The experience of giving birth can heal or damage. It is a normal, physiologic process, and a vulnerable moment, and a potent opportunity to grow, reclaim and heal. I became a nurse-midwife because I want to apply my life’s energy to this pivotal experience, and I want to help parents capture its potential. The best way to protect and nurture a child is to provide that child with loving, effective, unified parents. Parents can emerge from the experience of birth feeling like they were out of control and something happened TO them, or they can harness the transformative capacity of the experience and emerge empowered and strengthened. Much depends on how the doctor or midwife behaves toward them, the birth stories they have heard from family and friends, and how the birth unfolds. Much depends on preparation. Take control of your birth experience by learning what you can, and choosing the right provider and birth setting for your needs. It won’t just happen.
Our maternity system is deficient in the United States. Despite having the highest per capita expenditure on health care in the world, we rank 35th out of 44 developed countries in maternal mortality. A woman has a better chance of surviving childbirth in South Korea or Kuwait than in the U.S. Since 1996 our cesarean section rate has gone from 12% to over 32% while the maternal mortality rate has, over the same period, skyrocketed from 8 to 21 per 100,000 live births. If you are going to give birth in this country, excessive trust can be dangerous.
This blog is a place to share my nurse-midwife’s view of childbearing in America. It is built from questions I have received in my practice over the years, my experiences, research I have read, and wisdom gleaned from other midwives, providers and mothers.