About again

I AM A WOMAN

I am a woman
Soon to be a mother
I have not had a good life
Most people see past me
In labour I went for help
They sent me away
I couldn’t cope
I took something to ease the pain
When I went back
They took my baby
I had no one
No one cared
My birth was not on my terms
I miss my baby
Are you listening?

I am a woman
Soon to be a mother
I heard stories
Grandmothers took care of daughters
Daughters gave birth in community
Generations past born here
I wanted to birth in community
They said no
You must leave
I birthed alone
No one with me
Alone
I went home
I wanted to be home
Can you hear me?

I am woman
Soon to be a mother
I am new here
Things are different
My family is far away
They said it would be better
To have surgery
To pull my baby out
I listened
I let them
I didn’t understand
No one looked at me
I don’t know what happened
I am alone
Are you listening?

I am a woman
Soon to be a mother
I am young
My friends have left me
No one told me what to do
They don’t listen to what I want
I know my body
I feel my baby
I am to scared to talk
They talk over me
They talk through me
My baby is here
I need help
I am alone
Can you hear me?

I am a woman
Soon to be a mother
I know deep down
What my baby needs
Where my baby wants to be born
I search
They say I am much to far
To be alone
They cannot help
My baby was born
On the road
Birth happened
My baby was fine
But I was not
Are you listening?

We are women
We live
We laugh
We love
We birth
We are women
We know who we need
We know what we want
We know when we should
We know where we are
We are women
We are strong
We are smart
We are passionate
We are together
Can you hear us now?

-WM,2017

Mandala Painting – Womens Circle Mandala by Jean Fry

I can sit on my hands

She said the words and it made all the difference, I knew she meant it. I was in a doctors office again, jumping doctors 20 weeks into my pregnancy because I wanted to be closer to my rural home and I needed better understanding from my doctor on my history that makes me fearful of hospitals. She asked about this pregnancy and about my previous “spontaneous home birth”. I felt guilty saying it but in some ways it was the truth. I had delivered my own baby; I gave birth to my son.


She kept saying this thing that all doctors seem to say and I don’t even think she knew what it meant. “I deliver babies like this” and “when I deliver your baby”. No one delivered my baby but me, on my hands and knees by my own power. I wasn’t alone like I made her believe but I was the one who did it. Hands off, no checks, the fan droning in the back ground and the lights down low, in my home. I had a traditional birth attendant and she did what I expected. What was that exactly?

She checked me after I delivered for tears (there were none). She checked my son and made sure he was pinking up nicely. She asked me questions about if I had to urinate because my placenta wasn’t delivering. Before that all happened, during the active labour?

She had a nap, she visited with me and my doula, she brought a general sense of calm and safety to the whole household. After I passed through the veil, I’m not sure; those memories are soft and blurred at the edges. I remember talking to my doula lots, getting into a shower, bouncing on a ball and saying only “hot” and “cold”. I wonder what sitting on her hands looks like for a doctor? I would like to believe it would look a lot like it did with my birth attendant in my home, where she truly respected my space and understood my birthing process, better than I probably did at the time. Would she be able to stand back?

Sure, there would be things that were different: the location, the lights and beeps. The doctor tells me I can bring my own music, my pajamas or a birthing pool. The doctor says no vaginal checks by nurses if I don’t want them, anyone that does without consent, it’s abuse; she says it out loud, she knows it to be true. Really it sounds like a hospital birth that even a sexual abuse survivor like me could stand. Doesn’t every woman deserve that birth though?

I want that truly. But we are still getting reports and stories that hospitals are harassing women for the consent in tubal ligation–birth trauma and interventions are still on the rise. She says it will be her and not someone random with three students clung to them passing through the doors to “deliver” my baby. She is worried about nuchal cord and can’t believe I birthed my 8 pound 9oz son by myself. She says it again, you delivered him by yourself, I just can’t believe that! How could I go to a hospital and believe that she will respect me?

When people said motherhood was a battle, and juxtaposition, they never said it started before birth. Always wanting the information and support but being shut out of corners to find the information you seek. Fighting for the birth you want and then fighting for a birth at all. Either which way you will have a baby but who will be in fall out? So much harm can be done in the moments in labour but only now are they only being kind of addressed. I want to trust the doctor and believe that she means every word, that she respects my body autonomy. I’m not about the gamble though; I will plan my home birth and “accidently” give birth at home again, “alone”. I can’t risk it, going to a hospital that is. I can’t risk being stripped to “well at least you had a healthy baby”. I’ve fought so hard in my life, through my pregnancies for support, through abuse and the daily challenges everyone else faces. I deserve my body autonomy, it’s my rights… but here I am in 2017 still fighting to claim it in every corner of my life. I am not the only one, I am one face of thousands of women trying to be talked out of tying their tubes, getting birth control or getting the birth they want. Thousands of women across the country being told that only regulated professional can be at their births or that they aren’t allowed to eat during labour.

“It isn’t policy”, the more I hear this, the harder it becomes, the more I hate it and it’s not maybe for the reasons you think. I took some parenting classes and one of the insights I really liked was making a rule and enforcing it not so that you are the bad parent but by simply throwing your hands up and saying “that’s the rule”. There is no argument there; it’s the rule, end of story. You don’t take the blame, even if they ask “well who made that rule?” “That’s the rule of our house”, now the “house” is the blame. “It’s policy” is the female body patrolling equivalent. It works for everything, facts or not, whether someone has disproved the “science” years ago. “Women will give birth on their backs, it’s policy”, “women aren’t allowed to eat during birth, it’s policy”, “women before 30 or who haven’t had their first child or don’t have their partners consent can’t have their tubes tied, it’s policy”. And so on, and so on, and so on! Until you are a reproductive mule for the state, until all the autonomy you ever thought you had was taken by arbitrary policies of a broken system, that pits women against each other. I hear the words from her again “I would just rather delivery your baby in hospital.” I smile “Of course, having all those freedoms, that’s not like giving birth in the city at all, to bring my own music and reject vaginal exams from nurses, I would feel better in that kind of setting.”

Her body languages changes, she shifts her arms, “Let’s hear the heart beat then!” I have placated her, I have her “approval”, and I’m a “good girl” again, back to being just another “cute pregnant women”. She doesn’t believe it but I’m plotting my freedom still, in the dark bedroom, with a fan and on my hands and knees I will bring fourth the next generation. I have my work cut out for me out I’m determined to install the right we are promised at birth of autonomy in my children, so this won’t be their fight. I want to break this cycle for all women, for today and tomorrow. I hear the heart beat and I am optimistic for this person I’m growing and for myself.

A. Charles

Wild Roots

Giving birth is one of the first conscious acts of Mothering. There are others, to be sure: conception and prenatal health are big ones, as well. But none are quite so managed, or as political as birth. As a mother, I found that giving birth under my own authority created a pattern that continues as my children grow. Mothering is instinctual, but it can be pretty damn heavy at times. I search my soul for answers about how to foster a healthy, happy childhood for my babies. Often, the answers that come are not what the mainstream has decided champion. That’s ok with me. And that peace began with making a different choice way back at the beginning; at their births. Choosing to give birth to them the way I wanted to, the way I felt comfortable, was imperative. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say it changed my life. I found a inner power that I was unaware I possessed. I am more self-aware, more self-assured, more self-loved than I was before I made autonomous choices about my children’s births. Giving birth was a catalyst for a shift in me, and I believe it is meant to do just that. Birth is not simply about bringing forth a child. It also brings forth the mother; an awakened woman. Women are remembering this. Legislation attempts to keep birth from returning to its wild roots, but we remember.

Emily Graham

Lottery of Guilt

I didn’t think much of it when I called to get on the list for the second time in my life for the midwives. Un-like the first time, the second time the lady on the phone was lovely. She helped with all my questions and went over the process with me.  She explained that although I wanted a home birth it was too far for the midwives to come to my town (an hour away), that I would have to borrow a room form a friend or rent something as some women did in Saskatoon.

Two parts of this were strange to me: first, that it was acceptable for me, a pregnant woman, to travel the hour to birth and second, that if I was to give birth in the hospital in my home town, if they thought they couldn’t “manage” my birth, they would put me in an ambulance and drive me to Saskatoon anyway. She also advised that even though I had just found out I was pregnant that week, there were 42 other women on the list for midwives and that they only had 24 spots for January babies. She spoke of the positions and how the midwives would make sure it was “fair” one new mom here, one second birth, maybe a vbac at the hospital (and only at the hospital).

I took the information and thought nothing of it. Not only is it pretty unlikely that I should get this midwife–the dreamed of care for 42 other women who just peed on sticks–but I want to give birth at home, MY home. Immediately I started planning on reneging my spot should I get the call. I was voicing these thoughts to a very good friend of mine when she blurted out “screw that guilt!”  Surprised to say the least I asked her to elaborate. She talked of all the guilt that women have because of the system– mom guilt from the time of conception, like: “How dare you win the birth lottery and in doing so deny another woman the superior care of a midwife and then not take that seriously!”  “how dare you refuse care.” “how dare you choose the birth that fits you best”.

I asked myself these questions and let them swirl around. I am happy with my birth and I made informed decisions, I consider myself a challenge for people who just want to gloss over details and say things like “well that’s the way we have always done it”. It struck me. For all of this information and knowledge and ability I was part of the cycle of mom guilt.

I am entitled equal care. So is the woman down the street or the mother in northern Saskatchewan or right inside the city. There should be no different ways to view these people. If we all want the same care that is what we should be provided. Why should some “blessed lottery” give me my expected care and in doing so deprive another mother? What kind of system pits women against each other like that? I was saddened by this and bewildered at my own response to the feelings I was having. I shouldn’t feel guilty, having a midwife is truly what I want but maybe a registered midwife isn’t the best choice for me. 42 other women seem to think it is the choice for them and I’m sure many other women that don’t even bother to make the call and get on the list. How sad that only 24 women be “accepted” into the program, leaving so many others to find their own way or be corralled into “approved care”.

How sad that should I get a midwife I would feel guilty. How sad that there are no options for other traditional birth attendants. How sad it is to be a mother or a women in 2017 in Canada. How sad to have to play this lottery of guilt against women I want to see succeed.

A. Charles

Be part of the change!

Mothers In Action Canada (MIAC) is taking action to make real change for the women of the world today–and for the future. We are organized, determined and passionate about birth choices. We have been kickstarted into action because there is a case before the courts that will set precedent in Saskatchewan. The SK Midwifery Challenge has been the catalyst to set MIAC in to motion and while it is our first action, it won’t be our last.

Why is this case so important? The answer is: if precedent is set in Saskatchewan, it will affect the rights of women in all of Canada—sending ripples throughout the world.

It is up to the courts to decide whether or not the defendant is found guilty or innocent. That has no bearing on MIACs involvement in the case. This is a unique opportunity to set in motion the process to change legislation.

MIAC’s aim is to receive ‘intervener status” with this case. The only way to get intervener status is to have a case already in motion (we do, read our FAQs) and to file to the court for status. What that means: we could act as a third party to the case if given status. We are simply trying to step in and say: “Wait a minute, this legislation violates human rights and needs to be looked at and changed.” It is then up to the court to decide what they will do with both the legislation challenge and the accused. 

MIAC is currently raising funds for our up and coming court date. We do not yet know if we will receive intervener status, but need to raise the funds in order to file by May 9th. If we do receive intervener status, we will be fundraising for the next step in this legal case, which is supporting evidence that this does in fact violate human rights. There are a lot of parallels with our case and other human rights issues such as abortion laws, the right to freedom of culture and religion, the right to choose self-care, and other feminist movements. IF we receive intervener status, this could be HUGE. It could get the national attention we so need to make the public more aware of these issues.

We are asking for your support. If you are interested in being a part of the change, please let us know. Memberships are coming in from all over Canada! Become a member today. If you can contribute financially to our cause, please visit our Go Fund Me page. If you have already contributed, thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

If you can pass on the message that we are tying to create change and more options for women, we encourage you to do so. Be part of the change!

Women of the world: we have been quiet too long.

It appears as though we have a few problems. We have always been told what to do, how to look and who to please. When it comes to mothering, it seems it may be harder than ever with so many choices and so much judgment. It may be hard to choose what to do, because no matter what you do, you are always worried about what others will think. These “Mommy wars” are a real thing and instead of bringing people together and lifting each other up, we are tearing each other down and degrading the right to choose freely how we receive and give care.

One of the choices so readily scrutinized is the way in which we give birth. Right from the get go of pregnancy, we make choices: do we stop drinking herbal tea, eating undercooked eggs and stop changing our cat litter boxes, or not? or somewhere in between? Regardless of what we choose, someone will make an effort to tell us it is wrong, or right, or whatever. What you choose the first time may not even be the same as what you choose the second time! The bottom line is: it is your choice! Just as it is your choice in whom you decide to have by your side in pregnancy, birth and post-partum. It has always been this way…. Or has it? 

The actions of Saskatchewan’s government in health care (also reflected worldwide) are regulating pregnancy, birth and post partum choices. They are slowly but steadily making it illegal for our care providers to give us care, especially if we choose not to receive care within a regulated body. Meaning: if you chose to receive care from any unregulated practice, those care providers could be charged. We then have to ask ourselves if we want to put our care providers in that kind of hot water, or if we should just ‘obey’ the rules that our health care ‘professionals’ put before us? Unregulated care providers aren’t ‘just’ traditional midwives and doulas (both birth doulas and post-partum). The list of unregulated practitioners is long: massage therapists, acupuncturists, yoga instructors, birth educators, lactation educators, and the list goes on and on

Why should we let them take our choices away from us? I don’t think we should. And I don’t think that deep down you think we should either. Just because you and I chose to care for ourselves one way, it doesn’t mean our daughters, sisters, cousins, friends, aunts, or other women will make the same choice as us. Doesn’t their choice matter just as much as our own? Know that if we stand idly by, these choices will be taken from us. We have been quiet for too long. 

Please don’t let our rights be taken away. Our choices may not always be the same, but at least we can respect our individual right to make those choices.  

The time is now!

–Hallie M.