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Kate’s Choice – Royalty or not, Mothers Should Have our Support


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.

Fear Prolongs Labor – Childbirth Classes Lessen Those Fears

This article from CNN
“We have a society where sensationalism sells. They’re pounded with information [about] things that can go wrong with childbirth. Of course you develop fears.”

The fear of the unknown can be so powerful. Kitsap Mothers-to-be are no different. They hear horror stories from well-meaning girlfriends and even strangers in the grocery store!

The popularity of reality television adds flame to the fire with the addition of dramatic music and lighting on programs like, “BirthDay” and “One Born Every Minute”  Our community also has the factor of Navy dependents who are often very young, here for only a short time and separated from their families who might do quite a bit to ease the fears if they were nearby.

We know that the tools women gather in prenatal classes alleviate much of the fear of the unknown.Thirty years ago, most expectant mothers attended birthing classes. She learned how the changes in her body meant baby was healthy and growing, how baby receives nutrition by the foods mother consumes.  The signs and symptoms of labor, and what works to reduce discomfort and even the very real pain of contractions once active labor begins.

Upon completion of her birth class series, she had several coping skills for comfort and the confidence to know that labor and birth were a normal and natural function of her body.

We live in a different time. Today’s woman is both expecting a baby *and* busy! She’s much less likely to be a “stay at home partner”  and more likely to work outside the home to contribute to the family finances. Many times this means the couple work different schedules and precious little time off together.

In our area there are limited birthing class choices. Hospital based classes are rigidly scheduled in hopes that most couples can make them work. There are also independent birthing class series which last anywhere from 6-12 long weeks.  These options are just not in the stars for the average busy working family and so too often, birth classes are being sacrificed… and so begins the fear factor.

Independent childbirth educators realize this. We’ve seen the drop in attendance and have been concerned.

One of the newest and best ideas hoping to change the trend is the “Weekend Birth Class Retreat”  A full class series together with one last  romantic getaway for the couple. The couples arrive on a Friday evening and leave *finished*  and confident  on Sunday afternoon without having put a wrinkle in their work schedules. The mothers form bonds with one another and the fathers leave with skills from labor support to diaper changing! Couples replace the fear of the unknown with questions and answers, laughter and friendship.

Dalai Mama Pregnancy Support Services offers this retreat at Cedar Cove Inn twice yearly. November and May