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Why are we so unhealthy? Why are we
with fear, self loathing and lovelessness?
Perhaps the Answer lies in the Question:
Is a HOSPITAL the only ‘sane and safe place’ to birth?
Colin Knauf, Nanaimo BC
Homeostasis, harmony and holistic health are what every living organism needs and works hard, 24 hours a day, to achieve. We disrupt this vital goal and counter it daily in any number of ways within our high-tech lifestyle. We suffer in ignorance from its many consequences, sustaining damage responsible for short, long term and lifelong health loss. Rampant technological changes, developments and creations are released daily without realistic checks and balances. To quote President Obama,
must ask not only if it is profitable,
but is it right?”
We embrace the next new thing to come along with little care. We assume all offerings are benign, and if not, we would surely be warned. Wouldn’t we?
Benign is, regretfully, not the
realism of our current lives.
Multinational Corporations, their ‘Doctors of spin’ and marketing
mavens work much harder and smarter than the agencies tasked with responsibility
to protect us from harm. These agencies are overwhelmed with the oversight and
regulation of blossoming nascent technology and the biotech industry. Drugs,
products, protocols, procedures, biogenetics (1) and many other
developments are rushed to market, with insidious consequence, dealt with by
the public later. Remember cigarettes? Thalidomide?
Vioxx? Cytotec? Beta blockers? Routine x-rays of pregnant women? Children taking x-rays of their own feet in shoe stores? Or the 100-year war waged to get doctors to wash their hands between the morgue and maternity? The list of malfeasance goes on and on. Lethalness – by ignorance or design – has been killing, maiming and crippling children and adults for centuries and continues more rapidly.
The motivation for new protocols has rarely been health, but wealth: from an attitude of profit before prudence.
None of our high-tech ‘achievements’ could be worse from a long-term perspective than nosocomial(2) dystocia.(3) – excruciating, soul crushing labour resulting from birthing in a high interventionist, high-tech hospital environment. Modern hospital biophysics is rife with depravation, intimidating procedures and protocols, creating insidious and pervasive physiological and psychological impairment. A hospital is the last place on earth, with few exceptions, we should be bringing children into the world.
Fear and ensuing pain greet women and their babies in this high-tech world of unnecessary intervention. The first day of the rest of our life and our very most important day – our birth – is, for many, a traumatic experience, embedded in the body forever. It is a totally counterintuitive paradigm to separate mother and baby when they need each other most. A time of our lives nature intends to be calm, joyful, empowering, life affirming, familial and savoured. For many, this joy is lost to high-tech disruption of the vital mother and baby connection, at the most auspicious time of life.
This is a time normally enshrined by nature to create a thriving and loving partnership [symbiotic dyad] between mother and baby, insuring species survival. A time now controlled by doctors and corporations directly dominating the birth of humanity. Control is usurped from women under a façade of safety precaution to ‘save’ mother and baby, from eminent danger and ‘risk’. While the real danger and risk is created by procedures dictated to doctors and foisted on them by a consortium of corporate interests with an agenda of profit not prudence. This corporate cohort spearheads medical education, hospital procedures and policy to insure ‘safety’ – of whom? Not Mothers and babies – Shareholders?
More medical educational time is spent teaching how best to deal with and dodge liability, lease a Lexus and how to choose malpractice insurance; than how to deliver a breech birth uneventfully and safely. Fear of litigation along with lack of experience, educational deficit, laced with counter intuitive protocols, meddling monitors and medical and mechanical machinations run rampant in a medical model of birth. Aggregated, they create tension, fear, panic and pain for mothers and bad medical decisions. Leading to more depravations, tests, monitors, drugs, diagnostics and protocols creating an enormous overhead of precautions, which create more problems than they prevent and fertile ground for surgeries and opportunity to inflate profits.
This domination, domestication and control of women continues to spread worldwide through western medical and military hegemony.
Who should write the rules of birth?
Nature, naturally! As mother nature has done with excellence and immense success for eons.
Birth is the domain of women. Birthing should never have been taken away from those who know it best: women and midwives. Pregnancy is NOT a sickness. Hospital births were originally meant for emergency backup— not a commercial enterprise.
Birth has no BUSINESS in Hospitals —yet 98% of births in North America take place in a hospital! Birth cannot continue be the BUSINESS of pharma-surgical corporations, their shareholders, lawyers, insurers, underwriters, lobbyists and complacency. This consortium has mastered intimidation of women implicitly and surreptitiously. Through fear mongering and creative cowing, bolstered by a masterfully managed and complicit media, the idea that “the only safe and sane place to birth is a hospital” has been burnished into the brains of western minds and now further abroad.
This agenda vastly undermines birth and health. It is guided neither by patients’ needs nor the validity of health outcomes, such as rates of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. If any of these concerns were part of decision making – birth with very few exceptions would never take place in a hospital. Especially when you factor in statistics which show: more money per capita is spent on American health than any country in the world— and worse: with inferior results. Falling behind many nations, including developing countries.
With the known damage and poor results, how do they still hold on to this cash cow and manage to control birth?
How can any sense be made of this money grab we call ‘health care’ – which could be more accurately named ‘symptom suppression’ or by some as ‘whack a mole medicine’.
Women birthing in what was war torn Bosnia and Herzegovina are at less risk of compromised health and death than women birthing in New Jersey (US).
Most women of the world are honoured for their pivotal role in life, family, community and survival of the species— not just their ability to pay taxes and and fill a shopping mall. Why have we gone to such extremes to take their natural mandate from them? Most damning is the fact that the western birth paradigm is NOT guided by medical doctors’ contract with humanity. Upon graduation from medical school, Physicians swear to uphold the Hippocratic Oath; the first and most important of its tenets states:–
“FIRST DO NO HARM”
This simple and far reaching tenet is often coded in the original Latin: “Primum non nocere.”(4) Latin, the language of the learned, has many uses. One of which is, it is deftly used to confuse and obfuscate intent to the uninitiated and garner uninformed consent. We also often see Latin used when practitioners wish to hide, confuse, or bury the mistakes of malpractice [iatrogenesis] and harm caused by the hospital [nosocomial2] or ignoring obligation of non-malfeasance.(5) Whereas at other times, clear English is the language of choice when patients are coerced to feel responsible for outcomes and shoulder the blame of someone else’s malfeasance.
No where is this more efficiently used than at the beginning of most women’s labouring in a hospital. The nosocomial(2) effect of a hospital on the primitive brain responsible for our safety actively and sentiently shuts down labour. However in a hospital setting when their labour stops, many women, feeling totally wasted and without control; and after their privacy is intimately breeched one more time by yet another cervical exam – hear the three soul crushing words: “FAILURE to progress”.
Sadly, many women take this burden of noncompliance upon themselves at their most vulnerable time of life. At a time when they should be experiencing joy, elation and their amazing pinnacle of accomplishment. Birth is the time nature has created for women’s transformation and complete engagement with life. Instead they ‘beat themselves up’ as ‘failures’, to accomplish what women have done successfully for ever. Secretly they ask themselves: “Why am I so inept?” The answer never comes truthfully.
At their lowest, feeling: great pain, exhausted, hungry, undermined and totally thwarted – they quickly capitulate control to the ‘gods in green’. Often leading to uninformed consent for artificial and painful induction to overcome cessation of labour.
No one explains to these poor frightened women that stalling labour is a natural consequence of the brain’s survival mechanism(3). A prehistoric, simple and powerful part of the mammalian brain intended to insure optimal birth and continuation of the species. When it detects risk or compromise to the safety of mother or baby it sends out chemical ‘stop’ codes. Instantaneously conveyed, these chemical signals curtail natural infusion of the birthing ‘cocktail’. This is the biochemical melange which previously had activated and induced cervical ripening and pelvic plasticity along with a large infusion of oxytocin to start contractions.
Oxytocin the ‘love drug’, as named by some, is a feel good hormone responsible for love, mate selection, conception, serenity, bonding, triggering lactation readiness and controlled progressive contractions. Pivotal and essential for a safe and optimal birth are ‘gentle’ progressive contraction of the uterus. Thus preventing birth trauma to both mother and baby. Biofeedback safely regulates increasing pressure on baby and uterus.
In our high interventionist world however, a call
“Failure to Progress” promotes intravenous synthetic induction. Drugs are administered which create violent and aggressive contractions. These create fear, pain and high risk to mother and baby. In many cases the aggressive ‘squeeze’ distresses baby, setting off all the monitors beeping. Panic ensues triggering yet more procedures, drugs and wealth – not health. The result? A rush to the operating room for a C-section.
One out of every three babies in America – 33% are born under the knife! These babies see their mothers for the first time through eyes soaked and blurred by their mother’s blood. They enter a disorienting, intimidating, overly bright, noisy, acrid and foreign world. Babies are often whisked away for a series of indignities and diagnostics in the absence of their protector and womb mate of nine months. Then later, left in a sensory depravation chamber until mom is re-upholstered and clear minded for the reunion. All this after their already arduous, frightening, painful and hellish experience leaves them at high risk of neural damage. Not a gracious welcome to the world.
We know these compounded violations of safe and joyful birth trigger PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] of the highest magnitude, likely more devastating than the same disorder triggered by atrocities experienced by war veterans. PTSD is just one in many of the toppling ‘dominoes’ due to harm from physiological and psychological stress from hospital birth. Dominoes of harm cascade.
This natural event should have been the foundation and building blocks of lifelong health. Instead, brain disorders often ensue. The dynamic partnership of mother and baby, vital to harmony, is put asunder because of the interruption at nature’s vital ‘window of opportunity’ offered to the birthing dyad to ‘latch, attach and bond.’ Biochemical interplay between mother and baby – intended to insure bonding, health and survival – doesn’t happen. Resulting in a path paved to the pharmacy, with toppling ‘dominoes’ from birth.
Peace and people suffer under the thumb
of our planet’s top two profit centres:
War armaments and Patented medicine.
The vital sustaining dyad responsible for health is never truly ‘born’ – and consequently: bonding, joy, harmony, health and peace are denied. That is, the peacefulness, which nature intends to transcend family, community, and nation to encompass and sustain the planet. The Peace that we need so badly, to heal ourselves and the planet, escapes many at our birth.
The Western Medical Model of Industrialized Birth, systemic in America, has spread fast and far to many countries, by a multinational medical and military hegemony, which continues unabated. Usurping control, through domination and domestication, undermines human well-being while reaping incredible profits. It may look good for the economy and a wealthy few, but it is not sustainable and causes unfathomable harm for the bulk of humanity.
Postpartum depression, most prominent in America; turns the world upside down for 14% of birthing women.
The medical profession still claims not to know what causes postpartum depression. The No. 1 Selling drug in America is ABILIFY® (aripiprazole) prescribed for depression – you have to ask why?
I believe we know why but choose not to acknowledge that it is nosocomial(2) – for fear of killing the ‘Golden Goose’.
The loving touch, caresses and closeness of a warm compassionate body are vital to regulation of a newborn’s heart beat, breathing, warmth, development of organic systems, biorhythms and synchronizing and fortifying a dynamic symbiotic partnership. This vital loving relationship whose imprint shapes, bolsters and braces all personal interactions and relationships now, and in their future. A bond so strong, once in place, no one can pull it apart. It empowers a call to greatness and miraculous strength.
Power(7) so great, women have lifted cars off their trapped children. Often called ‘mother bear’ spirit, women imbued and empowered by natural birth come away vanquishing fear. They are transformed and exhilarated by awareness of their innate and amazing abilities: the miracle of creation and the fulfilment of optimal and joyful birth. This is a sacred strength and empowerment to be celebrated and honoured. A collaboration created out of maternal trust, faith in nature and women’s innate dynamism. Continually infused with love and life-giving oxytocin, mother, baby and family are destined to take a path less traveled…
A worthy direction that bodes well
for personal and global survival.
The three hallmarks of peaceful cultures are:
-natural birth; - mother’s milk of human kindness (rich with health fortifying antibodies and the best possible nutrition), the true elixir of life; - along with close bodily contact for the primal year.
All three fall in place easily when women trust themselves, their
amazing natural miracle-making ability and when they birth in a safe, quiet,
private and comfortable place. Many of us call that place – HOME!
Colin Knauf, Nanaimo BC
1 Biogenetics – Biotechnology is the use
of living systems and organisms to develop or make useful products
[i.e. clamping and cutting the umbilical cord quickly to capture cord blood from neonates, for commercial purposes – leaving neonates with less than optimum blood volume putting them at risk] Does this fall under iatrogenesis or nosocomial harm? Malfeasance, non-maleficence, malpractice, cupidity or possibly harvesting ‘organs’ without consent?
2 Nosocomial, that which results from a
environment ie. infection, error, etc.
3 Dystocia, very difficult labour
4 Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase meaning "first, do no harm." The phrase is sometimes recorded as primum nil nocere.
5 Non-maleficence, which is derived from
the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of bioethics that all healthcare
students are taught in school and is a fundamental principle throughout the
world. Another way to state it is that, "given an existing problem, it may
be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more
harm than good." It reminds the health care provider that they must
consider the possible harm that any intervention might do.
It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit. Non-maleficence is often contrasted with its corollary, beneficence. [From the Glossary of Health Insurance Terminology: Section N / Item 9]
6 Amygdala or primitive brain is a tiny
but important portion of the brain that guards against damage to the continuation
of the species. It monitors our surroundings and environment for potential
threats and risk. It is sometimes called the ‘salamander brain’. It was the
first brain from the beginning of time in our evolution and has not changed
much. Its duty is simple and extremely important. Simple is good in many cases.
It was designed to keep us safe from harm and gives the ability to fight or run
by ramping up the body parts necessary for ‘fight or flight’ and shutting down
all other non-essential activities to conserve energy for the ‘hyper-boost’
necessary for survival. It is especially vigilant when birthing to insure we
are able to get back to the ‘cave’ and safely birth when we get wind of the ‘sabre
tooth tiger’ or other nocuous threat. Such as loss of privacy and comfort. Both
essential for our mental state – offering us the
intended mental state and brain wave frequency best suited for a safe and simple birth. When in the ‘zone’ a women is alert and capable, but in a different ‘head space’ or brain wave frequency promoting a hormonal cocktail inducing a natural meditative state acting like a mild sedative and pain reliever while oxytocin does its work to deliver baby while filling the body and baby with an ambient feeling of
7 Power: ability or capacity to perform or act effectively; a specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude; Often used in the plural: ‘her powers of concentration’; Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might; Ability or official capacity to exercise control; Authority: a person, group, or nation having great influence or control over others: the western powers. Might of a nation, political organization, or similar group; Forcefulness; effectiveness: a novel of unusual power.
Colin Knauf, Nanaimo B.C.,
Please see the Graphic Design created by Colin – on the back cover of this 2014 Spring Edition; and the companion story (on p.59) “A Boy and his Butterfly” §
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