Recently read a wonderful interview with Penny Simpkin as she answers questions from Mother’s Advocate about the many benefits of Labor Support. IMO, one of the most pertinent quotes from the interview…
“I think what we find is that a woman has great emotional needs during labor. If those are not met, she’s depleted. She may become depressed — we’ve found that there’s more depression in women who have not had adequate labor support. So this can have ramifications that go far beyond the birth experience. When she feels well supported, valued, respected, cared for, nurtured, guided — she feels empowered. And after a birth like that, she’ll say, “I did it.” She knows that she has that strength. I would hope for every woman, however she chooses to give birth, that she comes out of it feeling the sense of power, capability — accomplishment.” (emphasis mine)
That’s what I would hope for too!!! To me this is a perfect follow up to the birth story I shared yesterday. And while I know Ms. Simpkin speaks about “every woman” I am painfully reminded, as I work across this country that women of color are less valued, receive less support, are less respected and are devalued during their labor experiences. This is increasingly true if the woman of color is using Medicaid… as if a method of payment is a statement about your humanity. It’s no wonder women of color, specifically African American women, are more likely to experience post partum depression, among other things.
In FACT…. I just had a conversation with a woman who had such an experience. Wanted an un-medicated birth. Arrived to hospital at 5/6 cm dilated. Had no one there to support her. Received an epidural. HATED it and now is having a rough time processing her birth experience. Makes me VERY sad I was unable to be there for her. She is now considering becoming a doula!!! Are you a woman of color with ANY interest in childbirth and labor support? Let me know. We DESPERATELY need you in our ranks to educate, to support and to help spread the information needed to create a better birthing environment for our girls and women. But I digress….
Read Penny Simpkin’s entire interview about labor support HERE. It’s a great interview!
In Birth and Love,
Follow me On Twitter @SistaMidwife