Division: What Are We Fighting For?

by Mrs. BWF on May 16, 2012

I recently asked on our BWF page if people thought there was division in the birth community (moms and professionals) or unity. Everyone answered division on some level. One woman, an OB, asked, “What are we fighting for?”

Good question.

This is not referring to women who are fighting to have a voice or for their rights. This is about women fighting with each other. Birthing women, doulas, midwives. What is everyone fighting about? I’ve seen the following…

Which child birth class is best.

What kind of midwife is best.

That the only way to birth is all natural and all women can.

All women need to be in the hospital as it’s the only safe place.

All women should breastfeed and did not try hard enough if they don’t.

All women should formula feed.

Are these really things to fight about? You know, if women could stop nitpicking, they could come together despite these minor differences and really focus (together) on real issues such as…

Women having no voice or say in their births.

Women having recourse if they have been mistreated or the victim of negligent care (by any kind of care provider).

Helping each other find safe, competent care providers.

The important issues will not change while everyone is fighting over Bradley vs. Hypnobirthing or breast over bottle or drug free versus an epidural. Yes, those things are important. Educating on these topics is vital. Fighting over them is not.

Let’s focus on educating, informing, then supporting those choices. Then we can be united and work towards solutions on serious issues surrounding childbirth in our societies.

~January

*Maternity Photography by Ian Christman

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

amy May 17, 2012 at 12:52 am

just read a great article today exploring this very topic. It was interesting because the author stated that we shouldn’t worry about what any well meaning mother/parent is doing for their child/children, but rather focus all that energy on the children who have no parents or families to care for them. For instance, we shouldn’t fight over breast or bottle feeding when some children aren’t being fed at all, it really does put things into perspective when you look at it like that.

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S Borchers May 21, 2012 at 2:05 am

Yes, how petty is it to think we are *superior* with breast feeding or natural birth when we are reminded that many children in the world (in North America!) do not receive food and shelter and really don’t have the ability to make these sorts of privileged choices. Too many children go without an adequate education, a loving and consistent upbringing, I could go on and on . . . take all that superior energy and volunteer at a local school or shelter.

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Jessica May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I have always been confused and frustrated by all the fighting against each other in the birthing and baby community. You are so right, we need to support and guide and inform regardless of what it is on. In a topic with so much grey area we need to stop being so black and white. Great view and great post.

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Nicole May 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

This is great! By arguing which choise is the ‘right’ one, we are taking that choice away from women! We are doing the exact opposite of what we claim to be doing. It makes me so sad to see so many people who claim to be ‘liberating’ women, when they are simply replacing one expectation with another.

Inform. Don’t influence.

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michelle August 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

“inform. don’t influence.” def agree! love that statement!

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amy May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

I think I have difficulty just being informative because I don’t want moms to miss out. I am super pro natural birth because I had two previous hospital births that I was bullied at and lied to. then I had a natural birth center birth and it was a whole different world. and I don’t think you can truly understand what your missing until you go through it. but I don’t want a fight either. its hard. I don’t feel angry at those who don’t agree. I just want everyone to have as great an experience as I did.

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Nicole May 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Amy, what you have to realize is that not all women want to have what you had. Just because it was a better experience for you doesn’t mean that it will be for all women.

I had 2 hospital births, and both were very different experiences. Just because these weren’t what was best for me doesnt mean it’s not what’s best for another woman. I went on to have a freebirth with just me and my husband while my 2 girls slept peacefully in their beds. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. When people ask about it, I tell them how great it was, but I also tell them that it was so great because its exactly what I wanted. If a woman didn’t want that, but was forced into it, I’m sure it would be no better than being bullied and lied to by hospital staff.

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Hope August 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Wonderfully said! An unassisted birth is something I hope never happens for me, so you are quite right in that what is better really means what is best for us as individuals :)

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Christan August 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I agree that not all people want or need the same things. Because the physical process is the same for many women, I think it’s hard for people to realize that what a woman wants and needs in birth is truley diverse. Not everyone can benefit from the same birth experience, period. No matter if that birth is natural, medicated, or surgical. There are so many other factors that go into deciding what is best for a specific woman in addition to the physical aspect of birth.

I’m a doula, and I’ve been taught to approach birth very differently in certain situations. Many, MANY things go into how a woman responds to birth, such as past birth experiences (if any), how close she may (or may not) be to her own parents/family, a past history of abuse, any kind of medical trauma (even if not birth related), how healthy her current relationships are (especially with the baby’s father or her partner), her age, cultural influences, religious beliefs, birth moms releasing for adoption… I can go on forever. Some moms NEED medication, or a hospital setting just as much as some moms NEED to have total control of letting birth happen naturally. There really is NO wrong way to birth. I wish more people could see that. We’re all on the same team here, we love our families and want what is best for them. That should be enough.

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BarefootMedStudent May 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Best post I have seen on childbirth in a long time. These “wars” are ridiculous. I hope that mothers/health care workers will stop arguing and rather unite for each other’s rights.

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michelle August 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm

love this! i am a new mommy, well any day now baby will be here, but i was shocked when i seen all the negativity in the mommy world! i felt like i was back in high school, and to be honest, i never even experienced that type of negativity back then because i always surrounded myself with happy, positive people that i wanted to be like… i recently had to delete alot of birthing and mommy sites because all the drama, it was so depressing to log on everyday and see another mom getting bashed because of her choices…and being that i am going to be giving birth here any day now i just didnt want all that negativity clouding my mind in these final moments of pregnancy, your blog however i kept and am very glad i did! i absolutely love it here :) thankyou for all your posts, youve definitely have made a positive difference in my life as a soon to be mommy :)

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Nicole Ray September 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

This is exactly what I’ve been feeling and trying to communicate (not well as you communicated here). I couldn’t agree more that unity in the birth community will serve the actual issues so much better than infighting over the rest of the methodology or philosophies.

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louzannalady September 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Exactly! January, you hit the nail on the head, once again! : )

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Pam January 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Excellent. I’m a moderator of a Natural Childbirth page, and a blog editor. I see so much petty fighting over things that are really private, personal decisions of individual families. I remind the moms that all are the page because they want to be a great mom, so stop fighting over arbitrary rules that we put on each other!

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Angie Tolpin January 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

Amen! This is one of my deepest burdens with regard to this topic. We as women need to ban together and choose love and NOT judgmentalism. I pray for a day when women can see that this division for what it is and choose peace.

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Bethany Learn - Fit2B Studio January 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

My friend, Angie Tolpin, just finished writing her book on this very topic. It’s called Redeeming Childbirth, but it’s not out yet :( I’ll link her FB page, but I must say that I so so so value her 6 birth experiences and the way that she supports every mom in our own community to empower and educate themselves, and she challenges the church women to stop fighting and be there for each other! https://www.facebook.com/RedeemingChildbirth

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