I first gave birth in 1970. At that time my country was at war with Vietnam and was dropping bombs on Cambodia. My one day adopted children and their families were running from bombs and napalm and agent orange.
I had very lithe prenatal care. Perhaps three appointments altogether. I was mostly in denial that I was pregnant and kept living in the college dorm as long as I could. I has never been in a hospital. I stood on the vigil line against the war, as my baby grew. It was impossible to find a doctor who would let me have natural childbirth in the college town where I lived. I could not have anyone with me. One day someone told me of a doctor who had worked in Africa and would let women deliver naturally so when I went into labor, we got arid from a friend and drove several hours to have an undedicated birth. It was not that I knew much about it. Perhaps I was afraid of shots, of being drugged and unaware. He was born easily but still I was shaved, given an enema and strapped to a table with an episiotomy. Everyone was so curious to see a mom and baby awake after a birth. I could not imagine what they were use to seeing.
The next day, peaceful protesters at Kent State were shot and killed. Somewhere in my young heart, the way they wanted us to birth and the whole industrial - war complex became connected. If you could * and I am not sure who the you is ) could shoot protesters and drop napalm, then maybe it was true. Everything had to change; how we earn, eat, take care of the earth, take care of each other and yes, starting with how we give birth and feed our young. In shock, that our country could kill innocent people, my country took a deep breath in and said we are going to give birth to a new and better society. I have alway felt the two were connected; the rebirth of midwifery in direct opposition to the destruction around us.
|Kent State Massacre and young girl napalmed in Vietnam; these images made a whole generation|
question the way we were doing things and gave way to a hope that there could be a better way
Including a better way to begin life and be born.