Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ricki Lake Does Something Useful

I am torn between being a home birth advocate and a medical traditionalist.

On one hand, I have almost died in labor three of four times. Medical intervention saved me. Thank heaven.

On the other hand, I strongly believe that in a healthy, normal situation, medicine can only be bad for mothers and babies. I always feel weirded out in the hospital, disoriented and even manic. I have trouble eating, can't sleep, and go home weaker than I was moments after giving birth. Part of this is the normal hormonal insanity involved in going from pregnant to non-pregnant, but I can't help but wonder how much is the sterility and impersonality of the hospital experience. Mothers innately know that childbirth is one of the most magical and powerful moments in our lives, so to go through it in a sterile situation where we are stripped of power and the experience stripped of magic tears a big hole in humanity.

It isn't just childbirth, either. Every time I interact with my doctor, I go away feeling bad. It's not his fault. He's a nice enough guy. He tells me all the stuff he is required by law to tell me, and I keep doing what I am doing because I think twelve years of successful parenting leave his seven years of school in the dust. He thinks I'm foolish for not following the advice of the medical establishment to the very letter, and I think he's foolish for believing so completely in this dogma when they change positions every week or so. I'm tired of playing birth control method roulette and tired of having the talk about certain procedures and vaccinations I'm uncomfortable with. And, to be honest, I hate the way so many doctors see themselves as beacons of information in our pitiful little lives. I was a straight-A student, accepted to Ivy League colleges, and could go to medical school next fall if I applied. And while there I am certain they would teach me nothing of consequence that I don't already know about women, babies, and childbirth. Intellectually, doctors have nothing on me. I have doctors in my family, so I know that, outside of pretty killer wages, they are no different from anyone else.

Granted, they are experts in a complicated field. But so are auto mechanics, and I've never had the feeling my transmission guy was talking down to me.

I will see this film if it comes to Yakima and report back.


Leone said...

I enjoy your blog but I don't really understand your position on this. Doctors saved your life during childbirth, but you don't think they know anything more than you about labor, delivery and motherhood? I think you're oversimplifying what doctors do. Sure, mechanics specialize in cars but it's not life and death.

I think you should reconsider. Your children could be growing up without a mother if it weren't for doctors and hospitals. I think most doctors deserve respect for committing their lives to helping others.

Respectfully, L