I recently attended the Homebirth Conference in
Dublin, which was as well organised as it was attended – over 300
people. The Home Birth Association of Ireland is celebrating 30 years of
supporting mothers and midwives! One thing that really struck me was the
genuine warmth of all the delegates and speakers. The keynote speaker
was Ina May Gaskin. She is an inspiring woman, who at the age of 73,
still works tirelessly to promote natural birth and birth rights.
The other thing that struck me was sad
really, it seems there is a growing trend to outlaw home birth in
Ireland. This is reflected in many different countries where a woman’s
right to choose how and where and with whom, she gives birth, is being
eroded. This fundamental right is being taken away, under our noses and
mothers and midwives are being persecuted in many countries.
Giving birth has been medicalised to an
extent where women are sometimes afraid to trust their own bodies.
Independent midwives are being forced out of their profession by various
governments introducing legislation effectively outlawing the practice,
which has been statistically proven to have consistently better outcomes
for mother and baby than comparable hospital outcomes. Birth should not
be something that is routinely and actively managed in a clinical
setting according to timetables. Neither should birth be treated like a
disease and dictated by health authorities and obstetrics. Hospital
births are great if a woman feels supported in her choice, it should
never be her only choice.
Ina May spoke of our need to fight for our
rights as women and mothers, for our right to give birth how and where
we choose, and to be supported in our choices. She even suggested
getting the older members of society out, with the message "We
don't want our grandchildren born in fear."
And Robin Lim said in a recent interview,
“It’s a human rights issue which really needs to be brought up. In
the U.S. where they spend the most on childbirth technology, they are
number 50 in maternal mortality. It’s safer to give birth in 49 other
countries which spend less money and have more woman-appropriate models
and culture-appropriate models.”
Another report coming soon from the Human Rights in
Childbirth conference in The Hague.