Saturday, June 15, 2013

Reality Check

I have studied the history of midwifery and the history of birth, both in this country and around the world.  I have read many books and talked to many people.  I have been involved in birth since 2005 and began learning about it years before that.

Recently, I was attending a completely wonderful birth.  Actually, the night before, I dreamed that I was the midwife for this family.  So when they called me that morning I was not surprised.  They were welcoming their first child and were surrounded by family; sisters, mothers and even a sweet baby boy who was soon to be a cousin.  It was simply a beautiful, sweet experience.  The soon to be Mama and Daddy were doing wonderfully.  A little while into pushing, she reached inside herself to feel her baby's head for the first time.  I made a comment about the first physical touch and how lovely it is.  One of the soon to be Grandmothers then said, "We never got to do that with our babies since we were strapped down."

It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know the history, I know that it was routine to strap women down during labor.  But this personal moment and revelation was so powerful.  This is why I do what I do, this is why we strive and struggle for the rights of women and their families to birth humanely.  We must always remember the past, so we can prevent it from happening again.