Birth Matters: The Latest Book from Midwife Ina May Gaskin

In my recent response to the editor about an article published in Clinician Review (which, by the way, still remains unanswered), I discussed my beliefs on why more than just pregnant women, and the birth workers with whom they interact, ought to care about pregnancy and birth.  Last week, during a long drive home beside the barely-thawing Yellowstone River, I discussed this same issue with a dear doula friend of mine:  birth has got to matter to more than just those of us working in this field, and the women we tend to.

And so, hackles still raised, I am particularly refreshed to see Ina May Gaskin has released yet another book, entitled Birth Matters, which apparently discusses just this issue:  why does and should childbirth matter to the whole of our human species…not just an isolated segment of us?

To read a lovely interview with Gaskin about her new book, check out what Babble posted recently.

To you, the reader:
*Why does the issue of childbirth matter to you?  *Who else do you think needs to be apart of this ongoing dialog?
**I challenge each and every reader of this post to forward it onto one person who might not otherwise be drawn to frequently thinking and talking about birth.

Birth matters to all of us–whether we think so or not, whether our work lives bring us adjacent to childbirth or not–because it affects all of us in one way or another.

Posted by:  Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE

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  1. March 29th, 2011 at 16:09 | #1

    Just a note for fellow Ina May fans who are in the Seattle area in early May — Ina May will be speaking at Town Hall, presenting at the Midwives of Washington State conference, helping to celebrate the opening of Center for Birth (a new freestanding birth center), and leading a walk on Alki celebrating International Day of the Midwife — lots of opportunities to meet her and care about birth! http://www.inamayinseattle.org/

    (Disclosure: I’m on the board of MAWS but have no financial stake in her visit.)

  2. March 29th, 2011 at 16:53 | #2

    Wonderful…thank you for sharing, Elias!

  3. March 30th, 2011 at 22:37 | #3

    Its an interesting topic, one that I have thought on a bit.

    My feeling is that it really matters to people who it matters to, but doesn’t have to matter so much to everyone. The idea that one group feels the need to make it matter for everyone feels very much like a proselytizing religion to me, which turns me off a bit.

  4. March 31st, 2011 at 10:21 | #4

    @ Nicholas Fogelson: My assessment of birth mattering to “everyone,” when looked at through a microscopic lens, becomes more of a pointing out the obvious, than proselytizing.

    When medical procedures related to childbirth drive up the overall cost of maternity care–prompting health insurance companies to hike premiums to cover these costs–it becomes a matter that more than just expectant families have to deal with. When a woman experiences a birth-related injury or illness that prompts her to call her own mother or mother-in-law to take time off work so that she can come help with the older children while the birth mother recovers–more than just the birth family is affected. When a woman suffers from post-cesarean scar endometriosis to the point she is taking off several days of work a month due to her excessive pain, her employer suffers in lost employee productivity and, perhaps, the woman (no longer considered a maternity care patient anymore) suffers in lost wages. When a woman dies in childbirth, it is not only her immediate family that loses out, but her surrounding community: her neighborhood loses a neighbor, her employer loses and employee, her friends lose a friend, her parents lose a daughter, her church loses a parishioner. Until we, as a culture, can accept the micro-nature of this issue, and then zoom back out to a macroscopic lens, and agree that birth really does matter to “everyone,” we will continue to view these poorly-acknowledged losses as regrettable, isolated events.

  5. March 31st, 2011 at 12:50 | #5

    Very timely subject. I have decided to build upon this post in my April newsletter. I found the doctors statement quite fascinating. When women are dying from brain aneurysms after birth, Birth Matters; when the infant mortality rate is sky high in communities of color, Birth Matters; when women cannot choose the type of healthcare provider they want for prenatal care or at their birth because the insurance companies won’t cover them, Birth Matters; when chronic illness and obesity increase the risk of pregnancies driving up health care costs, Birth Matters. The simple fact that a child is born into our communities and into the world, Birth Matters. Perhaps we should all stop caring and see just how much Birth Matters then.

  6. April 1st, 2011 at 07:32 | #6

    @Kimmelin Hull
    Birth certainly matters to all in the sense that it is part of health care, which affects us all.

  7. avatar
    April 7th, 2011 at 21:42 | #7

    As I read about yet another young woman who is clinging to life after complications stemming from a “routine” cesarean, who may not live, who’s child may be mother-less, I have to wonder who could possibly ask if birth (how it happens, whether it’s safe or traumatic) DOESN’T matter?

    I asked my mother (in her 60s) recently if she knew anyone who died in childbirth? No. Only stories handed down in the family from a long time ago. She said if it wasn’t for my work with birth, she wouldn’t know that women are dying today either. I know of many deaths. I know of a death in my own very small community. Women are dying from our culture’s childbirth practices at a much higher rate than anywhere else in the industrialized world. And all over the world in developing countries, women are dying from preventable causes. We could do so much better here, and there. God bless Ina May for bringing this discussion up, over and over, when mostly people just don’t care to hear it. If birth doesn’t matter to you, I guess your daughter, your wife, your mother don’t matter much either.

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