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Showing posts from September, 2012

Reflections on Freedom for Birth

Freedom for Birth, a new documentary film about human rights in childbirth, was screened in over a thousand locations across the world last Thursday, and I was there, keen to take part in a 'Mother's Revolution' supported by leading lights from the field - Ina May Gaskin, Sheila Kitzinger, Michel Odent - all calling for women to 'take back birth'.

The film took as its focus the plight of Agnes Gereb, the Hungarian midwife currently under house arrest for attending women in illegal home births, and the related case of Ternovszky vs. Hungary, in which the European Court of Human Rights ruled that every woman has the right to choose where and how she gives birth.

Quite clearly, there are some circumstances in which the compromise of freedom and the violation of human rights are tangible, for example when imprisonment is involved, or, as in another case touched on in the film, a woman's baby was taken away on the grounds of negligence because she has refused medica…

I Lie With You Until You Are Asleep: A Sonnet

I lie with you until you are asleep,
Ten minutes, twenty, thirty, often more,
Clocks tick, frustration builds, yet still I keep,
And stay with you on your side of the door.
Out there, my old life tempts, a voice cries, "Fail!",
And tells me there are better things to do,
Release: the world shrinks down, we both exhale,
And drift together, touching souls, we two.
In age, perhaps, you'll do the same for me,
And hold my papery hand, and stroke my hair,
You'll know the worth of love's proximity,
The gift we give by simply being there.
  A final kiss, a sigh, a comfort deep:
  I lie with you until you are asleep.

If sonnets about parenting peel your potato, see here for another: Sometimes I Pass the Place Where We Once Lived.

Get Off Your Backs for a Birth Revolution!

If you gave birth recently, did you feel you had real freedom? Freedom to choose where you gave birth, who was present, what interventions took place and how you delivered your baby? Were you given access to all of the facts needed to make your choices truly informed? Who was the most powerful person in the room at the moment of birth? And did the experience leave you feeling exhilarated, disappointed, or downright traumatised?
These questions are currently being considered on behalf of all mothers as part of a global movement to ‘take back birth’ and reclaim women’s power in the birth place. ‘The freedom in a country can be measured by the freedom of birth’, states Agnes Gereb, the midwife currently imprisoned in Hungary and held up as ‘the epitome of the very worst of what’s happening in birth today’ by the makers of Freedom for Birth, a UK based film about human rights in childbirth to be globally screened on September 20th.

Over in the US, where caesarian rates are more than twic…