Does the sharing of birth stories actually benefit those preparing for their birthing time? I ask Pam England, "isn't it a good thing to share positive birth stories?" You maybe surprised to hear what Pam says.
This episode of Pregnancy Birth & Beyond Radio features sharing positive birth stories, and in-particular the listening to positive birth stories as a form of birth preparation. My guest for this episode is Pam England. Pam lives in Albuquerque New Mexico, USA, author of Birthing From Within, Labyrinth of Birth and her latest released book Ancient Maps for Modern Birth. Pam also is the founder of Birth Story Medicine a unique approach to emotional healing after or after witnessing a difficult child birth experience. Pam is also founder of Birthing From Within. Pam practiced as a certified nurse midwife for 18 years, both within hospital and home settings, she also has a masters in counselling.
In the dominate birth culture there is a focus on the medical outcome of a birth, and this outcome partitions mothers into unspoken birth camps, the natural birth camp, the epidural birth camp, the caesarian birth camp, the traumatised birth camp and so on. This intense focus on the medical outcome of a birth completely ignores the preparation a mother did before birth and the ways in which she managed to find her way through any obstacles and challenges throughout the labor.
Pam shares with us why only listening to positive birth stories doesn't work as a way to fully prepare for birth. The sprinkling of positive birth stories on top of 6o plus years of deep conditioning of overly medicalised birth doesn't work to inoculate a mother to be from having a difficult or challenging birth.
“If it is hoarded it has no value, if it is squandered it has no legacy. When shared wisely for the benefit of all, it becomes worthy of the blood, sweat and tears you shed to gain it” David Hartman and Diane Zimberoff, sourced from Ancient Maps for Modern Birth by Pam England.
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The spectrum upon which sexuality & gender are defined is fascinating and comprehensive. More importantly, understanding it, is the doorway for more compassion and less judgement and our newest generation is leading the way.
Listen to our first show on Gender & Sexual Diversity with our expert Gopi Lev
This episode first aired live on Monday 22 May, 2017 from the studios of BayFM in Byron Bay and is broadcasting across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
As promised, Gopi has complied an awesome resources list for us all, see below for her picks.
Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon
Interwoven memoirs of transcending the gender binary co-authored by two iconic writers within the queer community. A heart-warming and beautifully written read.
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
A comprehensive insight into the way we impose the gender binary upon children and the effects of this process. Combining new, cutting-edge neuroscience and sociological examinations of how neurosexism and arbitrary gender roles undermine our society, Cordelia Fine has made an incredible case for abandoning the binary once and for all.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
An instant bestseller, Maggie Nelson has penned what reads as a mix between memoir, philosophical masterpiece and touching perspective on her life with her genderfluid partner, Harry. She details their process of having a child together, sharing custody of his other child and her own journey of pregnancy and motherhood as a queer woman in the 21st century. I could feel that it would be one of my favourite books after 3 pages.
We’ve Been Around
A project that aims to undo the harmful misconception that transgender identity is a modern thing presented as a wonderful series of videos sharing the stories of transgender people throughout history.
Riley creates beautiful, informative content covering a lot of topics relating to intersectional feminism, including but not limited to her trans experience, body shaming, classism and more.
A trans woman of colour, Kat Blaque makes videos discussing the intersections of race, gender and social justice in general. Her affable personality and widely informative videos have made her one of the most popular trans Youtubers today.
English transman, Alex Bertie has chronicled his transition (including starting testosterone and getting surgery) on his Youtube channel, talking about the aspects of his experiences with a mix of humour and vulnerability.
A brilliant source for easy-to-read, compassionately delivered articles on everything intersectional including misogyny, classism, gender, body image and so much more. Highly recommended as a resource for anybody interested in learning how they can contribute to a kinder, more just world for all.
Have your say.
At the beginning of each show we make a statement: "We honour a woman's right to choice, her body, her baby - their birth". During the show, the question was raised as to the validity of this statement - is it whole? does it encompass everyone? Is it exclusive of some? Not all people that give birth identify as women. We look forward to workshopping this and making our show and content more inclusive, specifically in terms of gender and sexuality, in the coming months and years.
We would love to hear from you:
- do you have an idea as to how to make our opening statement more inclusive?
- do you have a compelling gender & Sexual diversity story to share with the world?
Let us know below
Mothers can move mountains
We bearers of new life are a powerful lot. We perform life's most incredible act of growing then birthing babies. But when we're in the thick of raising young children, we can often feel like the antithesis of power. In or under-supported, sleep deprived, wild-haired sometimes screaming state, with seemingly endless demands on us, we can wonder if we'll ever be able to string a sentence together again.
But if our beloved birth services are suddenly under threat, we can catapult ourselves way out of our comfort zones into the public sphere to restore them.
In this episode we will hear from three mums on different campaigns to save their local birth stories. Rachel Bryant from Murwillumbah, Samantha Wibberley from Tamworth and Helena Mooney from Sydney have all been inspired to become birth activists from one day to the next. "I just couldn't stand by and let the closure happen." says Rachel.
We also learn about national health and safety standard Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers that means health services need to involve their patients in the planning, delivery and review of their health care. This standard means that health services can't close their services or deny services to their community without involving them in these decisions.
In all three stories from this episode, the community was not involved in the decisions relating to their local birth services. So, the initial focus for these women is get meetings with hospital management.
This can sound easy - surely the hospital will agree to meet their community, right? Well, none of Rachel's, Samantha's or Helena's first meeting requests were welcomed by their hospitals. In all cases, they have had to write lots of letters, build significant community support and in the case of Murwillumbah and Tamworth, rally out the front with their prams and placards before the doors were opened to them...
Find out how these mothers' stories of moving mountains play out in this podcast.
And we'd love to hear from you if you'd like to see change for your local birth services!
Right across this country we've seen the closure of 100s of birth services in recent decades, so if you live out of an urban area, changes are you've got limited birth choices. And that's not right. Our national maternity services plan calls for woman-centred continuity of care near where women live. This is how we get the best possible birth outcomes for women, babies, their families and our communities as a whole.
With sincerest thanks to all three heroines in this journey: Rachel Bryant, Samantha Wibberley and Helena Mooney and their communities supporting them. Without their efforts, evidence-based birth services would sink without a trace. Thank you also to Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland who explains how hospitals are meant to engage with their patients or 'consumers'.
NE PLUS ULTRA
The authors of this segment are varied, each post will indicate the author of that particular post. For more information about our team, visit here