Still savoring the experience
by Adriana Lozada
It looks like this: 3 days each made up of 4 concurrent talks jam-packed with amazing information, given by even more amazing birth/baby/parenting
junkies experts. Like who?, you ask. Take a look:
- James McKenna (mother-infant co-sleeping)
- Jack Newman, Diane Wiessinger, and Teresa Pitman (breastfeeding)
- Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (breastfeeding; sexual trauma on childbearing women; breastfeeding)
- Stephanie MacDonald (aboriginal midwifery; breastfeeding)
- Rivka Cymbalist (doula)
- Robbie Davis-Floyd (anthropological context)
- Christopher Guest (male circumcision)
- Alla Vallejo and Amy Joy Harrison (nutrition)
- Carol Peat and Melissa Krawecki (infant loss)
- Jodi Hall (accepting your experiences)
- Peter Kapogianes (chiropractic care)
It looks at how the Whole Mess of Everything comes together in that transformative life experience that is called birth. How all the threads–breastfeeding, laboring, birthing, doula-ing, midwife-ring, sleeping, eating, living, dying, and even not chopping off a piece of your son’s penis–are interconnected. They all influence each other. They all matter.
By the way, even though Christopher gave compelling and very well researched arguments against all the usual reasons that are given in favor of circumcision (health, cultural, I-want-my-boy-to-look-like-me), all he really had to do was show us a video of a baby being circumcised. Thanks for that. That should be required viewing before requesting one be done.
Below is a compendium of a few of the “nuggets” that I gathered while at the conference:
- “Every woman in this room: you have the best pelvis that evolution has gotten to.”
- “Stop and start, up and down, back and forth; this is what is normal in births. It’s not pathological.”
- “Childbirth is a normal, natural, elimination process in the body.”
- “80% of all medical malpractice suits involve obstetrics.”
- “Why do you go to a hospital instead of doctor’s office to be induced? Because it’s dangerous.”
- “Ask struggling, laboring mom: what would happen if you surrendered to this instead of fighting it?”
- “Circumcision, it’s the most brutal fucking thing we’ve ever seen.”‘
- “Babies do not have wants, they have needs”.
- “Babies are contact seekers, that’s their job in order to be healthy.”
- “It’s been very destructive trying to convince moms that they know nothing.”
Ina May Gaskin:
- “TV has (wrongly) shown us that panic and fear are appropriate in the birth setting”.
- “The fight or flight response is opposite to the baby-having response”.
- “You ought to be multiplying doulas like rabbits. Every nurse who wants to work in labor & delivery should also go through a doula training.”
- Posterior position? “Send mom home to crawl.”
- “The furniture in the labouring room doesn’t need to dictate the positions a mom should go into.”
- “Animals don’t forget about gravity for birth. It’s “civilised” people who do.”
- “Slow crowning saves stitches.”
- “Difficult births can sometimes push you past what you know.”
- Let’s just try to forget there´s such a thing as progress. Let’s be mammals.”
- “I think nipple shields should be banned!”
- “The myth: through technology we will transcend every challenge that nature places upon us.”
- “In the hospital, to be naked is to claim the space as your own.”
- “If you intervene at the energy level, you don’t have to intervene physically.”
- From an OB in Brazil: “Midwives should be doing births. Doctors should be saved for pathology.”
- “Promotion of breastfeeding is not the same as preparing to breastfeeding. Knowing why is not the same as knowing how.”
- “If the first thing we try doesn’t work, it’s ok. We’ll try something else.”
- “Nipple shields don’t solve anything. They are not an answer, they are a tool”.
- “Prevention is better than reaction.”
- “Treat each person outside of assumptions.”
At the end of each day, Q&A panelists were asked to come up with a closing “billboard” phrase. Here’s what they said:
- James McKenna: “Parents, trust yourselves and your own knowledge of your own infant.”
- Jack Newman: “Breastfeeding is more than milk.”
- Diane Wiessinger: “Normal is the control group.”
- Kathleen Kendall-Tackett: “Early disease deprivation begins with reducing early toxic stress.”
- Teresa Pitman: ” Trust your baby. Trust yourself.”
- Rivka Cymbalist: “Love each other.”
- Christopher Guest: “Make sure you are convinced of the choice you are making. Don’t follow blindly.”
- Robbie Davids-Floyd: “Trust your intuition” (and quoting Lonnie Morris “Women of Earth, take back birth.”)
- Gloria Lemay: “Don’t ever let anyone induce you.”
- Ina May Gaskin: “Take a deep breath.”
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