Our current approach to maternity is far short of what the minimal for maternity should be. In a society that values mothers, we would see a minimal standard based on compassion, connection and confidence. We would be celebrating and honouring the transformation, and doing everything we could to ensure women transition whole and powerful. We would recognise that Mothering is not the same as parenting (which also matters, but is different), and that the core of our humanity lies in raising up The Mother.
Our current approach is to disconnect from our biology, and to outsource the ‘burden’ that is mothering. Some see the technological ‘advancements’ as freedom. But freedom from what?
Our maternity system reflects society’s attitude towards women, and as such we have a medicalised approach. Increasingly so. The more society slips away from it’s biological reality, the more we slip into a technological dystopia, with an illusion of freedom and choice. We are normalising violence and hyper sexualising ourselves, which is great for capitalism, and a disaster for humanity. Obstetric Violence is a very real problem.
With a focus on convenience, we effectively place women on a conveyor belt. We look for problems, are assign her a risk status (more and more women are assessed as some level of risk). The language we use is coercive, and the goal is compliance. This need to be in control goes beyond the women seeking care. Midwives are also controlled, to the detriment of their own selves as well as those they seek to care for.
it does not have to be this way
It is entirely possible to have a system build on compassion. Compassion for the those being cared for, as well as those doing the caring. We know that continuity of care models benefit both the women and the midwives, and that the connections built improve outcomes for all. This compassion and connection leads to confidence. It means decision making is taking place in a supportive and respectful environment, free of coercion and fear. There are cost savings, long and short term, when we humanise birth. This non-violent approach to maternity not only values women, but values those caring for them. This builds a community, which further enhances our sense of self and belonging. It is not hard to achieve this. We know what we need to do.