• Saturday, April 19, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    HAPPY BIRTH-DAY TO ALL MOTHERS

    Safe motherhood for all. By F. Beaumont.

    Safe motherhood for all. By F. Beaumont.

    My daughter Esmeralda turns 18 today. Like all parents, I am amazed at how time flies. Like all mothers, I get reminiscent about those days, 18 years ago.

    I was very pregnant and very happy. I lived in Rome, Italy, and I wanted a home birth.

    I wanted music, soft light, friends, baby on my stomach still attached by umbilical cord, no drugs, and no epidural. A birth by my own rules, not by a cold hospital’s.

    I found a group specialized in home births – Il Melograno. Their package included ob-gyn and midwife, courses, support and, more importantly, a woman-friendly feel. A photographer from Marie Claire magazine would do a photo reportage on my happy home birth.

    Our premise: pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability. Pregnancy and birth have become over-medicalized; women should reclaim it from doctors overly fond of control and caesareans. My family, my colleagues and the baby’s father thought I was crazy. Home births are more common now but women still battle to extricate pregnancy and birth out of the hospital realm.

    In Brazil, we recently lost a battle for a  centre for natural birth in Rio de Janeiro.

    Clueless mommy

    In my case, at midnight, after 30 hours of labour, I was stuck at 6 cms dilatation – and exhausted. A home birth must be 100 percent natural, so the few drops of oxitocyn to trigger full dilation had to be administered in hospital, three blocks away. There I went. At 2am my daughter was born – and promptly taken away to the nursery.

    At 5:30am a nurse literally dumped my baby girl in my arms and left. No instructions on how to feed, nothing. My midwife and friends were coming at 8 am. What to do?  I had never been around a newborn. I was like Carrie Bradshaw in Season 2 of Sex and The City – domesticity and motherhood were not part of my landscape.

    So there I was, baby on one hand, baby book on the other, trying to figure it out. This is the most ridiculous and pathetic image of modern motherhood, I thought. How did we end here, from birth as a group event to 6 AM loneliness in hospital?

    Less than 24 hours later, against hospital rules, I signed waivers absolving doctors of any responsibility and checked myself out.

    I went home and turned on the CD player. My daughter’s godmother had been listening to the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want”. I chuckled.

    Two close friends, one in Windhoek and one in London, recently tried a home birth but ended in hospital, just like me. Still, we were happy to go through labour at home.

    Meanwhile, many women struggle to have a safe birth – anywhere. About half a million women die in childbirth very year. There are not enough trained midwives to ensure a safe labour, whether at home or at a clinic,

    Photo:

    Art by Nelly Romeo Alves, photo by E. Zimbres

    from Mexico to Uganda.

    At a conference on reproductive health in Berlin last week, the World Health Organisation reported that one woman dies every minute for lack of adequate pregnancy and birth services.

    A cruel paradox: the world proffers to revere motherhood but does not make it safe and comfortable for mothers to give birth.

    • Dolores Cortes

      Gender Masala offers such stimulating thoughts, observations, insights; along with the research and links for more indepth study. So all-pervading, omnipresent. Thank you for the sharing with us the birth of your lovely Esmeralda! Dolores

    • http://youtubeblog.co.cc/?p=20543 Posts about music as of September 8, 2009 | Youtube blog

      [...] (0) JONAS BROTHERS – TONIGHT – MUSIC VIDEO (WATCH IN HQ!) (0) Jonas Brothers – Tonight (0) HAPPY BIRTH-DAY TO ALL MOTHERS – ips.org 09/07/2009 Daughter, mother. Photo: F. Beaumont My daughter Esmeralda turns 18 [...]

    • http://www.squidoo.com/xml/syndicate_lensmaster/yanton squidoo guy

      enjoyed reading this post, thanks, appreciated

    • Ferial

      Really gorgeous piece, Mercedes. Gender Masala is so cool and so you!

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