Call to Action to Mothers-to-be
September 18, 2011
Sean, one of my youngest cousins was married this weekend to his lovely girlfriend Shauna. It was a wonderful big Irish Catholic Boston wedding with lots of gregarious New Englanders.
I remember babysitting Sean when he was a baby – I think I was about 19. Sean is the youngest of four siblings. I know that they were all born vaginally and that the younger three were all breastfed.
At their wedding I spied at least five pregnant women. I wanted to grab the mic from the DJ and call them and all the young women to a young women’s empowerment circle.
Women having babies today are up against a new wave of disempowerment around birth. Birth centers are closing and any little problem puts you in a “high risk” category of lots of monitoring of pregnancy. The Caesarean rate in this country is creeping toward 50%. Of those women at the wedding, at least three will give birth surgically. I doubt any of them will have the “permission” to allow their baby to remain inside for 42 weeks. There will be pressure to induce which will lead to a series of complications and fear for the new parents. All of this intervention leads to breastfeeding challenges.
To all pregnant women and women considering pregnancy I encourage you to empower yourself with knowledge. Find what is normal. Ask what you would like for yourself.. For your baby.
Read some good books. Create a birth plan. Meet a midwife. Interview more than on ObGyn. Go to La Leche League Meetings. Watch birth videos. Hire a Labor Support Doula.
I dream of a future where birth is a normal empowering part of life and where breastfeeding is commonly seen. I worry about the young families today. I challenge you to make a difference, to challenge the status quo.
I hope Sean and Shauna’s babies and all their friends have the same opportunity that Sean did to be born normally and to be fed normally.