a feminist. What happened to women are strong, women are goddesses, women are powerful? Is that just something we believe when we want to throw a baseball, but doesn’t extend to the one thing we are biologically designed for to continue the species?

Feminism wouldn’t ignore the dark history of obstetrics and see it rooted in misogyny, continuing today.

Feminism wouldn’t ignore our special powers or keep us in the dark to them.

Feminism wasn’t the fight to be just like men. It was the fight to be women and all the glory that entails and be respected for it.

Feminism acknowledges something in the divine feminine or collective female consciousness, adores us all as symbols of creation, earth mother goddesses, formerly and temporarily oppressed sisters.

Feminism seeks to connect us to how beautiful being a woman is, and asks society to observe it as well.

Feminism wants you to have the choice in childbirth to have addictive narcotics shot into your spinal fluid or to have an amazing empowering natural experience where you can see firsthand how incredible you are (which keeps you and your baby healthy and strong). Both can be painless, but the latter can increase your spiritual and primal awareness of your true nature and potential, is a rite of passage, and an exit from the patriarchy. One of them just happens to be better for feminism because it lets a woman in on the secret that has been kept about her essence for so long.

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For more wolfy stuff, click here.

For Elizabeth’s book on unassisted birth, In Search of the Perfect Birth, click here.





Protected: It’s a Girl!

24 03 2014

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Share a Birth Bead For My Necklace!

28 01 2014

Those of you who follow the page and the blog might be aware that I am due with my 4th and final child on February 14! It’s coming up so soon. I’m very excited as I prepare for the baby’s arrival.

If you’ve ever been to a Blessingway or Mother Blessing, you might be familiar with the custom of giving a birth bead to the mother. The bead is then strung on a necklace for the mother, which is sometimes referred to as the birth necklace or mother necklace. When a person selects a bead, it might be a certain color of significance, or bear some other intended meaning or symbolism. The necklace as a whole becomes a source of strength, love, and empowerment for the mother. It is a really great idea for something beautiful and creative for the woman about to give birth to know how she is supported. Sometimes, it is even accompanied by specific wishes or words of wisdom for her, special verses or poems of inspiration, etc.

Here’s an example: this one made for me by friends and loved ones during my pregnancy with Sage. (He was my freebirth baby from the book.)

If you’d like to participate in this special moment with me, consider this your invitation! I’d be honored to have you join me for this. I know some of you have gotten to know me over the years, and for some maybe I’ve made a difference to you or you to me, and it’s only right that we are connected during this time. I’ve been “with you” for some of your pregnancies and births and now you can be with me in mine as I close this chapter.

So, if this sounds like something you’d enjoy being part of, send your bead to me ASAP before the due date to:

Elizabeth McKeown
PO Box 1133
Keystone Heights, FL 32656

Thanks so much for being a fan and a friend. I’ll take pictures later to show you all how it turns out.

UPDATE:  Here is the necklace! Thank you everyone! Love you.

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A Perfect Birth! Freebirth After Previous Induction & Epidural (Guest Post: Birth Story)

6 12 2013

The following is a guest post from a first-time UC-er (unassisted childbirth). She has had one previous birth, with medical assistance (epidural and induction). She was joined by her supportive husband and older daughter. Names* have been changed.

Sorry for lack of times in the story. it was all too quick for me to check the clock. The whole thing was only 3 hours.

I woke up around 4:30 am Saturday morning having some stomach pain. This was not an unusual occurrence as I have been waking up in the middle of the night like that for weeks. Usually once I emptied my bladder I felt better. My husband heard me get up and asked if I was ok. I said I don’t know. He said are you in labor? I said if I am then this won’t take long because there wasn’t much breaks between the pain at all.

I went to the bathroom and closed myself up in their alone. I was trying to figure out if I was in labor or what was going on. I felt like I had a stomach virus, I was on the toilet with diarrhea 3 or 4 times. The pains didn’t come in measurable waves at that moment. My husband says he knew I was in labor lol. So I started to try and clean up the bathroom a bit. If it was labor I wanted to be able to birth in a clean bathroom lol. So I threw a load of laundry in, cleaned the toilet and lastly cleaned the bathtub. All this was quite difficult to do because i had to stop and breath through the contractions. The contractions were now coming in definite waves and there wasn’t much time in between. It went too quick to actually time it. I would say maybe two min a part. I filled the bathtub. My husband kept checking on me and I said I was fine.

I asked him to bring the laptop in and put on a CD my friend Rowan* gave me at my Blessingway. I had previously listened to it about a week prior and I liked the sound. It was beautiful and meditative. He put the music on for me, and lit some candles. He only came in the bathroom and spoke to me between contractions. I liked that he gave me my space. I didn’t need him there I could get in the zone better by myself and he picked up on that. He told me to call him if I need him.

He said he was going to run up to 711 and buy eggs and bacon, lol. Him and Sloan* were hungry, haha. She woke up and was very excited. I asked him to buy me two coconut waters when he came back I was in the bathtub laboring. He brought in my drink.

The contractions were intense, but in my head I never referred to them as “pain” and I never let fear creep into my zone. I just listened to my body and moved around with whatever position felt natural. I was mostly hands and knees. At the point that I got in the bathtub is when I switched from concentrated breathing through the contractions ( which is what I did though out the bathroom cleaning and prepping ) at that point I started moaning through. I honestly didn’t think I would moan like that but it really did help. I remember other friends telling me to try and keep the moaning at a low octave , so I did …

My back started hurting so I drained some of the water and turned the shower on instead to let the water run down my back: it felt nice. But standing was so intense. I just told myself the gravity would help and to just do it. Once it became too much to continue standing I let the bathtub fill up again and got back down. I have a standard tub so it was small but the water still felt good. The water started to get cold so I hopped out of the tub it was hard to move from place to place.

I asked Tony* to get me the birthing ball. I leaned on that for a bit, I was on my knees leaning over the ball. I rocked back and forth moaning. The rocking was good. All I can say is contractions were intense and yes I guess painful, but I kept thinking back to my induction, where there was no break in between the pain, there was no peak, it just felt like my body was being torn in half. So compared to that this was nice. Yes i got the epidural eventually but I still remember being confined to the bed and the machines and the pain. I liked how I could tell that the peak was reached and the sensations started to decrease from there. The breaks in between even tho short were heaven and made it bearable.

At this point I told Tony to get the bed ready. So he made the bed. Protecting underneath with plastic. Sloan helped move my drinks in there, I would have to haul ass to the bedroom. My house is tiny but there was so little time in between contractions. So once one was done, I got up and went to the bed. My lovely husband had more candles lit the bedroom cleaned up and ready and my music. I got up on my bed, hands and knees and this is where it got bad. I think transition. My back hurt a lot so Tony massaged it for a while, he also put massage oil and peppermint oil on it. This felt good during contractions. Sloan fetched the heating pad and we used that on my back too. Sloanie was so much help she got towels and stuff too. I started to whimper and whine and drop a few f bombs. And then apologized. Tony laughed.

I was talking to myself and told myself to get it together. Tried to keep deep growling moans, thought that was better then me starting to Cry. I begged my body for a break, because I wasn’t getting much of a break any longer. Tony ran and got the large pads we got to lay under me. I told him I didn’t know if I should push or what. I was afraid of pushing too soon because I know that can cause a cervical lip, but Tony said I think your pretty close babe, try to push. I still didn’t quite feel an urge, but it hurt so bad that I didn’t know what else to do. At this point I started saying “it hurts, it hurts” LoL. ” I’m crazy for wanting to do this!” Then I just started pushing. And then my water my broke. That was kinda my confirmation of like ok it’s time. So I began pushing and holy hell it hurt. I was definitely screaming.

I knew I had to push harder but I knew I was going to poop lol. Tony was like its ok, he had those pads under me, he was very encouraging, and told me I was doing great and to go ahead and push. I would say a few pushes and she was down there. I started to feel the ring of fire. And Tony and Sloan screamed they could see her head. I was like yeah, I know!!!! Haha. I was scared to push her out it hurt so bad. So she went back in a little, and then I pushed a little , I did this a few times. I told myself that it was good to do it that way anyways I wouldn’t tear. Finally I got the balls to push her head out.

Tony didn’t see a cord. I had to wait for the next wave to come because it felt I was going to need to really try to get the body out. So I waited for a wave, took a deep breath and pushed with all my might and the rest of her body came out. Tony picked her up and handed me her through my legs, he said its a girl!!

She was perfectly pink , let out a cry and starting breathing right away, so I was not worried. We just were looking at her and admiring her in front of us.

Tony asked about the placenta and I said I wanted to try right away, I gave a good push and out it came. Inspected. Looked whole. Sloanie got warm towels from dryer, Tony sterilized the scissors and string. When the cord was done pulsing , we tied and I cut. I tried to breastfeed right away but she wouldn’t, so I went to go clean myself up. I didn’t bleed a lot on the bed. But into the bathroom, throughout my shower and after I kept bleeding, thin red blood.

I was starting to worry even tho I didn’t feel faint or weird, I took two doses of anti hemorrhage tincture my lovely friend Miette* made me, then I made my way back in to be with my girl. Tony cleaned up the mess real quick as I gazed at our little girl. Beata Fayruz Fikru* was born at 7:20 am. Unfortunately the scale I got keeps giving me different readings but she averaged 9 lbs. still haven’t bothered to measure her length lol.

It was literally a perfect birth, exactly how I imagined it. Tony worked perfectly together with me. I was so worried that I should have him do more reading or tell him how to be there for me but ultimately I knew that we knew each other well enough, I knew he would be great. I love him so much. He never doubted me or had any fear from the moment I mentioned unassisted. His faith in me carries me through always

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To learn more about the following subjects that were involved in this birth story, please see the following links! -Elizabeth

Pushing and Knowing When/If/How to Push

Pushing For First Time Moms, by Gloria Lemay, Midwife Thinking
Birth is better left alone and pushing should be at the mother’s cues.

Don’t Push the River, It Flows by Itself, by Laura Shanley (an excerpt from her classic book Unassisted Childbirth), Peaceful Parenting
It is more a matter of “allowing” it to happen rather than “making” it happen.

Pushing: leave it to the experts, Midwife Thinking
A birthing woman is the expert regarding when and how she pushes.

Cervical Lips (Pushing With/Against)

Pushing: leave it to the experts, Midwife Thinking
The most common reason for telling a women not to push is that her cervix is not fully dilated.

The Anterior Cervical Lip: how to ruin a perfectly good birth, Midwife Thinking
Telling women to push or not to push is cultural, it is not based on physiology or research… It does not require management and is best left undetected.”

What You Don’t Know About Your Cervix Can Ruin Your Birth, Birthologie
Not everyone dilates to 10 cm when their body is ready to expel the baby, and you dilate in an ellipse, not a circle.

At some point in labour almost every woman will have an anterior lip (meaning the top of the cervix isn’t completely dilated) because this is the last part of the cervix to be pulled up over the baby’s head.”





“Improving Birth” Concerns Include Midwifery Regulation

5 09 2013

The Improving Birth rallies started last year. I attended one then. I believe in the concept of “improving birth”, passionately. Some, like the wonderful Carla Hartley, will argue that birth itself is not something that needs improvement. That may be true, but the phrasing is not a sticking point for me. I think the idea is improving the current climate of birth, which is birth as we are presenting it to women. It is for this that I joined the rally last year and participated in my own special way this year. There are other sticking points for me, however. I’ll explain.

I was informed by a group of friends that Improving Birth had been involved in pushing for legislation regarding midwifery.

I do somewhat remember these events they say were somehow related to that goal, such as last year’s rally follow-ups: “write-in”, “walk in”, etc.– which actually inspired me to write letters I would never send to my former health care providers. (It was a good catharsis for me, and I didn’t feel it would be beneficial in my particular case to confront these people directly.) There was apparently some outcry within the community and no proof remained of this on the Improving Birth website. The website has gone through several changes since (in the past year), with no mention of any of this, and no official response. If you talk to anyone with Improving Birth, they maintain that there is no agenda regarding midwifery regulation.

Anyway, trying to further regulate (and thus, medicalize) birth alarms a lot of us interested in improving birth because legislation aimed towards midwifery has been harming women’s births. Specifically, my circle of friends linked Improving Birth with The Big Push for Midwives campaign, which they asserted did have to do directly with the cause of midwifery licensure. Now, I had no idea of any of these connections or goals within the organizations– it was all news to me.

A word on laws regarding birth. Why is midwifery legality such an issue? It removes choice. It varies state by state in terms of who women can hire for their births. This in turn affects what type of births women are “allowed”. In some states, homebirth midwifery is illegal. In other states, you have to have a very specific (medical) certification to legally practice as a midwife. In certain states, you can hire anyone as your midwife, regardless of their credentials or qualifications.

I brought up Improving Birth on my page in this thread, expressing my newfound reservations towards the movement. I didn’t want to outright connect Improving Birth with The Big Push or midwifery regulation– I had no proof. I hoped that others could offer their perspectives to shed light on the topic.

Truthfully, before my friends even alerted me to the connection possibly existing between those organizations mentioned, I felt wary. Something didn’t feel right.

signsThe rally of the previous year felt almost ineffective to me. I felt good making my signs and saying what was on my mind, standing on the sidewalk in front of a hospital… but I wondered, did this matter? Was I getting through? Cars watched us and passed. A local news reporter briefly came and spoke to us (it seemed like maybe a couple dozen of us were there). A story ran in the paper. We were all proud to be a part of this, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. Maybe other cities felt differently, with booths, and huge turnouts. Maybe this was a regional issue, I thought. I felt like we were just a bunch of nice ladies holding signs.

This year looked like it could be the same, or worse. Days before the event, they still didn’t have a location. It appeared that only something like 10 people had committed to attending the event.

Other things that irked me that year creeped up again this year as the rally approached.

The idea that “this is not a protest”. Why is that so important? If someone accidentally calls it a protest (and not a “rally”), we’re afraid of all being seen as militant? Is protesting something mean, naughty, or has it ever done some good in this world? Okay, maybe that’s just me.

The idea that midwives deserve all the love and it’s the bad OBs we are questioning. In my state (Florida) in particular, what midwives are “allowed” to do is highly regulated and under the watch of the state and the medical establishment. In essence, they play by the same rules. Midwives need to have relationships with doctors and hospitals– in case of transfer, they say. And transfer is very likely. Even when transfer does not occur, you are subjected to the many of the same birth routines and interventions as in a hospital. I chose midwives to escape medical trappings, and instead found myself in a new style of snare. I feel personally irresponsible suggesting to women that hiring a midwife would solve all her birth troubles. Yet, this philosophy seems like a large part of this movement.

“Know Your Rights” (a great, popular Improving Birth sign) doesn’t save you if your midwife is telling you they can no longer legally serve you if you don’t submit to XYZ. That’s about the law, rules and regulations, and care not based on scientific evidence nor humane childbirth rights. That’s not at all about respecting or being with woman.

The idea that our main dilemma is C-sections. I think the C-section is the ultimate intervention when we think of medical birth, that’s true. The numbers are outrageous. Many are unnecessary, that’s true. I’ve never had a c/s and I care, and I talk about this and how to avoid surgical birth all the time. Still, I get the strong sense that we are trying to tell women to merely avoid a c-section and their births will be better (and perhaps by merely hiring a midwife). There are other points women make on their signs about informed consent, or questioning their inductions, etc.– but I get the impression that this, too, is specifically to influence an avoidance of the dreaded C-section (and not as much because the induction in itself is unnecessary and harmful, for example).  These are just the impressions that I’m getting.

Now for the new things this year that gave me pause, even prior to hearing the supposed connection of Improving Birth and The Big Push.

signs

“… we are not advocating FOR or AGAINST any one thing…”

Signs should be from this pre-approved list. The same sign suggestions as last year were provided, only this time, there was an extra sense of “stick to the program”. It was discouraged to stray from this short list. This turned me off. Why?

One, I am highly driven by my own passion to speak for myself.
Two, I don’t like being told what to do (this is about Improving Birth… <<<this should make sense!).

Three, the signs they encourage you to use, while often empowering in nature, are vague. “Know Your Options” (doesn’t everyone think they do? I know I did. Wrong!). “VBAC” (Yay, vbac! What about it?). “Evidence Based Care!” (yes, we’re all for this… even doctors say they are. Do they know they’re not giving evidence based care? Do women know exactly how they aren’t receiving it?). “Birth Matters” (yes, yes it does. Who would argue that?). Most people walk away from that feeling not-offended (<goal achieved) and automatically supportive of and even a member of this movement. But, what has changed? You may have people on “your side”, but that’s easy to accomplish when you won’t choose sides.

The reason given by Improving Birth was that “our” message will be more heard if we aren’t all saying different things. They also didn’t want us to sound “angry”. What about my message? My message is part of our message. If birth needs so much improvement, why wouldn’t we be a little angry? I want to improve birth, too. I have great, specific things to say. I want to make people think. I want to change the way they look at birth and present their actual options, through provocative ideas and lesser known facts. So, I made my own list.


We will not be going in front of hospitals this year. Why the hell not? (I don’t know, something from the higher-ups.) We have to obey an entity? That seems familiar. Well, okay…  Where are we supposed to go instead? (I don’t know, some public place… Permits and fines are something we have to think about. I’ll let you know the morning of the rally.) …  o.O

I listened to Birth: Revolution Style’s radio show (scroll to the 90 minute mark) discussing the issue, where an Improving Birth coordinator (Heather Kimble) tried to answer some of these questions. She expressed that one factor influencing location is the wonderful medical professionals– doctors, nurses, etc.– who wanted to be involved in our rallies but could not, for fear of repercussions of doing so in front of a/their hospital.
My problem with that is, they are doing a huge disservice to our cause if we bend to accommodate them so that they don’t get in trouble. The hospital is the most relevant place for this event. Our message stands to be lost or obscured elsewhere. If docs and nurses really want to help, maybe they’d be serving us better in the actual line of duty. That is where we need their support the most.

Truthfully, it sounds like another way we are bending or bowing to the medical establishment.

I want everyone to be able to have whatever birth they choose– the one they feel healthiest and safest with. That can’t happen if midwives are bound by certain medical regulations and standards. There was some talk on my page about legal vs. illegal. I said that I wanted all options to be “legal”. After listening to Magdalena on my page and the male caller from the radio show, I see that the terminology gets confusing. “Legal” implies there is also an “illegal” side to the coin, which means there is something to regulate. “Alegal”, or “lawful”, something which is not hindered by legislation, is perhaps a more correctly labeled goal.

I can’t be worried about certain things, though, such as pleasing medical professionals and working with them on their requests or demands. That’s what is hurting us in our births, after all. I won’t worry about trying to keep my message bland or neutral. I believe it creates positive feelings amongst people, but that this inspires contentedness rather than change.

An example of one of my signs this year.

Something is still unclear about Improving Birth. Did they, do they, or don’t they have anything to do with The Big Push and/or midwifery legislation?

Heather Kimble with Improving Birth was unsure during the radio show (linked above), but answering as best she could from what she had gathered, her feeling seemed to be that at one time IB had aligned with said cause(s), but is no longer after the reaction they’d received. If this is the case and Improving Birth is trying to distance itself from such goals and campaigns, I really think the best choice would be to publicly express this in an open way.  It would really clear the air.

I still believe in women uniting in any way they can to improve the climate of birth. I don’t count it out that I could attend future rallies in person, again.  I think we need to know more about where Improving Birth stands, though. We also would be more powerful and meaningful as a movement if we were free to be ourselves. We were controlled in the delivery room… do we need to be controlled in the rally, too? When can we be trusted as women to lead our own way?

If we’re all on the same team here, it’s okay if we disagree on the best way to spread the message, as long as we are out there doing something about it. I held a virtual rally on my page where I posted my past signs from last year, new ones I made this year, and ones from fans. I was heard, it resonated with people, and it felt nice/productive. The material had lots of shares and lots of positive feedback. Maybe someone learned something or felt more empowered, too. I’m happy to participate and do my part.