What is and isn’t a person’s responsibility is something that I have always struggled with. In many situations I do not feel comfortable imposing my ideas on others or restricting others rights because they are not rights that I would exercise. I also have situations where i feel that I should try to sway people to believe or do as I do. As I sat down to write this post I have found myself in a weird situation. Some of my ideas or beliefs conflict. Though I am aware of that fact, I am not sure I will ever change. Where is it right to step in and when is it not your place?
To help you understand and have my questions answered let me give some examples. I am very passionate about educating women on natural (and pain free) childbirth. I try my best to save as many baby boys as possible by educating pregnant women on why they should not circumcise their sons. I practice and promote Attachment Parenting (natural parenting, instinctive parenting, gentle parenting etc.) I believe that all women who are medically able to breastfeed should have to do so. All of my beliefs in these areas are strengthened by science and my personal experience. I birth naturally and experienced no pain (like many women around the world do every day). I left my son intact because I was given information on why not to circumcise. I breastfeed my children until they wean themselves. I practice Attachment Parenting.
I feel that the interference in natural childbirth that occurs every day in the U.S. is a serious problem. I believe that our culture has changed childbirth from a normal, exciting, fear free, experience into a traumatizing, scary, pain filled experience. I think that this can be changed. In fact, I KNOW it can. I know it can because I used to scared to death of childbirth. Scared to the point of panic. I knew I wanted an epidural as soon as I could get one. That all changed when I got pregnant. As it should! I cared more about this new life inside me than my own selfish ideas. I did not want to do anything that could in anyway affect my daughter negatively. There was so much information on the harm of the drugs used in labor. Even the manufacturers of the drugs warned against their use! I thought there had to be something better. God, nature, whatever you believe in, would not make a species so flawed that childbirth was not possible without medical assistance. When I began to research childbirth around the world I discovered that women in most other places did not view childbirth as American women did. We were the same species. Why did we birth so differently?
I researched this idea thoroughly and came to teh conclusion that it had a lot to do with our minds. If we tell ourselves since we are little girls (and our family tells us, and our friends tell us, and the tv tells us) that birth is exscruciating and it is not achievable outside of a hospital because only a doctor can deliver your baby because anyone (or anywhere) else would result in emmediate complications and everyone would die. Ok that is a bit extreme but you get the idea. When that is all we are ever shown it is what our mind believes and tells our body to do. Yes. If you believe fully that something will hurt when that thing comes along it WILL hurt!
I knew that I had to change my way of thinking if I wanted a truly peaceful birth. I began looking into hypnosis for childbirth. I reviewed several methods and programs and decided to order the Hypnobabies home study course. It was the best decision I have ever made! Thanks to hypnobabies i have had two peaceful wonderful births one completely natural! I wish that more women were encouraged to go in this direction. I believe that it would change their lives. While hypnosis for childbirth is not right for everyone and is not neccessary for everyone I believe that natural birth is possible for everyone! I believe that all OBs should be first educated in natural childbirth. I believe that midwives should be the primary caregivers for pregnant and laboring women. I believe that birth should be moved out of the hospital and into the home (or at least birthing center). Natural birth (natural being the key word) should be the norm.
Once your perfect baby is born, continue to flow with nature. If you are have a boy, leave him intact! See my post on How I Became an Intactivist for more information on circumcision. Just know that it is a completely unneeded, cosmetic, and very damaging procedure that no medical organization in the world recommends.
Once back home (unless you were lucky enough to birth there!) just keep the natural flow going. Bed near (or with) your baby. Respond promptly to its every sound because every sound does mean something! Make your life easier and buy and use a baby wrap and above everything BREASTFEED! It is what is best for your child and after all isnt the point of being a parent doing what is best for your child. If you have a medical reason that prevents you from breatsfeeding your own baby there are other options such as a wet nurse (yes they still exist), or breastmilk donation. Formula should be an absolute last resort.
I’m drifting though. the point of this post is to see when (or if) i should share these ideas with others who may learn from them. I hear this phrase all of the time “It is not my responsibility to…” I think that is a copout. I think that if you do not share your knowledge with others so that everyone may learn and grow, you do not care about those other people. I do think it is my responsibility! I think that if I ever want to help change the world i have to start one person at a time. People may not agree with me, they may even get mad at me for suggesting a different way. That is ok. I will do it anyway because I might change just one person’s mind. That makes it worth it for me!
Here is my predicament. I believe that it is my responsibility to inform and educate on the above topics. I believe this because it is what is best for children and i believe that they need as many advocates as possible. I am also pro choice. I personally believe that abortion is terrible and i do not think i would ever have one any under circumstances. However, I do not believe that I can tell other women that they cannot legally have an abortion. I do believe that there should be restrictions such as nothing past 12weeks gestation. I think there should be easier access to things like the morning after pill and more support for rape and incest victims to come forward early on.
So why do I advocate for some and not others? i don’t know. I feel very strongly about both of these positions and I feel in my heart, that they are the right decisions for me. It is something that i will constantly reevaluate though. So for now, i will continue to educate and inform and hopefully change things for the better if even for just one person.