Monday, March 15, 2010

Hands off my uterus!

(a guest-post by MO Mama)

Missouri has many wonderful attributes, such as beautiful, lush landscapes that highlight the four seasons, more rivers than imaginable, and incredibly friendly home school laws.

Until recently, however, Missouri was stuck in the dark ages as far as midwifery was concerned. While we were ranked significantly higher than the national average 2005-2006 for home births, until 2008 a midwife caught practicing was considered a FELON in the eyes of the law.

I feel fortunate to have been a tiny part in that change. I also feel fortunate that any illusions I had about equality were swiftly smashed and stomped upon.  One prominent memory from the Capitol is my friend asking a representative who was opposed to midwifery: “What about the woman's right? Don't you believe in women rights?”  His response was, “I'm for some women rights.”

That is the general consensus I get across the board, especially when discussing my right to have my baby in a setting of my choosing. The decision of where and with whom to give birth can't be left up to a silly woman! Women don't know enough about their own bodies, childbirth, etc. to make a competent decision. Instead, we need legislators to make laws to protect us from our own stupidity and doctors to save us from the dangerous medical condition they believe pregnancy/birth to be.

Indulge me for a bit while I point out the flaws in this logic.

1. I am not an idiot just because I am a pregnant woman. Sure, there are dumb pregnant women but there are also dumb middle-aged male legislators. This doesn't mean I should swoop in and tell them how to do their jobs. (Although, if you're reading this Mike Talboy, I do have some ideas) I have yet to meet a pregnant woman who didn't want the absolute best for her baby. Most women have taken the time to read at least a book or two as well as ask questions by the time they've completed the first trimester. In the case of homebirthers, research on the safety, which repeatedly has shown planned home birth with a midwife is as safe as a planned hospital birth for a normal, low risk pregnancy, is almost always conducted prior to the decision. 

2. No one has the right to tell me what to do with my own body. I can't help but notice there are very few (if any?) laws governing what men can and can't do with their bodies. Am I less an autonomous person because I grow life inside me? I think not! 

3. When discussing any issue, I feel that you should only comment if you have personal experience. If not, shut up. Last time I checked, men do NOT have fallopian tubes, a uterus, or a vagina. That said, they have no bearing in conversations, laws, or anything really, that has to do with those parts. If I want to have my baby in the backyard standing on my head while my neighbor looks on, it's really none of your business. When you do grow a uterus and carry, then give birth to, a baby...look me up. Until then, leave my uterus alone.

By MO Mama, Passionate and intense doula, aspiring midwife, woman activist who speaks her mind and occasionally sticks her foot in her mouth.


Eugenie van Ruitenbeek said...


I put it on my blog with your link, of course!


Alyssa G said...

No uterus, no opinion.

Laborpayne said...

Right on, MO Mamma!

Psalms66 said...

Great article... I'm in Missouri too. Where is MO Mama's blog? I'd love to follow her.

Elizabeth said...

Awesome post! I had a home birth with my son two months ago. He is my first child, and the home birth with my midwife was an absolutely amazing experience!

Lilly Rose said...

I often thought all of this, too, during the fight to have the birth I wanted. That was, of course, not to be. Because I found a midwife willing to attend me, who dumped me when either her attending OB got nervous or she did, but as a result, I was too scared to risk another midwife's freedom for my "selfish" wish for my birth to be natural and at home.

I'm still kicking myself for it. Not like I ever had to tell anyone I was a homebirth transfer if I'd transferred. *rolls eyes* Of course, until I was 8 months pregnant, I was still being given the lie "It's illegal to have a homebirth in MO" and thus, didn't even know to look :(

I don't want to have to cross state lines over to KS, I want to bring their laws on midwifery to us. Of course, I'm still probably just going to go over to Mercy and Truth to have my next baby and say "screw you, too" to Missouri. *sigh*

Mark said...

My wife just recently had a home birth (water birth!) with our first child.
It was a wonderful experience. There was no contention about it whatsoever, it was completely her decision and I supported her.

That's my opinion, I'm not sure why it's not allowed to matter.

To portray this issue as men vs. women is, I feel, incorrect.
It is the informed vs. the ignorant and the powerful.

Don't leave us men out! You'll lose half your supporters!

Brandi said...

I also want to add that if we let legislators decide where we can have babies next, they will want to tell us where and how we can make babies! Thanks for this terrific post and keep up the good fight =)

Rebekah C said...

*intense applause* YES MA'AM!!!

Jenny B said...

Mark makes a valid point. And there are probably just as many female government retards against homebirth and though they are proud owners of a uterus...their opinion does not matter when it comes to MY uterus.

Nichole_Bruff said...

I just gave birth to my 4th baby 6 months ago.

My boys were all delivered in a hospital setting. I was never satisfied.

My 3rd born, I wanted to try going as natural as can be while in the hospital. While I was at 5cm, the Dr. came in and said he had to hurry me along since L&D was packed and they needed labor rooms opened. My husband ( now ex) was gone from the room and I felt pushed into it. He ruptured my membranes and I didn't have the coping skills to go without drugs.

When I was surprised with my 4th pregnancy, I went to the Drs. I spoke to the nurse about possibly going with a midwife. She laughed in my face. I stayed with that practice until I was 32 weeks and found a mid wife that delivered in a hospital 30 minutes from home. My insurance company would only allow a mid wife that delivered in that setting.

I would have to say that my experience was so much better. There were complications since she had to induce with prostaglandin gel due to too much amniotic fluid. Baby ended up aspirating on her meconium, a sensor had to be placed in her skull in utero, amnio infusion was done and my cervix became a blood blister when I was at 9.5 cm My the grace of God, my doula and mother laid hands on me and my uterus pushed my daughter out. I did nothing. They were getting ready for an emergency cs due to decels of maggie's heart. All in all, I am so glad that I had a mid wife that allowed me to labor the way I wanted. My daughter was healthy and I was happy.

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