One of the blogs that I have on my “feeds” is American Mum, and today she posted a link to an article about Penny Simkin that appeared in The Seattle Times. I read it, and it’s great! I like how it blends in a historical perspective — including snapshots of the typical hospital birth experiences through the decades, as it talks about the rise and fall of various procedures, including twilight sleep, general anesthesia, when men were banned from the birthing area, etc. — to create a backdrop for birth as it is today. But this article is about more than that, talking about aspects of Penny Simkin’s work as a doula, childbirth instructor, and author. It’s a wonderful article, and everyone who has ever even thought about having a baby should read it!
One of the things I liked most about the article, is the statement from the T-shirts that she designed: “How Will She Remember This Birth?” These were shirts for doulas to wear to hospital births, to remind nurses about how important it is for women to feel safe and protected, and to be treated well in labor. It reminds me of a former post of mine about the importance of a woman’s feelings about her labor, and it’s nice to see a confirmation of my belief backed up by such a reliable and knowledgeable source.
The fact that women accurately remember their birth experiences for long periods of time — perhaps all of their lives — is based on Penny Simkin’s following up with several clients from the early years. She had saved their birth experiences from twenty years before, and was able to track down 24 women and interviewed them again about their birth experiences. It was remarkable how close the original stories were to the stories recounted twenty years later. Many women carried the same feelings that their birth experience evoked with them, and some enjoyed retelling the story, while others broke down in tears at remembering the shame and negative feelings they had, because of the way they were treated. Twenty years later, they were still crying about their treatment at birth. Oh, yeah, it’s important!
Filed under: birth experience, Uncategorized Tagged: | baby, birth education, birth experience, childbirth, childbirth education, DONA, doula, education, health, home birth, hospital birth, labor and birth, penny simkin, pregnancy, pregnant, twilight sleep