I was invited to DeMontfort University this afternoon, to be part of their initiative to address compassion in childbirth. We watched the lovely film, which was followed by a panel discussion. Shirley Smith (Lead Supervisor of Midwives), Cathy Warwick (Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives), Christina Oppenheimer (Consultant obstetrician in Leicester), Diane Menage (independent midwife) and Mara Tonks (Midwife Manager, UHL) were among the panel. Here are 6 memorable quotes, both from the film itself and from the panel and audience.
1. “When I see a pregnant woman, I always tell her, you are so lucky. You’re about to fall in love” (from the film)
2. “Birth is an intensely private and personal experience” (from the film)
3. “Women are being scared, and women are being scarred” (Shirley Smith)
4. “Women want Choice, Continuity and Control” (Diane Menage)
5. “We all need to get militant” (Rocky May, “we” being midwives, with a view to improving care for women).
6. “We should be proud. And we should be excited” Cathy Warwick, talking about UK midwifery and it’s future.
I learnt a few new things. I learnt that Leicester have gone from having one birth pool which is broken, to having six brand new pools, in the space of a few months. And they are being used! Whoop whoop. I learnt about research which outlines two ways of thinking, or philosophies, which predict the likely-hood that a woman will choose a VBAC over a repeat c-section. One is “motherbirth”, which regards good mothering as being about protecting mother so that mother can protect baby. The other is “childbirth” which regards good mothering as being about sacrificing yourself for the good of your baby. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22169525 You can guess which philosophy leads to which choices, can’t you?
And, once again, I got a taste of how caring and compassionate midwives are, in the face of ever increasing demands and pressure from the government. I have to say, that they are somewhat deluded about how some midwives behave in reality (maybe only a doula or student midwife really gets to see this), but on the whole, British midwives are, indeed, a force to be proud of. Thank-you for the invitation.