invite for the birth. Some have considered this advice whilst others have not. From the latter group, as well as from many other mothers, I have heard the common story of how either it was a really long labour that just wouldn’t get going until everyone else left the room, or the early stages went fine but then everything
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stopped as soon as the crowd gathered for the finale! So please remember, birth is not a performance nor something for general exhibition. I believe, that given the choice, most women would prefer to arrange an intensely intimate gathering in peace, harmony and relative seclusion.
This section includes only a brief description of these procedures since there is so much other literature around containing more details of the standard medical birthing model. I have described both the perceived good and bad points of each procedure as there are situations where their use may be appropriate. More than just my opinions, the comments included reflect the feelings of many women on these matters, and I hope their inclusion may point out to the reader some of the unnecessary elements that are so taken for granted in mainstream birthing.
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| ||~Augmentation, Assistance, or Intervention?~ |
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Augment: To increase, make greater, to add to the original.
Augmentation is the polite and politically correct term medically trained people use nowadays to describe the procedure of speeding up labour with an artificial hormone. It comes laced with the suggestion that such things are improvements on the way it would otherwise have been – that man and his medicine are adding something extra, helping the woman, helping nature – and that without them, it would have been inferior. All these descriptions are quite plainly false and one can clearly see that the term augmentation is merely a euphemism to soften the image of such procedures and those who advocate them. In short, use of the word augmentation to describe the following procedures is a deception and I do not intend to use the word in that context.
Assist: To help, to work alongside of.
Assistant: A helper, subordinate, one who serves the manager.
Assistance is the term a hospital midwife might use to describe most of her interactions with the mother, or a doctor might use when there is a need to “move things along a bit”. Most often, the
labouring woman is given this so-called assistance to suppress the symptom, rather than being offered real assistance to relieve the cause or to manage herself in the situation. However, the true definition of a birth assistant is one who assists nature, who is in fact subordinate to the woman by trusting in the one person who is having the actual experience. Real birth assistants are there to do whatever the birthing itself needs, not to impose some ideological or theoretical perspective upon the reality. Unfortunately, in a hospital birth, the latter is most often the case. Within the hospital system exists a hierarchy of responsibility and legal obligations into which all people, staff and visitors, must fit. Therefore, it is the staff who must remain in control, and far too often the woman is meant to assist them in their duty of care for her. When she doesn’t abide by this system, she is called “unhelpful” or “difficult”. Also of controversy, is whether most of the medical procedures offered, do in fact assist the process of giving birth or whether they, on many occasions, actually hinder it. In short, hospital assistance is geared primarily to assist the hospital and the medical routines and not the woman who is in labour.
Intervene: To interfere; to come between persons or things; to prevent or modify the result.
Intervention is the term natural birthers, any woman who has ever been subjected to such rituals, and indeed any honest thinking person, would use to describe the approach medicine has taken to birthing. Each of the definitions above describes perfectly the intentions, the actions and the results of most of these procedures. To intervene in labour is to stand between a woman and that biologically encoded process she must follow to deliver her baby. To intervene in childbirth is to introduce something foreign, not belonging to the process, to prevent and modify nature’s own way. I am not saying that intervention is a dirty