Welcome to Birthyourway's Blog. This space is intended to serve as an interactive site for Doula related stuff based in Ottawa and around the globe. The archive links on the right hand margin will help you identify topics of interest to you. Your pictures of real pregnant bodies- stretch marks and all- would be most appreciated as contributions. Share your birth stories, concerns and comments by submitting to

Monday, December 11, 2006

In many ways, this is how I feel. Pushing myself out of this tighly bound cocoon and dusting myself off picking up whatever shreds of myslef are left. I used the imagery of the light house whenever someone upset me this semester, which was surprisingly often. This process left me feeling vulnerable and raw. There were many times when I felt that being pinned down and squirmy was not enough. Sometimes I was vocal, sometimes I just sang realllly loudly in my head. And concentrated on my facial muscles, heart rate and breathing. Trying to look like I was calm. Listening to heartfelt monologues about medwives (Come on people! What is wrong with medwives?!!) Don't get me started on what I think is wrong with medwives!!! I wanted to leave the room that day. But I thought I should stay and listen to the reasoning behind the banter. Excuse my disdain. The anti abortion stances...the way some women found turkey basters ridiculous and suggested lesbian women should just have sex with a man since that would be less ridiculous(!) Then there were the discussions about pelvic heart just sank...completely deflated for a moment in time when I heard the words : Yuk!! Gross!! coming from a future midwife's mouth when talking about vag exams. What did you think you where in for?!! So here is a question I might suggest we ask the midwives who help us birth our babies: How do you feel about vaginal exams? I suppose one of the only answers a professional midwife could give while being conscientious about protocols and harrasment is : well sometimes they are helpful in determining the position of the baby... It just really makes me wonder about the treatment of women's bodies when we are literally in the hands of homophobes? Or people in general who have sentiments of YUK associated with womens bodies.

Sometimes we just glide along with a bucket full of happy in our heads and pay no mind to how things are good...sometimes we get snagged on a glitch and focus of negative associated with the process. In the end, I feel like I payed for the ride, got in got strapped down (cocooned) and am once again free to emerge. Alas one last push (biochemistry exam) and I am a free woman. I suppose the iminent birth was that of my emergence as a student midwife. I feel a bit bewildered as I shake off the feathers and prepare to fly back 'home' (where exactly is that again?) for the season.

Perhaps the most perplexing thing about this and the big picture of it all, I've waited most of my life to be here, was involved in the field for a while and now that the first semester is done...I won't be studying midwifery for a full 9 months?!! Weirdess. This winter semester I will study anatomie/physiology and intro to social welfare. Can anyone explain to me why I couldn't have stayed with my family to do this part?

Back to being positive. I did learn the scientific reasoning behind GBS testing and use of antibiotics VS choosing not to be screened for it to avoid the overuse of antibiotics. I learned what the issues are that I am not willing to bend for, my reasons for these and how I might go about being aware of this. Namely women's rights, rights to choose, that medicalization of childbirth is hugely problematic, that intuition has as much value as authoritative scientific thought, that heterosexuality is only one of the many ways women express sexuality... and how I might go about constructively expressing these. That one is a learning curve though and I suspect it is a lifelong one. I learned that how I define midwifery and what I think a midwife is is just as offensive to some as their perceptions of midwifery and what a midwife is is offensive me. I suppose some people find comfort in diversity and others seek shelter away from it.

I loved writing the final midwifery exam. Loved it. I loved studying for it, staying up until 3am reading the CMO binder, calculating para gravida filling in antenatal was fun. The exam was long, unbelievebly long, but somehow felt like a right of passage. So here I am, freeing myself from the invisible cocoon and emerging with a twinkle in my eye.


  • At 9:42 a.m., Blogger mamaloo said…


    I'd love to hear your views on all those things you listed out as frustrations or things you discovered you believed in.

    As a doula, my primary motivator is women's rights/feminism. I often get frustrated when I see how those rights are limited, contravened or denied throughout pregnancy, birth and mothering.

    I enjoy reading your blog. It's very useful insider's view. Keep it up!

  • At 12:17 p.m., Blogger Birthyourway said…

    Thanks mamaloo!

    I appreciate your kind words! Thank you for sharing in this dialogue!

    These are things I discovered long ago that I believe in and stand up for. What I really discovered is that the more I encounter anti-choice ideas, or moralistic views on the family, the more I am pushed to the left. I always thought I was very open I discover that it is challenging for me to accept that there will be midwives out in the world that cringe at the grossness of one woman inserting her fingers into another womans vagina for a pap smear, or midwives who don't want to participate in informed choice with women so that they don't have to burst their happy bubble ('ultrasounds are perfectly safe everyone does it' says this midwife to a woman who really wants a collection of cute ultrasound pics...)
    These philosophies drive me nuts and I'm not so open to embracing them. It is one thing working with a woman who has made choices for her own life, that I can respect and work with. It's a whole other thing when a midwife is manipulating a woman's health outcomes to serve her own needs insofar as morality goes.

    I'll try to post more about this stuff in my 3 weeks off...though the place I am going to is rural and has no internet!!

  • At 10:30 p.m., Blogger Saavikaa said…

    so much of what you say here i mirror in my day to day reflections of what it means to be a midwife, and what it means to be a midwifery student. I feel like we should sit down over a glass of wine or two and talk about some of this stuff...
    That final exam was incredibly intense, half way through i was so ready to be done!

    Congratulations on your new found wings!

    (I feel like we should get a badge or something to sew onto a sash... )

  • At 11:22 p.m., Blogger Birthyourway said…

    I like red wine! How's friday? And yeah, the exam...half way through I flipped to the back to see just how many more questions there were to answer! I had imagined there were just forms to fill in towards the wrong!

    Hang in there...just 3 1/2 more years until we get the badge...I mean piece of paper!!

  • At 10:06 p.m., Blogger Saavikaa said…

    hrm... friday's pretty crazy, lots going on that day! How about Sunday? a friend of mine who is in her fourth year (home stretch!!!!) of the program is going to be here for a couple of days, maybe we could have some midwifery students over my place on sunday? what do you think?

  • At 10:34 p.m., Blogger Saavikaa said…

    ya know, i honestly thought that i had replied to this last month!! sorry!

    I'm still game for wine if you are :D maybe we could have a mini midwifery student get together?

  • At 7:51 p.m., Blogger Laura said…

    Hi.... I just wanted to drop in from Australia and say hello. Thankyou so much for linking to my blog I've just discovered your blog this last week, love what you have to say, it's always utterly refreshing to hear from other midwifery students who have their hearts firmly in the birthing space.

    Love and Light

  • At 2:12 a.m., Blogger 115527276 said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 9:24 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Haven't heard from you in a while - are you doing okay?


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