Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to the Middle, Conclusion

While my pal Barb posts on her blog today that she no longer feels herself a part of the Natural Birth Community (NCB), I realize that I never felt I belonged to anything at all, except when my oldest was little and I called myself an attachment parent as often as I possibly could. I only ever wanted to see women. I only ever wanted to hear their stories and be changed by them - even when I thought that the best way to do that was to change them, instead.

I spend a lot less time talking to women about birth now. I listen. I stopped caring years ago whether they had hospital births or homebirths or went unassisted or had a whole cheering squad of nurses in the room when they gave birth. What does that have to do with me?

I stopped telling myself that my births were total nightmares and that I was traumatized. This is not to say I didn't have difficult births in different ways - but at the end of the day my kids and I were here, and we're safe and happy. We're whole, and we love each other, and love the larger world. For me, birth was one day that changed my life, but it's kind of like saying that the wedding is the most important day of your life. What about every day of your marriage? Yes the wedding is important, pivotal and you will never forget- but the real work begins, the real journey begins the very next day with how you treat each other, and how you treat yourself.

I spent years earnestly believing that alternative medicine would work. I believed, when it didn't work sometimes, that I was the problem, not the treatment. I believed that using medicine prescribed by a doctor was a surrender, that I was giving up, that I wasn't willing or able to tow the line of true healing.

Today, I see how we are hurting each other. I see groups on Facebook dedicated to blaming and criticizing the other side of the argument. I see Dr. Amy's hateful vitriol still brings in the viewers and the sad thing is that I can't say I agree with her on some of the things she says publicly without worry about who I might offend.

Don't get me wrong- I didn't drag you through five posts of my story from one side to the other just to ask that we all hold hands and sing around the campfire together. I am hoping that in some way, that in sharing this story that someone else might see themselves within these words.

We are only the experts of ourselves. Just because I know what is right for me, does not mean I know what is right for you.

When we can have a discussion at that level, perhaps some forward movement? When we stop thinking we know everything, that we must defend ourselves, but truly begin to listen - perhaps homebirth can be safer everywhere, and hospital birth more satisfying. Perhaps then we can stop arguing about licensing when it is happening around us whether we're fans of it or not.  Perhaps women will desire to become more informed consumers and we will have a better network to help women process their experiences, too. We have to tell the hard stories- we are not protecting women by selling the idea that hospital birth is bad and homebirth (at any cost) is desirable and better. We are only digging ourselves into a larger hole that will someday be nearly impossible to climb out of.


Bambi C said...

Thank you!!

BookwormMama said...

K, love you. Dig you. Agree with you 125%! I so love your willingness to share your heart, your thoughts, your journey. Those who don't know you in person are missing out! :]