Kate’s Choice – An Open Letter to my Fellow Birth Professionals on Cyberbullying
May 2, 2015
I’ve lived and birthed in a time when women were forced to leave their partner in the hospital lobby to labor separated from loved ones who might witness things. Things like mandatory early labor enema, drugs given without informed consent or denial and pubic hair shave. We were put into a metal hospital beds with sides drawn up. Flat on our backs until we were wheeled away to have a surgeon (again without informed consent or denial) cut into our collective perineum.
Birthing in this period of time, at first made me angry. With the passage of time, the anger shifted to hunger for change. It made me who I am in the birth community. It gave me desire to serve. It is why I became a birth professional with empathy for women who choose to walk their own journey, even different from my own.
With the birth of Princess Kate’s baby daughter, I am distressed by some of my birth professional sister’s lack of tolerance.
“Well, so much for the homebirth rumors!” “Can you believe those shoes? What is she thinking wearing heels less than 24 hours postpartum?” Look at her all dressed up. She should be an example so other mother’s won’t feel they have to follow suit!”
I am disturbed by those who feel the need to use social media to publicly shame Princess Kate for her choice of hospital birth and manner of dress as she left the hospital steps.
Kate, with her newborn daughter in arms and her proud husband at her side, beamed with joy. It was a time when this woman was fresh from the accomplishment of her choice and with the innocence of a wide open heart, allowed the world a privilege that could have very well been kept private. She allowed us all to meet her 12 hours old daughter on the front steps of the hospital.
We as birth professionals should know better. We are specialists; trained and respected. Our fundamental core value is –
Doula = Support of women’s choices (not our choices, the woman’s choices)
Midwife = With woman (not against)
The evidence has shown that postpartum depression is often more likely to occur when women feel they’ve failed. Lifting up our sisters to see the good in their pregnancies, labor and birth is a catalyst to empowerment.
To add to the rumors of tabloid toxic soup that is the life of a public figure or any other mother isn’t just wrong but is essentially against our purpose as birth professionals.
How many of us who work with women have witnessed the growth and positive changes that occur with praise? Even just a few words of kindness given can sometimes bring light back to a mother feeling dark.
I would like to urge everyone to keep in mind that all women, not just royalty, need our blessings whether they choose to surgically birth or birth at home. Whether they choose to stay in bed clothes for days after the birth or dress in heels and pearls 24 hours after the birth? Let us honor women and the choices they make regarding their own bodies, births and babymoon time.
In the end colleagues, it really never is all about us or how we would have done it. We serve, we validate. It is my wish that never tear down.
My congratulations go to the Royal Family on the birth of the brand new Princess.
Author: Kendra Machen
Kendra Machen is a Childbirth Educator, LLL Leader and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist in Port Orchard WA. She has 4 sons, 1 daughter and 6 grandchildren. She feels privileged to serve all women and their varied choices in birth and postpartum.