Thursday, 20 January 2011

Train of thought

Last night I went to visit my February couple for their second Antenatal visit.  This was to talk through breastfeeding and how they were feeling in the run up to the birth.  I love these visits.  The excitement becomes more palpable.  Of course this is also when I remind them that term is 37-42 weeks and that perhaps they should think about the 42 week mark as the Due Date.

So I hopped onto the train and grabbed a discarded copy of The Evening Standard and two articles, in particular, caught my Doula eye.  The first NHS reforms will put babies in danger, says midwives' leader.  The article goes on to talk about how the change could lead to different standards of maternity care in different parts of London.  It continues on to talk about the lack of Midwives and "increasingly complicated pregnancies".  Now this is scary reading, particularly if you are a first time expectant mum (or indeed a mum several times over).  When people share their labour and birth stories they don't tend to be the "well I didn't make much noise, short labour, easy pushing stage, glorious birth, breastfeeding was easy" stories.  They tend to be the "[add expletive] horrible, painful, screaming, intervention, emergency caesarean, cracked nipples" stories.  So headlines like this will resonate through the "birthing community".  All of that, however, doesn't take away from the news of the midwife shortages.  We have never been further from One Woman One Midwife.  It is truly saddening.  It is also the reason so many women are turning to Doulas.  

My attention was then immediately drawn to the picture Miranda Kerr, wife of Orlando Bloom breastfeeding their son.  This was a picture that she posted on her blog where she shared her birth story.  It's a beautiful picture and one, I agree, that shows relaxed breastfeeding and should serve as an encouragement for other mothers.  Of course people will jump on this as an example of another celebrity trying to tell us how to do things.  When you consider that neither Ms Kerr nor her husband announced the birth of their son in the media, you do have to wonder exactly who is trying to tell "us" how things should be done.  

It is such a crying shame that breastfeeding is so slammed in many quarters.  There is big money to be made in the commercial baby food industry.  In my own opinion the lambasting of breastfeeding and the ignorant cries of "bitty" when a woman is seen feeding her child are the ones that inform society. This needs to change. Just another view from the BMJ.

Me in scrubs having attended a caesarean


  1. What lucky couples having you as their wonderful doula, Mars. I quite envy them, beginning their lives as parents with you on hand! Talk about off to the best start!

    I love the Miranda Kerr photos.

    I don't think scaring all women about all birth is the way forward - obviously there are births that don't go as planned by a long way, but lots of women have lovely births. I was lucky with mine - well, a mixture of luck and good preparation. Just wish you'd been my doula!

  2. It drove me insane last week with all the 'Breast May Not Be Best' headlines - it was a debate about when to start solid food, not about breastfeeding!!! I found it really wierd that they took that angle instead. Keep doing what you do Mars, there is too much confusion and misguided advice circulating around - we need you experts with a cool head!