My new project: Broken Birth

NS February 20th, 2011

You’ll have likely noticed that I’ve not been around very much lately. I’ve alluded to a new project in the works and promised that I would let you know what it is when it was finished. So, without further ado, my new website, Broken Birth.

This is the content of the About page, to give you a better idea of the site’s aim.

Serious flaws in maternity care are having widespread and detrimental effects on how women experience birth. It is breaking not only our bodies, but our spirits. Diagnoses of Postnatal Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of traumatic births are more commonplace than ever.

Contrary to popular myth — that birth is only one day in a woman’s life and that a healthy baby is all that matters — how we give birth has a knock-on effect on nearly everything else as we begin our journeys into motherhood: recovery time, breastfeeding success rates, emotional state, confidence in our abilities, incidences of depression, our reproductive and sexual health, interpersonal relationships, (dis)trust in our care providers and the maternity services as a whole, and whether and how we give birth to future children.

The Royal College of MidwivesAIMSDoula UKNCT and various other organisations with a vested interest in pregnant women’s rights and well-being are increasingly concerned with the startling lack of continuity of care, lack of choices in where and how women give birth, lack of evidence-based and woman-centred care and failure to gain informed consent or refusal when it comes to interventions. Severe staff shortages, restrictive policies and procedures and a growing culture of defensive medicine tie the hands of those working within the birth profession, making it nearly impossible for them to provide the service they know women deserve.

In a perfect world, my job would be eradicated. Families wouldn’t need doulas to help guide them through and protect them from the maternity services as they give birth on the conveyor belt of care one often receives on the NHS. But the system is broken. And now many of us believe that birth itself is broken, that our bodies are incapable of carrying out a process for which they were designed.

We can’t just slap a coat of glossy paint over the maternity services and hope the shine distracts everyone from the deep flaws within. Instead, we must repair it completely by uncovering all the cracks and then working at filling them in. Midwives and mothers, doctors and doulas, politicians and fathers…all of us must contribute. And as with any DIY project, it will require time, patience, the right materials, a sense of purpose and, of course, funds.

I want to restore birth to what it should be. I want to fill in those cracks so that no more women fall through them. If you do too, come on in. You’re in the right place.

Here’s what I’ve written about so far:

The danger of getting caught up in ‘the numbers’

Who’s talking about maternity services

The midwife shortage

Birth trauma

If you are at all interested in advocating for change so that women have better, safer births, please subscribe and spread the word to any like-minded friends and family.  You can follow Broken Birth on Facebook and Twitter too. I’d really appreciate help getting the word out to mums and midwives, doulas and doctors, fathers and feminists, and anyone else concerned with the state of the maternity services in the UK and around the world.

If I get a nice little following I can return to writing this blog more regularly so if you’d like to see more Noble Savage, show some love over at Broken Birth too. Thank you!

13 Responses to “My new project: Broken Birth”

  1. Mette says:

    What a great initiative.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and love the way you write about feminism, birth and motherhood.

    Your new website is particularly relevant for me now, as I’m pregnant with my first baby. I truly believe that childbirth should be as natural as possible and I’m hoping to be able to give birth (without epidural) at the midwife-led birthing centre at St. Mary’s, Paddington.

    I look forward to following your new blog and will spread the word.
    Mette´s last blog ..Blingin’ up the bumpMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Mette, Hi Mette, thank you! And congratulations on your pregnancy, I hope the birth goes really well. :)

  2. Charlotte says:

    Have subscribed, read and am looking forward to more!
    Charlotte´s last blog ..When I Was 35My ComLuv Profile

    Noble Savage Reply:

    @Charlotte, Thanks Charlotte!
    Noble Savage´s last blog ..My new project- Broken BirthMy ComLuv Profile

  3. I’ve just been looking at your new site and will spread the word about what I also believe is a very admirable and important mission. Compared to what I saw in the States the natural birthing options available through the NHS were encouraging, however I’ve now seen and heard how lack of information before and during birth can put women at a disadvantage in terms of knowing these options and their rights overall. I think first time parents find it particularly hard to advocate for themselves in an effective way so information must be shared. Keep it coming NS!
    Tanya (Bump2Basics)´s last blog ..Children Tricky Customers Or are theyMy ComLuv Profile

    NS Reply:

    @Tanya (Bump2Basics), Thank you Tanya. :)

  4. Troutie says:

    Good Luck with the new project!
    Troutie´s last blog ..Date with a mashed up CupcakeMy ComLuv Profile

  5. Amy says:

    I just joined the Goodreads reading group that Molly @ First the Egg set up and saw your introduction. I too am an American living in England and worked in maternal and perinatal health research until my son was born 3 months ago. This blog looks really interesting–can’t wait to check it out!

    NS Reply:

    @Amy, Thanks Amy! I’ve been meeting an awful lot of American expats in England who are also in the birth community lately — it’s wonderful!

  6. Capital Mom says:

    Going to check it out now!
    Capital Mom´s last blog ..BoringMy ComLuv Profile

  7. EmmaK says:

    Sounds like a brilliant new blog! I am in USA and my first birth was in a hospital and pretty traumatic. So I went natural the second time and even though having no pain meds was a bit of a bummer the experience was a hundred times more humane!

    NS Reply:

    @EmmaK, So glad to hear it. Birth is the beginning of a human being’s life, it seems common sense that it should be a humane experience for the mother.

  8. mummylimited says:

    What a great idea. Followed the blog and on Twitter. I had a great experience but know others aren’t so lucky and it is also important to talk about the good stuff so we know what it is and what we don’t want to lose, I think.
    mummylimited´s last blog ..The Gallery- Never lets you downMy ComLuv Profile