Birth Freedom not Birth Regulation

The elation I felt when I discovered I was pregnant soon turned to worry and concern when it came time to find a care provider.  New to all things pregnancy/birth and in exploring my options, I consulted my family doctor.  I was informed that the thing to do was see an OB and was referred to one 260 km away.  As homebirth was on my radar, I was not comfortable with either the distance I would need to travel or the prospect of seeing an OB for what I believed to be a natural process.

I found information on doulas and midwives and felt that was a better fit for my personal needs and beliefs.  But further research revealed choosing out of hospital support for my birth wasn’t a clear path.  It was fraught with obstacles that boggled my mind and continues to do so!

Although I initially sought out a Registered Midwife (RM), it turned out I didn’t have access to one for my birth.  And since local hospitals don’t “allow” births, my only options were: travel 3 hours to birth in hospital with physician OR birth unassisted.  This is what current legislation forces many women to choose between.

Birthing in hospital went against every cell in my body.  I have suffered abuse in hospitals over the course of my lifetime and simply could not picture myself giving birth there.  There are currently no midwifery options available aside from the RMs hired by health regions.  As dictated by the legislation, the system has effectively made home birth illegal outside of the handful of homebirths with the RMs.

Our own laws are responsible for this!  Violating women’s rights and taking away their desired options in birth is wrong and harmful.  The stress caused by this lack of access to the support I wanted was a needless burden.  More and more studies are showing the harmful and lasting effects stress has on the motherbaby dyad.  The implications to society and our future generations are huge.

And now with this test case the College of Midwives has brought forth, a precedent could be set to further threaten birthing freedoms!? This is unacceptable.

As mothers, we each have the right to choose our care whether it’s provided by MD, OB, RM, lay midwife, independent midwife, traditional birth attendant, or anything else defined by the MOTHER, even if it’s no outside care at all.  Who a woman chooses to be at her birth is HER business.  Get the government out of my uterus!

K. Althouse

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