Today I was caught by the front cover page of Time magazine of a naked mother with her newborn baby titled The Goddess Myth. The article was a rant on the societal pressures that are put on women these days to be supermom and go it “all natural” for the benefit of the baby. There are examples of mothers who have tried to have natural births and ended up with a cesarean or who tried to breastfeed exclusively and ended up using formula or who had repeated miscarriages and these women were burdened with intense feelings of failure and shame for not measuring up to give their babies all they hoped to be able to.
The article talked about how when you’re pregnant there’s an “expert” around every corner telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. As mom’s we want to do what’s best for our babies and we also want to fit into society, to please and be accepted. These are very strong needs of ours.
The article was a bit harsh in bashing the breast is best movement and co-sleeping and natural births as though they could actually be more harmful than helpful. I did, however like one thing said at the end and that is our need to support each other as women even when our paths differ, to talk about our failures and realize there are no failures.
There are no failures because the birth you have is the birth you are meant to have. We can prepare for the ideal birth and for when things do not go as planned as much as we can. In the end we are not the ones in charge or the ones in control. We are not meant to be at the mercy of every well-intended expert out there either. Birth is one of those rites of passage that brings a woman to the depths of who she is and she ultimately makes the choices she deems fit. I urge you to make your choices carefully based on the best research yet ultimately, I beseech you to search your heart and your womanly instincts and stand true to who and what you believe is the best for you, your baby and your partner and let everyone else fall onto the wayside.
This is what the inner Goddess is. It’s NOT the woman who did it all “perfect” or “all natural”. The Goddess is the woman who knows and stands for what she knows is right for her and for the highest good of her own family. The inner Goddess has no desire to conform to societal pressures, nor does she give her power away to shame. Even if that means a cesarean, or formula or time alone or a hospital birth. She knows there is no failure because there is grace in every experience and every experience is growth and evolution and every experience is perfect and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Let’s stop the shame. Let’s stop judging other’s choices and experiences. Let’s stop beating ourselves up for not measuring up to arbitrary “perfect” standards. We will have more room for the love and support that we really need to be giving and sharing and more love to receive our babies with. We can all use a lot more love.
Even in 2017, women’s consent rights in childbirth are disturbingly unclear to the professionals and institutions delivering their medical care. One aspect is the idea of “implied consent”–a concept mischaracterized by hospitals to a number of women who have contacted me, and sometimes used to justify violations of their dignity and rights.
Specifically, when these women have complained to their hospitals about receiving one or more non-consented or forced procedures in birth, they were told that their explicit consent was not necessary because they had a) agreed to be admitted to the hospital or b) signed blanket consent forms giving the medical staff permission to treat them. Sometimes these hospitals refer to this, erroneously, as “implied consent.” The idea is that once the women were admitted or signed those forms, they should no longer have had the expectation that the care team must obtain consent for each procedure during treatment–including medication, surgical cuts, and procedures performed on and through the vagina–but, rather, expect that the care team had the authority to administer whatever treatment they chose for the duration of that patient’s labor or hospital stay. Put another way, from the perspective of the hospital, these women had forfeited their rights to informed consent and refusal in order to give birth in their facilities.
Julia Oliphant completed the Hypnobabies Childbirth Instructor certification in August of 2017. She used hypnosis with her first birth at home in 1993 at the age of 20. Since then natural birth and women's empowerment has become a passion of hers. She is also the founder and creator of Emerging Empress a healing service that provides rites of passages for women.