by Bill McCracken
People say that Leilah seems to be on some kind of self-edification crusade to press her views on the rest of the world… and that is a correct assumption to make. Only through her finally experiencing a free and natural birth has her own awareness to the misguided plight of institutional birthing women become actualized, and she has she began to speak up- and for this I applaud her. Yes, Leilah writes in a very personal way- her openness, frankness, and honesty is what is making other women open up and tell their stories. All in an effort to help heal birth and to educate the unwary before these thing can happen to them. This was why “Birth Love” was created.
And as a result of the work that she has done, many women around the world have begun to speak up and start to question the medical system about childbirth. As I always told Leilah, her hospital births were nothing compared to what many women are subjected to in a hospital birth- many of the stories that have been forwarded to her bear the true extent of the exploitative birthing model the medical profession subscribes to. Now, thanks to Leilah’s work, women are only just beginning to believe their birthing experiences even matter- for many this is too late. Often, women tell her their painful birth stories, only to apologize for even talking about it afterwards; believing that it is not that important, blindly believing that this the way it is and accepting it. Falsely believing that the dehumanization and humiliation that they went through was childbirth- after all, they ended up having a healthy baby.
So many women have such bad births because when they are admitted into hospitals, they sign away all rights to their own bodies. Getting the baby out, in any way, is considered the hospital’s primary objective. And hospitals do it very well. So well that women are made to think that their own health and enjoyment of the birth process doesn’t matter, that a healthy baby at the end of it all is all that matters. In two of my six births doctors even said to me that even if my wife died by the end of the births, but I had healthy babies, that I should consider myself a lucky man- that the ends justified the means. And this is why women suffer so much in institutionalized birthing: because they don¹t matter as much as the bouncing babies at the end of it all.
There are some very good people in the medical profession. The problem is that there are very few of them. The majority of medical professionals believe that childbirth should treated like an assembly line process and that the process is more important than the people. And even though mothers and babies are hurt as a result of the process, no one knows how much it hurts fathers to see their wives be wounded in such an incredibly invasive way… We are not domesticated cattle (mind you from what I’ve seen, they seem to receive better medical treatment than we do). I saw the way in which they extracted our second baby out of my wife¹s belly nine years ago, and I still feel the inner rage build when I think of the pain my wife went through, and how my son only wanted to be with his mother and nurse just after he was born- but was delayed by how long it took to sew and staple her up before they could finally bond. I was left shackled and bound, incapable of helping either of them. The doctors and nurses were ushering me around making me feel like an unwelcome intruder at the birth of my own child.
What gets my ire the most is the deception that they swayed us into believing- that my son was a Frank breech, which- according to many- is the easiest kind of breech to deliver vaginally. Before we consented to having the section the OB had told us that he was in a transverse lie- this was the main reason we went with
the c-section in the first place. We only found out about the true nature of the breech when we summoned Leilah’s medical records eight years after the birth. For more good reading you should summon your own medical records and see what the medical profession had to say about you- Leilah’s records provided us with many hours of interesting reading.
The c-section was not without incident either- but at least I was able to help Leilah avoid a general anesthetic. After four failed attempts at trying to use an epidural catheter, I suggested using a spinal. Epidurals ones didn’t work on Leilah- but all the doctors all thought it was a crazy idea until it worked! At least I was able to do that much for her.
Doctors must learn restraint and to leave birth alone. It is not their job to meddle in this most personal and private event. I want all medical birth “professionals” to know that fathers are tired of seeing their wives needlessly interfered with by doctors and nurses in childbirth, and our tolerance and blind acceptance of this behavior is growing very thin. These are our lovers and our most intimate friends, delivering OUR babies, and sharing in OUR births… the time is coming where fathers will unite to stand up for their rights as the loving protectors of childbirth.
I have grown very weary from listening to the “Birthing Experts”, and their superior egocentric view of childbirth. I normally reserve my thoughts and opinions as they are very personal and private things, but- doctors, nurses, midwives, medwives- you must all change your views of childbirth. Childbirth is a most sacred event that is shared between two individuals, as such you must respect it. As you all may know, I have had six children with Leilah, and to the best of my recollection I don’t ever remember anyone being
present when we were enjoying the intimate encounter that started us on any of our six journeys. I don’t remember doctors or nurses scurrying in and out of our bedroom taking our temperature, or hooking us up to some monitoring device to see how we were progressing- it is just a fact of life- it happens! During the pregnancy we were also left pretty much on our own- enduring to subjection of the occasional medical checkup, and that was it. Then comes the birth and everything gets thrown into a whirlwind of unreality.
Birth, as in the act of procreating, is a very sensual and erotic experience. Birth is a fact of life, and it is going to happen in its own way, and under its own power. It is the ultimate culmination of human
sexuality and sensuality. It is something that is to be shared intimately between the loving partners- without any interference from outside parties- it must be allowed to ripen and blossom on it’s own- naturally! So for my next birth there will be no one to rob me of being a part of and experiencing MY birth the way it was intended to be experienced. This is not to say that we will not take preventative measures in case of an emergency- but next time no one will interfere- no doctor, nurse, midwife- no one period! Birth is a fact of life- not a late twentieth century medical marvel.
I don’t openly share my thoughts or feelings with people. I’m a very private person- my deepest opinions I share only rarely, even with my wife. So what I’m saying here may be a surprise to everyone- even to her…
BIO: Bill McCracken is one of the co-founders and developers of the BirthLove Web site. The site was set up in 1999 by Leilah McCracken to raise awareness of the plight of women and childbirth in North America.
It has since evolved into a sounding board for women on an international level- raising public awareness to the need of the immediate restoration of women’s rights in the choices for childbirth: the right to choose how, with whom, where, and when we give birth is the inalienable right of the mother and partner, and not that of government nor medical institutions.
SADLY THIS SITE IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL WHICH IS A LOSS TO WOMEN AND FAMILIES GLOBALLY BUT BILL IS STILL A ADVOCATE FOR NATURAL CHILD BIRTH.
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