Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thinking differently

Worldwide Maternal Mortality (source: click here)


•Women in poor nations are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy complications than those in the developed world.

UNICEF Chief of Health Dr. Peter Salama on maternal mortality:
"It’s really an unconscionable number of deaths. It’s a human tragedy on a massive scale."
I attended a talk yesterday given by a researcher in Thailand, on the topic of maternal and neonatal health in South East Asia.

The graph above was shown in the first slide, and it sent chills all over my body.

We all know that women and babies around the world are dying - in large numbers. But it's not too often brought home in such a graphic way. The developing countries are bloated - the worst of the bunch in blood red. The image I conjure up in my head is heartbreaking.

I spend so much time thinking about healthy birth - promoting doula care, educating my clients on healthy birth practices, and lamenting our medical system - that I often forget that modern medical care saves lives.

I'm not trying to retract my previously stated beliefs/values/viewpoints. And I'm not going to bow down before our healthcare system in an apology - I still feel that we have gone too far forward. We have forgotten what the basic needs of women in childbirth are. We are preventing women from being powerful, instinctual and in control.

And yet a lack of proper medical care also takes away power - in a final, never-go-back kind of way.

This talk reminded me that there are interventions out there that are medically sound, and these are examples of good evidence-based practice; something the majority of women in this world are missing out on.

When I look at that skinny strip of North America, I suddenly feel chastised - into thinking that a rejection of modern care is somehow a powerful personal statement. A stick-it-to-the-man kind of mentality.

This talk has moved me forward into thinking about birth and infant health in a different way. It's not about "us vs. them." It's not about the home vs. hospital birth, or the OB vs. midwifery model of care. It's about powerful women, healthy women, strong women. It's about bringing babies into the world in a kind, gentle and healthy way. And without medical care, and good quality research, none of this will ever be achieved.

A woman is the full circle.
Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform
~ Diane Mariechild ~


  1. You are growing as a doula, little grasshopper :-)
    There is a balance. It is not so cut and dry. Great post.

  2. aw, I'm a grasshopper! :o) Thanks Julie


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