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Posts Tagged ‘Home Birth’

Twitter is a wonderful thing. It’s provided me with countless hours of time wastage and entertainment. I have also met some pretty awesome people through it. One of whom being Rachel, AKA Shiny. Not only is she awesome, but she also lives in Perth which meant I got to really meet her … and drink beer with her … and we plan on doing it again (the beer part for sure). 🙂 Any woman who chooses her kittens based on their colours in order to name them Gallifrey and Skaro has got to be pretty awesome … AND she likes Ani DiFranco too! Shiny is a nerd with taste. Except for the liking me part. I haven’t quite figured that out yet. But, amazingly, she felt compelled to award me with this:

I’ve never gotten a blog award before! Of course, I’ve only been blogging for a few months, so that’s not really such a big surprise. It makes me feel special all the same. There is just one catch to this award: I have to list seven things about myself. Hhhmmm, this may be harder than it sounds. Ok, here you go, seven things about me in no particular order:

1) I once went skinny dipping at Mount Ranier … while lots of people watched. No, the watching part wasn’t planned … just a bit of a stupid oversight on the part of my and my friend’s teenage selves (I won’t out her unless she wants to out herself). Although, I suspect my friend knew what she was doing and just strung silly old me along unawares. 😉 It was the summer I met The Geek, he was visiting and we took him to Mt Ranier because that’s what you do with tourists. There was a beautiful lake just under the parking lot/observation point. It was a warmish day (for Washington) and we hiked down to the lake. We decided that it would be refreshing to go skinny dipping (actually, we were daring each other to do it all the way down … I should have known better than to enter into such a dare with this particular friend). The Geek was still chasing me at the time so I was uncomfortable with stripping right there in front of him. So we went to the other side of the lake. Only to find out later (via the sound of some tourist shouting “Hey, there are two girls down there without any clothes on!”) that we had decided to strip & swim within perfect view of the observation point! I’m sure a few of them have some blurry pictures of naked teenagers in their collection of vacation photos …

2)  I almost became a primary school teacher. When I moved to Australia on a student visa, my chosen major was Primary Education. I did a year of the degree and went to two minor pracs (one in a primary school and one in a high school). It was at the end of that year that I realized that I would make a terrible primary school teacher. I do not have the patience for it, nor am I creative enough to invent lesson plans. Oh, and the rest of the people in my year at uni? Could barely stand most of them. The classes I had to take bored the crap out of me, too. My hat goes off to people who can be teachers … It’s a fucking hard and thankless job.  I am not cut out for it.

3)  I’m 30 years old and I still don’t know who I am. It freaks me out. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up nor do I have any idea what I’m doing now (other than trying to survive the early years of motherhood). I have ideas but I’m not sure they will ever pan out nor am I sure that I will *like* them if they ever do pan out.

4)  I care more about what other people think than I should. I pretend to think I’m awesome but I don’t really think I am. And now I’m admitting to it which is just a big freaking paradox in and of itself, isn’t it? I worry constantly about what other people think and how they view me. It doesn’t stop me from being a weirdie, dreadlocked nerd but it eats away at me just the same.

5)  I consider having my babies naturally at home to be the most empowering and feminist thing I have ever done. Sure, there are things about the first birth that didn’t go exactly as I had hoped (and I may blog the birth story later to explain this).  Consequently, there is a little bit of mother guilt that things went so well for the second.  But those things don’t matter. What matters is that I trusted my body and I did it. I pushed two children out of my vagina in a warm, safe home environment lacking in harsh lighting or superfluous machines that go “ping.” I did it on my own without Drs interfering, without unnecessary medicalisation of the process. Me, my womb, my vagina and my babies working together to create the best moments of my life. If I accomplish nothing else in my life, at least I did that.

6)  I consider succeeding in full term breastfeeding the second most empowering and feminist thing I have ever done. The first time around wasn’t easy. In fact, it was a fucking nightmare that brought me to the brink and back. But I persisted because I knew I could do it and could conceive of no other way to feed my child. After we overcame our horrific problems, I fed with pride. Anywhere. Everywhere. And I still do since Cub is only 19 months old and will likely be feeding for at least another year if not more.  I may hate other parts of my body (especially post baby) but my breasts doing their intended job of feeding children are things to be proud of. I don’t wave them about, I don’t make a big deal about what I’m doing but I do it when I need to, where I need to, regardless of the age of my child because I know that it’s the right thing to do and I know that buying into the idea that a breastfeeding woman must hide is misogynistic, prudish nonsense.

7)  I am essentially a very lazy person and I hate it. There are lots of things I don’t do  because I decide it’s not worth doing or would be too hard to do before I even try. I wish I could change this about myself but, then, that would be too hard, too.

Now, I am supposed to pass this award along to someone else who deserves it. The problem is that I am only just getting started on keeping up with blogs so I have a short list of those I’ve thus far added to my very, very new blog feed … and most of them have already been given this award! But, there are two who, to my knowledge, have not received it  yet and who deserve it for various reasons:

Stay At Home Mayhem

Spilt Milk

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Taken at the first National Day of Action at Perth Parliament House, September 2009

Thursday, February 18th was yet another National Day of Action to save home birth in Australia. The current Labor government has been trying to pass legislation that would effectively make independent midwives and legal home birth things of the past. We’ve been fighting this legislation since last year and we will continue to fight it until women’s rights to bodily autonomy are saved. You can read more about the proposed legislation and our fight against it here.

The Perth rally was held outside the office of Melissa Parke, Federal MP for Fremantle and my local MP. Although Melissa Parke is a Labor MP, she seems to support our cause and is able to oppose the legislation from within the party ranks. The staff at her office were friendly and accommodating which was a welcome change from the other rallies I’ve attended. Melissa Parke herself was not there due to prior arrangements but she had a staff member read a statement to the gathering. Following is a transcript of Melissa Parke’s statement (retyped by me) and the emailed response I sent to her office today:

“I am sorry I cannot be here today to speak to you in person. I committed some months ago to speak at a function in Perth whose purpose is to present women role models and leaders in the community as part of an effort to encourage young women to be active and creative in their personal and professional lives.

I welcome this rally as statement of concern by those who rightly want to see the full range of birth choices maintained for women in Australia – including home birth.

After making representations on this issue, I am pleased that the proposed changes will allow private homebirth midwives to continue practising as a result of the 2-year indemnity insurance exemption, and I hope a long-term solution can be found during that period. In my view, the model in New Zealand is one that we should seek to replicate.

Of course, I recognise that the real concern people have in relation to the ‘Quality and Safety Framework’, which is a condition of the exemption, and that is currently the subject of a consultation process – and particularly the part of that framework that proposes some kind of collaborative input from a general practitioner of other health service provider.

I will be writing to the Minister for Health to clarify the detail in this area; and I will put my view, as the representative of the Fremantle community, that any collaborative or supervisory arrangements under consideration should not interfere with or override the primacy of the relationship between an expecting mother who chooses homebirth and a private, qualified, registered midwife.

Last September, in my speech in the House of Representatives, I said:

‘I want to say something on behalf of all those who have written to me and visited me – whether they be midwives, couples who have chosen homebirth, or maternal health practitioners who support independent midwives and the women they administer to. All these constituents of mine are committed and passionate people – they are people who care about health outcomes for themselves and for their families; they are people who have clear and substantial reasons for choosing homebirth; they are people who, in some cases, choose homebirth as a result of traumatic birthing experiences in hospitals; and they are people who care about choice as a matter of principle. I support all those people – my constituents in Fremantle.’ (House of Representatives, Monday, 14 September 2009)

I know that a significant number of women, even though they are in the minority, have chosen and continue to choose homebirth. I know they want that right of choice to remain. I know too that many women who do not themselves opt for homebirth nevertheless support the right of other women and their families to choose it.

Thank you for taking the time, and for making the effort, to lend your voice to this cause. You are doing so on behalf of women and their families now, and on behalf of women who will make their birth choices in the future.

I support choice for women in the matter of deciding the place and manner of giving birth and will do my best to advance this cause on your behalf.”  Melissa Parke MP Federal Member for Fremantle, Thursday 18 February 2010

And my subsequent follow up email:

“To Melissa Parke:

As a member of your electorate, I would like to thank you for your support of women’s birth choices and urge you to continue that support. I would also like to thank your staff for their friendly and accommodating attitudes at the rally outside your office for the National Day of Action on Thursday, 18th of February. I have been to several rallies in the fight to save home birth as a legal option for birthing women and I have never encountered as accommodating staff at the rally locations. It was very appreciated.

I am a mother who chose to birth both of my sons at home with independent registered midwives. I consider this to be the best choice I ever made and would do it again should I ever have another child. I felt supported, informed and in control of both my pregnancies and births. I had access to all the facts and made my own decisions on how to proceed with my midwives’ full support every step of the way. Every woman should feel as empowered as I did in my pregnancies. Every woman should have the right to choose what is correct for her based on facts and evidence, not spin and propaganda.

I realize that home birth is not for everyone and that those who choose it will probably always be in the minority. However, that does not negate it as a safe and valid option for all women. This proposed legislation not only affects those women who would choose home birth but also those who would not. By taking the option off the table for all women, Nicola Roxon is proposing to disempower all women. We are intelligent human beings capable of processing facts and making our own informed choice based on those facts. To put up legal barriers such that an option is completely removed from our list of choices or to give doctors the final say in what happens to a woman’s body and baby is to imply that women are not capable of making their own informed choices. It is to imply that women are somehow defective in their decision making process. This represents a major human rights violation.

Please continue to help us fight this legislation and not allow Labor to go down in history as the government that stripped women of their rights.

Sincerely,

Kareena (surname)”

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