Monday, February 11, 2008

More about the Trust Birth Conference!

The Trust Birth Conference is less than a month away! Sagefemme recently wrote about what it means for her to trust birth. It is a powerful look at herself and how she relates to birth.

For those of you who wanted to come, but the cost of the conference was keeping you away, Carla Hartley created a Mommy Track that will allow you to attend many of the sessions at a greatly reduced rate!

If there is no way you can come in person, remember that you can purchase downloads of most of the sessions afterwards! Here is more detailed information from Carla about how to earn download "credits" and other ways to participate in the conference:

If you are absolutely sure you can't join us at The Trust Birth Conference...

...we are so sad that you won’t be with us. I am hoping for a miracle and that everyone who WANTs to come finds a way, as this will not ever ever ever happen again. And this is my last conference and probably my last chance ever to get to meet most of you. So I am still holding out that you can get here. When I was going back and forth and back and forth about going to The Gentle Birth Conference last fall, I kept arguing with myself about the cost and the time, but at the last minute I emailed Barbara and said I will register when I get there and started driving.

I had not been in the Convention Center 10 minutes when I felt my spirit jumping for joy. It was so great to see people I had not seen in years and to meet so many people (some of you) who I only knew by email. I did not get to stay for the whole thing but I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I ever made, even if it was so last minute. Yes, I am still paying that trip off on my credit card but it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO worth every penny. And I ALMOST didn’t go. I would have hated to miss is. I learned things there I did not expect to learn. I was floating by Saturday night on collective birth wisdom. It was not political, as ours is not political. No one had an ax to grind or an agenda to push. It was just relaxing and invigorating at the same time, as the Trust Birth Conference will be. I am not trying to HOUND anyone. I just don’t want you to miss it is there is any way in the world you can come....

And it was ONE late email from someone about the Gentle Birth Conference that had me say WHY NOT? So I am so glad they sent out another round.

You may not be able to be here but I am SURE you will all be ordering downloads after the conference. We are giving you a way to earn some of those if you help us these last 3 weeks:
For every $100 in value you bring in for us, we will give you a voucher for a session download.

Send us a registration--that is, get a friend to register for the conference ($499) and have her email saying to give you credit, and we will give you a voucher for 5 downloads. If you get two registrations we will give you double for each subsequent registration. So send 2 registrations and we give you 15 downloads. Send us 3 and we give you 25 downloads...4 for 35 downloads! (This is only valid for those who pay $499 for registration, not retroactive or combinable with any other offers.)

Sell 2 half-page ads ($50 each) for the conference binder and we will give you a voucher for one download.

And get more downloads for other things: For example, if you send us one donor level donation for the Trust Birth Awards dinner at $99 you get one download. If the donor is not able to actually attend the dinner ,we will throw in one more as a compensation. Remember that the donor will have their name and website listed in the congratulatory ad on the back cover of Midwifery Today #86 so for $99 this is a phenomenal offer.

We want 100 Dinner Donors so the ad looks great. We are honoring 10 people; I want them to know that at least 100 people support that! (Right now it is just the Trust Birth Initiative and Lansinoh...don’t you want to be there too?) This is a value packed opportunity for your groups and organizations.

Here is my suggestion for local groups: Get 10 people to pitch in $10, then draw from those 10 names to see who gets the free download/s. This congratulatory back cover ad will be VERY EFFECTIVE for you. If you are a birth-related business or organization, you will never find a place where $99 will work so hard for you as this one. Lots of people will see it who might not ordinarily see Midwifery Today ads as we are framing it for our 10 recipients. This is a phenomenal opportunity to be part of something that will have significant meaning to a lot of people and give your group or business exposure for a long time.

About the dinner: some of the awards are surprises, and some of the honorees won’t be able to be there, but you do know we are honoring Ricki Lake, Dr. John Stevenson and Dr. Michel Odent who are all supposed to be there! Michel is also our keynote speaker: "Dispelling the Disempowering Birth Vocabulary."


  1. What are you doing to me, Rixa!!?? I'm still trying to figure out how to come...sigh.

  2. "Come to the trust birth conference, Jen. Come. Cooooommmmme." (hypnotic voice whispering suggestions to your subconscious). My offer to come visit remains in full force! Could you perhaps drive out Friday night after Dan gets back from work, so he could watch the girls, and spend Sat & part of Sunday in LA? It would be kind of crazy...but super fun!

  3. How about a conference for those of us who cannot "trust birth".

    "Birth Is Safe, Interference Is Risky"

    what a load of crap. if you only knew.

  4. Oh. I wish I could go to the conference, but I think I have a legitimate excuse: my "due date" is sometime between March 8 and March 12- and unless they want someone to go into labor right in the middle of one of the lectures, I probably shouldn't go.

    So DH and I should be having our own personal "trust birth" conference: learning to trust our own birth.

  5. So, I am sensing a lot of hostility & anger here...instead of throwing out attacks, let's sit down and talk. I do think that that slogan is a bit simplistic, in the sense that there is always the "of course things don't always go perfectly 100% of the time" factor. Which we all know. Which is why we don't always say the disclaimer.

    How do we get past the fact that sometimes things don't work, sometimes they go terribly wrong with no reason...but most of the time they do? This is not something exclusive to birth--it's this way in life, too.

    I'm thinking, for example, to when I had to help out a teenager who was raped while traveling in a foreign country. I was the first English-speaking person to come to the hospital after it happened. As much as I tried to assure her that it wasn't her fault, that sometimes bad things happen to good still didn't take away the fact that it happened to her. It wasn't fair at all, and she will probably always be marked in some way by that experience. And I won't.

    But anyway, I've been thinking a lot about how we understand birth, and I keep going back to the Vision of Unity that Jeanine Parvati Baker described. In order to heal birth, to serve women, we must all sit at the table: those of us who do trust birth, those of us who don't, those who have been wounded and those who have been healed. We need to know more about how birth works and our effects on it, so that we can better act when needed and sit back and let things happen otherwise. How do we know when something is "normal" and when it is not? How do we even know what normal is? How does X or Y action affect the course of a labor? These are all things that we can learn at the conference.

  6. How do we know when something is "normal" and when it is not? How do we even know what normal is?

    exactly. so if there is any question that maybe things are not going along could be TOO LATE.

    Why risk it.

    yes, the "slogan" is incredibly simplistic and makes me ill.

    it kind of speaks to why i feel so upset about conferences like this.

  7. And the vision of birth as inherently dangerous is incredibly simplistic and dangerous. You may as well ask, why risk the damaging things that can and do happen with medicalized birth? What people like "anonymous" don't seem to understand is that there are risks no matter what choice one makes, and that they are different for each individual situation. It is arrogance and ignorance to insist that the only appropriate way to approach birth is to medicalize it.

    A conference for those who cannot trust birth? Is it really necessary? There are plenty enough opportunities to be supported in the "fear birth" mindset, through your local community, hospital, and childbirth education teachers. I really don't understand why the majority sees the minority as such a threat. We're not harming you. We're doing what's best for our families and children. What is it to you? Go, be happy that you think you know everything about it, and leave us alone. Or stay and learn. But the hatred and anger at what you clearly don't understand is not helpful to anyone.


  8. Linda,

    I appreciate your comments but--how do I say this gently--please don't give ultimatums to or attack other people.

    I agree that there is no one right way to approach birth...the difficulty is that we cannot ever predict which approach will ensure the best outcome (and of course that can mean a lot of things). We can only weigh the risks and benefits and hope that we have made the best decision. Neither total medicalization or total non-medicalization will ever remove all unexpected tragedies. Which is what I am guess anonymous is referring to?

    Anyway, I would argue that it is extremely important to know what normal vs. pathological is in birth--essentially, to know the effects of interventions, practices, etc. Do they help? Do they harm? Do they have no effect? Because if we don't know, we're just stabbing about in the dark hoping it will help and praying it won't hurt. That's why it's important, for example, to insist that your care giver and your hospital/birth center (if applicable) keep up on evidence based medicine. Now, as doctorjen commented, there are limits to that knowledge. But it is a starting place.

  9. It was a knee-jerk response to an attack. I apologize. Responding in kind won't help matters either.

    I know a woman whose baby died in a hospital. I know many whose babies have been damaged by medicalizing the birth. It isn't black and white. It wasn't a load of crap to them to seek out alternatives. It just bothers me immensely when people assume that their own experience or belief system is the objective standard by which everything else should be judged.

    There are no guarantees. How many times does this have to be said before people start hearing it? Each situation carries risks specific to it. No situation is entirely safe. No one choice is safest for every single person.

    I'm just really tired of being attacked myself. When you have people telling you that you are deluded, stupid, crazy, and selfish because you make a choice different than what they would, you start to feel a little angry.

    But it's true that "trust birth" is simplistic. It's not an absolute. It's a catchy phrase that doesn't come close to representing the complexity of the philosophy behind primal, spiritual, autonomous birth. It also doesn't mean that natural birth can never end in tragedy -- nature is not a benign entity -- it's apathetic to our goals. I've always felt an inner resistance to using the phrase "trust birth" myself, I'm truly sorry that it causes people pain, and I am going to be meditating on that.

    Again, my apologies.


  10. to all of you who can "trust birth"
    may you never have to have the experience that I did. I was so naive to attempt a homebirth. It ended tragically. If you could see what I see and feel what I feel with what I now would not be so excited for a "trust birth conference" where I feel naivety is only encouraged. How about a conference of midwives/doulas and doctors coming together to work together for change?

    any way I have only spoken up because I am so scared for anyone who even thinks about homebirthing or free terrifies me that someone who go ahead with this.

  11. I agree with Birdie for a conference to make changes to the current system.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. again, you have not had a baby die as a result of your "choice" to homebirth. I have. I have. I just don't understand how there can be a "trust birth conference", I just don't get it. Thats it.

  14. Birdie's Mama - Thank you for posting. Your story really touched me and I hope that you are being gentle with yourself. You could not have been expected to know any better when you were surrounded by people preaching that homebirth is as safe or safer. I'm so sorry that some seem to exclude you from the discussion just because you remind them that it isn't always so.

  15. I am sorry. I will delete the comment. I tried and tried to write it in such a way that was not excluding birdie's mama. I really did. I was just offering another view, just as she was offering another view, and trying to do so without making her feel as though her feelings were discounted. I truly was. My heart really aches for her and every other mother who's had to experience a loss of that magnitude. Truly, I meant no offense or disrespect or any discounting. I admitted that I could never know what it feels like. I'm sorry my words were not taken in the context that they were meant. I'm really very sorry.

  16. Team Harris,
    I don't think the poster was necessarily referring to you but to home birth supporters in general...I am sad that you deleted your comment (I have a copy of it btw if you want to put it back up) because we all have our stories to tell.

  17. Birdie's Mama - hard as it is, you perform a real service for anyone commenting or just reading these blogs. You remind people that REAL mothers' heartache and REAL babies' lives are at stake in homebirth situations (please, everyone spare me the words "but women and babies die in hospitals too, there's risk in everything, blah blah blah" - I am talking about PREVENTABLE death). So thank you for caring enough to put yourself out there.

    My niece went through a similar tragedy to yours and is only just beginning to cope with it 5 months later. There is a post on Keyboard Revolutionary's blog by a woman named Rose who also has lost a baby to homebirth. Your stories are heartwrenching, all the more because the decision to homebirth was made in part due to naivete.

    You have a tragic, but necessary perspective to offer young women considering homebirth. Too bad the advocates don't want to listen. I wish you well.

    As for Trust Birth? - how 'bout we all have a healthy respect for birth?

  18. rixa,

    i really hope that there will be speakers at the conference who have had the experience that i did. mothers who have faced the tragic reality of the dangers of birthing at home. until that happens NONE of you will really "get" what it is I am trying to say to you. until someone else who perhaps reads your blog has the experience of their baby dying because of the choice to birth at will not truly see the danger will you?

  19. If we deny there is a problem, we cannot fix the problem. Birth can be very dangerous. Most of the time it is not. I don't know whose baby is going to decel and stay there until they do it. I don't know who is going to abrupt until they do it.

    I love to read what Birdie's Mamma has to say. She is an excellent writer and a talented photographer who voices a very important point of view.

    Everyone who is pregnant needs unadultrated information. Opinions are not going to enable you to make an informed choice.

    Birdies Mama is correct, you never forget a still born full term baby. It must be so much worse when you are the mother or father. Because it is pretty hard when you are the nurse.

  20. (((birdies mama))

    I'm saying this with all the respect I can, but why do you think we don't truly see the dangers?

    And what would be for you a proof that we 'really' get it? That Rixa closes her blog? That we chose not to talk anymore, anywhere and forever about home birth? That we admit our birth experiences are worthless?

    I understand you're hurting, but I don't get where you're going with this.

    Two of my three sons were born so peacefuly and safetly at home, one of them unassisted. Their births won't bring back your baby of course... but then again I can't let the death of your baby take away from our family those so precious and unique moments.

    That's why I somewhat agree with 'anonymous' that instead of 'trusting birth' blindly, we should respect it, respcet life (and death) - no matter where or how it takes place.


  21. I think what Birdie's Mama is getting at (and I hope she will correct me if I am wrong) is that so often in discussions of home birth, risk is swept under the rug as something that happens to other people. That you can prevent tragedy by believing hard enough, eating well enough, or doing enough planning. There is a tendency on some blogs and forums to silence any talk of possible danger as "unsupportive". Maybe she feels that she would have chosen differently if there was more serious discussion into these matters, rather than just a cheering section.

  22. I lost my baby, too... but in the hospital, even though I had wanted a homebirth from the start... I had been pressured into the "safe" choice.

    I was so devastated... so scared. I swore my next baby would be a planned c/s at 37w. I could not face that fear again.

    However, by the time of my next birth, I had come to a different place, and chose to birth at home with a midwife. My third baby? She was a planned unassisted birth, and the moment my husband put her on my belly was one of the most healing moments of my life.

    I trust birth. Except for the dark months after my daughter's death, I always have. If birth didn't work, we wouldn't be here... that said, becoming so absorbed into one dogma (natural for everyone!) or another (hospitals are the safest!) serves no one.

    I also trust that women have the right to birth where they feel most safe, most supported. There is a place for all of us, for all of our stories, if we create that space.

    I am not saying this to be hurtful to Birdie's Mama, or any of the other mamas who have had a loss... regardless of where they gave birth... I just wanted to share my path. And maybe a little hope.

    I have been amazed by not only our ability to heal from tragedy, but our abilities as mothers and women to transcend it.

    Rixa, perhaps I will see you in Cali...

  23. I'd love to meet up with you in CA--you can always get in touch with me via the email provided on this blog.

  24. To the last anonymous - XM, is that you? If so, I've been thinking about you lately for some reason (followed your story elsewhere back in the day.)
    Loss in birth is so hard to deal with, no matter where or how. I know as a mother that I would do anything to have my children whole and healthy (and I'm so blessed that they are!) I would have 10 cesareans, I would take any intervention, I would walk on hot coals. But it doesn't mean that we should require everyone to have every intervention known - or even that that would be the safest for everyone. I would take any intervention to have a healthy baby if it was needed, but that doesn't mean I should have every intervention no matter what. Everyone has to find their own path.

  25. You go, Birdie's Mama. I am very sorry for your loss and you have every right to remind these women that "trust birth" is a pointless and silly slogan, because you can only trust it, until you can't, and when you can't, as you found out, it's too late.

    Your point, which is an important one, is that the world doesn't neatly divide up into "women who can trust birth" and "women who can't trust birth." The line separating those two is a very thin one. The homebirth world tends to pretend that "low risk" and "high risk" are the appropriate markings for those groups. But they are not. The worst outcomes often do come to low-risk women out of the blue, just as they did for you.
    It's wonderful that Rixa can publish comments like these and allow you not to be marginalized, Erin.


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