Midwifery: May 2003 Archives
Contraception and the Trivialization of Sex
Germain Greer, who once exhorted women to revel in their sexuality, after closely scrutinizing the casualties of the contraceptive revolution, now warms her followers that sex has degenerated into a social gesture that is as trivial as a handshake. She claims that contraceptive technology, instead of liberating women, has turned them into geishas who risk health and fertility in order to be readily available for meaningless sex. Taking the pill, says Greer, is like "using a steamroller to crush a frog," and the intrauterine device turns the womb into a "poisonous abattoir." A teenage girl with a packet of pills in her purse and a copy of The Joy of Sex on her bookshelf is a pitiable creature, according to Greer’s new perspective.
An interesting article that reinforces my belief that women lost the sexual revolution - and we all actually lost.
http://www.worldserver.com/turk/birthing/rrvbac.html This site has a current bibliography on VBAC. Well worth reading if this is a topic of interest to you.
My profession is one of the oldest, and had the big advantage of being endorsed in Sacred Scripture (Ex 1:20). I was first called to this when I was 10 years old, but God in His wisdom made me go through a lot of life and experience before I became a full fledged midwife. Motherhood was a big plus, although one the most wonderful midwives I know is a celibate nun, Sister Angela Murdaugh. Motherhood taught me that I could handle the grittier parts of life - blood, pain, bodily fluids everywhere - without losing my cool or my lunch. Motherhood taught me that I could indeed function after only a few minutes of sleep, and that getting a good night's sleep is a gift, not a right. Motherhood and midwifery conspired to teach me that I am NOT in charge of the universe, and that it is probably a good thing that I'm not! I am honored and privileged to be part of the miracle of pregnancy, labor, birth, and early motherhood, and I am very thankful for that gift.
But there are some things that never get any easier.
The reality is that some babies die before birth, some die being born, and some die in those early days. Some babies are damaged from conception on, some are damaged through accident, illness, or noxious exposures. Some babies seem to be perfect, and yet aren't. We have technology that sometimes can give an advance warning of problems, and we have technology that can lead to a 'search and destroy' mentality for the less than perfect child. And through it all, we have people - falllible human beings.
It tears me apart when I have to tell a mom (and those who are with her), "I'm sorry. I can't seem to hear your baby's heartbeat. Let's get an ultrasound to see what is going on." (And I am grateful for the technology that allows me to be able to give these families some knowledge that 30 years ago would have had to wait for days or weeks). I hurt inside when the ultrasound shows no beating heart, no moving baby. All I can do then is hold, comfort, pray. Offer my love, offer my support, just be there.
It is hard no matter when in pregnancy I have to give this news, but it seem especially cruel later on - as the pregnancy has progressed normally, the EDC is close, the shower has been held and everyone is eagerly awaiting the birth of the new child. Instead of choosing a cute 'coming home' outfit, to have to choose a burial outfit, is just too cruel to contemplate. And yet, every year or so, I find myself having to confront this with a patient.
No, it never gets any easier.