This story makes me so grateful my husband was on board with my birth wishes and could accept and respect where I wanted to give birth…
Why I’m Glad I’m Not Married To The Pharma Companies Dream
In April 2016, I left the NHS.
I’ve been working part-time in a Neuropsychology team on a stroke ward for over two years.
I went to say goodbye to the medics. I bounced into their office and wished them farewell.
‘Where are you going?’ they asked.
‘I’m going to be working for myself full time’ I revealed. As well as providing the psychology service here, I’m a birth coach and a doula.’
‘You What?’ laughed the highest ranking doctor unable to hide his disdain. ‘ A birth coach? How can you coach people to give birth? You can’t influence the hormones!’
‘Really?’ I said incredulously. ‘I beg to differ! What about Oxytocin; the hormone we need for labour to progress?’
‘Well, how can you make that?’ inquired one of the other more open minded doctors.
I got on my soap box; all 5ft 2” of me! ‘Oxytocin is created when we feel safe, secure, trusted and loved. The support we receive from our birth attendants, the environment we birth in and the way we respond to the sensations of birth are inextricably linked to the hormones we create. If we’re fearful or the birthing process or embarrassed or disturbed, we create adrenaline, a hormone that hampers the progression of labour. So as you can see Dr, we CAN influence the hormones!’
‘Well!’ he said, clearly put out by my challenge. ‘Maybe you can influence the hormones!
‘But anyway, ‘ he continued, ‘when my wife was pregnant, the midwives suggested that birthing at home was an option for her and she agreed with them. But when she mentioned this to me, I said, ‘NO WAY!’ wagging his finger haughtily as he recounted the tale of how he had told his wife, ‘You’ll be birthing in hospital!’
“Well, I’m glad I’m not you’re wife!’ I said defiantly. The other doctors laughed gingerly behind their handkerchiefs.
You see, he’s the pharma-companies dream! He dishes out medication for post-stroke depression to every patient at the first driblet of a tear like Mr Whippy dishes out ice-cream on the first summers day. And while I think that medicine can be helpful in some instances, for most, working through their initial shock and sadness with tender, empathic support, without the numbing of their emotions can often be more valuable and constructive in the long term.
You see, for many women birthing at home is as safe for your baby and is a safer option for you. You’re far less likely to be subjected to unnecessary intervention such as a caesarean or an instrumental delivery (The Birthplace Study, 2011). And this is what he fails to take into account.
While I appreciate it’s important to take into account family members viewpoints on place of birth, ultimately where we give birth has to be the woman’s decision.
As a woman, it’s our birthright to birth where and how we want to!
And that is why I’m glad I’m not married to the pharma-companies dream!
How You Can Help
We need to be challenging views based on fear not reality: ideas that take into account neither the evidence nor the psychological or spiritual aspects of birth; views that oppress women, limiting their options and perpetuating the kind of birth stories I would not wish upon my sisters.
This story makes me proud to be a birth coach and a doula, I’m honoured to be part of revolutionary movement helping women access resources so they can make their own choices, providing information so women and their families can prepare for birth positively.
Working together we can create environments conducive to the birthing process in all settings; for I truly believe this work draws upon my greater sense of Universal Responsibility and will be for the benefit of all mankind.