Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘freebirthing’ Category

I’ve been quiet lately as I’ve been busy with births and also taken a few days out with my family – life as an Independent Midwife can get busy and I’m now gearing up for the next babies!  www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk

In the press this week was another Freebirthing article in The Independent www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/first-person-i-gave-birth-without-any-medical-help-1739831.html Cher Sievey gave birth to her second daughter without medical assistance and was just supported by her partner.

I have previously written about Freebirthing https://midwifevalerie.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/freebirthing-unassisted-birth/ and whilst certainly not condoning unattended birthing I do understand the reasons that some women are reluctant to seek the support of doctors and midwives.

Last year I watched a viewing of the film “Orgasmic Birth” www.orgasmicbirth.com which may be called “Joyous Birth” for the British audience.

The film documents the beautiful, calm and sensuous births of eleven women.  Made by filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro it reveals a revolutionary approach to birth that is statistically safer for both mother and child than the birthing and delivery methods that are standard in many parts of the world today.

The phenomenon of birth being a sexual experience is not new; anthropologist and author Sheila Kitzinger www.sheilakitzinger.com has written about this and describes how the pressure of the baby’s head against the walls of the vagina and the fanning out of the tissues as the head descends bring for some women an unexpected sensation of sexual arousal, even of ecstasy.  I have written of the power of hypnosis and have witnessed some beautiful calm and peaceful births however it has to be said that the birth journey for most women is long, hard and painful.  This said, I very much agree with Dr Grantley Dick-Read www.pregnancytoday.com/articles/birth-methods-and-philosophies/childbirth-without-fear-1924 who in the 1920s came to the realisation that birth need not be painful, and described that Fear creates Tension which creates Pain.  Women who are able to somehow rise above the waves and surges of energy and power of the labour contractions can and do have easier and shorter labours.

If you are pregnant I would very much recommend that you consider learning the art of relaxation, perhaps with the aid of a Natal Hypnotherapy CD www.natalhypnotherapy.co.uk or by attending Hypnobirthing classes www.hypnobirthing.co.uk and perhaps that you consider watching the beautiful births on this film, perhaps together with the unassisted births https://midwifevalerie.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/freebirthing-unassisted-birth as they powerfully show the variety of births, but at the same time show that childbirth is a normal event and that babies will be born – naturally and often without too much assistance from the medical profession!

Following my recent posting when I mentioned that some women choose unassisted birth as a result of previous trauma, I have recently read that  American actor and talk-show host Rikki Lake has revealed that she was sexually abused as a young child.

Ricki Lake bravely discusses her past in her new book “Your Best Birth”.  Lake discusses her past battles with her weight and body image but goes on to describe the healing that she has experienced through her own birthing experiences, and I have to say that this concurs with my experiences as a midwife – I absolutely believe that a positive birth experience can be healing and empowering for women whether their past trauma was sexual abuse or a traumatic birth experience and am very happy to speak to women about this subject www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk.   It is well recognised by midwives that pregnancy and birth are significant times for women who have experienced sexual abuse – memories may well come to the fore, or a woman may remember events that she had previously buried and forgotten.

The documentary “The Business of Being Born”, www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com, which Lake made with filmmaker Abby Epstein, has touched many people and was championed by both the Independent Midwives Association (IMA) www.independentmidwives.org and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) www.nct-org.uk and has been shown to packed audiences around this country and abroad.

Help is available for survivors of child sexual abuse from a number of sources including:

www.thesurvivorstrust.org

www.childline.org.uk

www.sheilakitzinger.com

Freebirthing or unassisted birth has been discussed in the media over the past year or so; freebirthing is when a woman or couple decide to give birth with no medical input.

Last year there was a Channel 5 documentary called Extraordinary People: Outlaw Births http://freebirthing.org/ which gave a fascinating insight into three women’s experiences and reasons for taking this unusual route.  For some women they just feel “in tune” and “in control” of their lives and bodies and feel no need to seek a professional who may interfere with the process and their wishes, for others like Janet Fraser www.joyousbirth.info it is a reaction against what she calls “birth rape” (birth interventions done against the woman’s wishes) at a previous birth;  for others it may be unintentional and that the baby just comes faster than expected www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/apr/30/father-delivers-baby-youtube-clips

Obviously as a midwife I would not suggest that women give birth without medical aid; however I do understand that for some women birth is a private, intimate affair and I certainly understand that women who have been subjected to any violence whether that be sexual abuse, “birth rape” or any other emotional challenges may find intimate examinations extremely difficult.

I have encountered women who are unable to labour in my presence, and who wish absolutely minimal intervention.  I have also heard of women wishing to give birth alone but who have allowed a midwife to sit in the next room just in case help is required.  I believe this to be far preferable to giving birth alone and would be willing to support a client in this way www.3shiresmidwife.co.uk.  Women should remember that it is an assault for any medical professional to do anything to them against their wishes; this includes measuring blood pressure, the administration of any drug or intimate examinations.

I have recently learnt that Janet Fraser gave birth to her last baby without assistance and that sadly this baby did not make it.  It is unclear whether her baby had died in utero and whether medical help would have saved her baby, but it does highlight the dangers of unassisted birth.

Further information and support can be obtained from:

www.sheilakitzinger.com/birthcrisis.htm
www.unassistedchildbirth.com


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