I recently received and image on Facebook of a beautiful goddess saying attached to it was attributed to Ina May Gaskin, a goddess in her own right. It said, “If a woman doesn’t look like a goddess during labour, then someone isn’t treating her right” . This statement really hit me. For the all of the time I have been living and working as a midwife here in Spain I always have the same burning question and this is, ‘why are women treated so badly here, in pregnancy and during labour?’
I understand that the obstetric system here is very old fashioned, but what I can not understand is why as human beings people do such hurtful things, things that actually go against common sense and not only medical sense. I have been assured that all Spanish doctor/midwives or birth workers are not actually sadists but that they only do what they know. But how can they not see the damage? Interestingly enough I seem to have found my answer in Ina May’s statement.
You see, I have seen the goddess descend in women during later. I have supported mothers through the jungle of birth where they meet their fear and open to reveal the goddess they truly are. I have; danced, sang, screamed, cried, rocked and walked women through hours of labour and at times I have given up on them ever making it to the other side with out medical assistance. I have doubted them and myself and time and again I have watched the goddess descend into the moment and life come forth. With each birth each visitation I am reminded of the strength of women and the power of life and that labour is the journey we all have to make to connect with the power we posses. This is true in all aspects of life not just birth, really.
But these poor Spanish birth professionals have never seen any of this. They have never been given the opportunity to witness the goddess’s descent. They have been taught they are in fact gods and that only they can relieve the suffering of birth that all women must undergo. They are taught only to fear birth and the possibility of danger within it. Which of course is there as it is in all things in life.
Armed with texts books, drugs and interventions they enter into spaces where women are stripped of all control and are helpless to their own bodies. They work in spaces where the light of birth is out shined by artificial hospital lights which do not dim to allow the slightest bit of intimacy or even humanity. These poor doctors having trained and worked for years in such a space of fear, doubt and horror, have no concept of what birth truly is and in many cases their own god complexes can not allow them to even perceive the goddess. This is why women suffer so under their care and watchful eyes. Now that I can understand it I wonder what I can do to help change it.
Of course the work I do supports women to see their own goddess and I encourage them to share their stories, but I am impatient and I do want change to come to Spain and every country where women are dis empowered by their obstetric system. But I also know it is not as simple as only changing birth, but it is a start. So I do what I can and I try to encourage every woman I assist to tell her story, to allow the goddess to descend in her daily life so that she can support a change right where she is. In reality when you look at it very closely, it is mothers who make this world. I guess this is why women have been so targeted since fire was taken from the circle, but the fact remains, in my opinion. The goddess is in our mother and in us and strong mothers make for strong children which grow to be strong adults. With each birth where a woman is able to transform comes hope for our future and this is why I am a midwife.