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& Evolutionary Psychology
"When you consider birth as an involuntary process involving old, mammalian structures of the brain, you set aside the assumption that a woman must learn to give birth. It is implicit in the mammalian interpretation that one cannot actively help a woman to give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily." (Michel Odent)
Obviously, the medical model of birth is not harmonising with this truth.
The movie and TV industry portrayal of birth neither.
There is so much disturbance of the woman, so much intervention.
Birth needs to be demedicalised.
Woman needs to reclaim birth.
We need to re-harmonise with her birth instincts.
See Midwifery for one way forward. Also see Women & Failure.
'The aim of any futuristic birth strategy should be that as many women as possible give birth vaginally, thanks to an undisturbed flow of love hormones. The future of our civilizations is at stake. The essential first step is to improve our understanding of birth physiology and to rediscover the basic needs of women in labour. These basic needs are shared by all mammals. All mammals need to feel secure when giving birth: They postpone the delivery if there is a predator around. All mammals need privacy: They have strategies for avoiding observation during the period surrounding birth. After thousands of years of culturally controlled childbirth, decades of industrialized childbirth and a proliferation of methods of natural childbirth (as if the words method and natural were compatible), these basic needs have been forgotten.' (Michel Odent)
'Skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, uninterrupted breastfeeding and immediate bonding are all ways we can use science to support instinct. The simple actions of lowering one’s voice, moving slowly when approaching, respecting natural lighting, using breath instead of language during contractions, providing warmth, emptying the mind and heart of distraction or fear, nurturing joy, offering plenty to drink and having patience. By observation one can learn to use skills that replace cervical checks, fetal monitoring machines, clocks, tubes that tangle and other things that come from our formal training that do little to improve outcomes, but do lots to disturb birth. The old brain has intelligence that the new brain can learn to trust.' (Sister MorningStar)
'I have found that while some moms are in their hind-brains (as Michel Odent would say), for them, anything that intrudes on their labour... is detrimental. But for others, birth is a social affair—they like interaction. There have been times when I notice the mom starting a contraction and so I stop what I was saying mid-sentence so as not to disturb her, only to be told, “Keep talking. It takes my mind off the pain.” Some women want many hands on, but others need all hands off. I serve my clients, not my agenda. I will be as hands-on or -off as they wish.' (Marlene Waechter)
'The changing culture of medicine is becoming increasingly hyper-specialized, responsive to the imperative of business and technology, and less sensitive to the subjective reality of mother and baby. Lack of compassion may have medical consequences on pregnancy and birth outcomes, simply because mothers have evolved to receive empathic support (Hrdy 2009).' (Antonella Sansone)
'When I told Badri, a Himba mother, that many children in our civilized world are born far before 9 months, even at 6, and many women decide to have a caesarean section (while mimicking the performance on my belly), she showed a quick visceral reaction and facial expression of puzzlement followed by the question, “Why would a woman decide to have her belly cut when there is a straightforward way?” as if I were talking about a different species.' (Antonella Sansone)