Congratulations on your baby! Did your Feminist Hulk superpowers come in handy during the 44 hours of labor that led to the birth of your child?Read the rest here.
Hulk is all about productive discomfort–the notion that growth requires us to step outside of the familiar spaces where we feel safe. My pain during childbirth had less to do with the relative strength of any given contraction but with the attitude I brought to coping with that. When I felt vulnerable or passive, I tried to hide from the contractions, which only made it harder. My midwives and my mom really helped me dig in, get active and aggressively pursue the contractions. I would dance to bring on contractions, then get in position and say, “Okay, this is gonna fucking suck, and I’m gonna make it suck even more, because then there will be one less contraction between me and my child.” I created new comfort zones.
Why did you decide to have a home birth? What were some of the challenges you faced in making that happen?
While I value the ways that obstetrical science has made birth safer for women with high-risk pregnancies, mine was a low-risk pregnancy and I was compelled by the many studies that show the midwifery model of care is as safe as hospital birth, often with fewer interventions and post-birth complications. Unfortunately, though Certified Nurse-Midwives legally practice in all 50 states, I gave birth in one of the handful of states which still does not license Certified Professional Midwives. I am active in attempts to push midwifery licensure through our state legislature. I still chose home birth, though, and am so lucky to have labored in an environment that made me feel relaxed and safe, with a birth team that gave me tons of love and support. And for anyone who asks, “What if something goes wrong?” all I have to say is, “Something did go wrong.” I suffered a postpartum hemorrhage and lost about a quart of blood. My birth team responded with speed and skill to stop the bleeding (and they would have transferred me to a hospital without hesitation if they encountered a complication that required additional resources). I owe them my life, and I have nothing but faith in the quality of their care.
How did your pregnancy affect your views on reproductive rights?
I’m a single mama by choice. I spent two years planning before I began the insemination process. Not long after I became pregnant, state and federal law saw an unprecedented parade of anti-choice and anti-reproductive health legislative proposals. I was sick with anger when I heard the horrible and unfounded assumptions being made about women who consider abortion. I felt so blessed to have chosen my pregnancy, and I wouldn’t ever want someone to be forced to bring a child into the world who wasn’t chosen. My love for the life growing inside me made me even more committed to protecting the legal right to choice.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Twitter phenom Feminist Hulk recently spoke with Ms. magazine about giving birth. Turns out she's a PhD student from the University of Iowa, where I did my degree! I've been away long enough that we've never met in person, although there's a 99% chance that I know her midwives. I miss those long afternoons at Iowa Midwives' Association meetings...