Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Birth Seem Like a Battleground

Like the whole world (as represented by my Google Reader and twitter feed) I am so eager to see what comes out of the Home Birth Consensus Summit (statements expected around November 1).

I have been thinking about the disservice the birth community does to itself when we frame the whole thing as a battle or a controversy or an issue completely shaped by the 'sides' that people are on. While Barbara Katz Rothman's midwifery model and medical model is really helpful, it has the unfortunate side effect of making birth seem like a battleground. (Also, though perhaps inescapably, conflates clinician habits with clinician credentials.)

Jill and Rixa were joking about regretting some of the anti-OB rhetoric from earlier periods in their blogs, and I thought it was really big of them to say so -- and that it's important for people to read it. I make this mistake still in my thinking, but I try to counter it:
Just like individual women's health choices and behaviors aren't the only/best way to approach the issue of a flawed maternity care system, individual clinicians' choices and behaviors aren't either. Both matter; both are relevant; both are reflections of many things, including that person's background, experiences, and the community and culture in which they exist.
Taking an individual or a group of individuals to task for their choices and behaviors is easy, and you can throw your whole righteous weight behind it. I've done it in a conversation or six. But it won't solve things.

So where to look instead? Hospitals? Alliances? Professional organizations? Or do we need to go a step further than institutions and try to figure out how to change the entire social context?

And how do we do that?

PS. If you haven't seen it yet, take a gander at Public Health Doula's post with the hilariously awkward title Stages of birth thinking (yes, I need a way better name for this).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link! If you think of a better name let me know ;-)