See, Dr. Helmut Schlosser and his wife Veronica (who was a midwife), had a growing and thriving practice, catching babies in the homes of their clients. They had such beautiful rates of unmedicated natural births that women would seek them out at a rate that worried the medical establishment. And so Dr. Schlosser was charged in court.
Was it legal? Could women really have babies at home? Is it safe to give birth and not be attended by a surgeon?
The judge ruled no. A supposed victory for the OB/GYNs who had instigated the investigation and charges.
But the judge did leave one caveat. If you were a client and were close to your due date and could not find another doctor to attend you at this short notice you could continue with Dr. Schlosser.
So, my mother never looked for another doctor. She birthed at home in Dr. Schlosser's patented birth chair just the way she wanted. She didn't need a judge to decide for her what was good and right for her and her baby.
It was a boy. My older brother.
Seven months later she found out she was pregnant with me.
What was a mama to do? The home birth she loved was now illegal.
Well, not everything that is legal is right and everything that is right is not necessarily legal.
She called Dr. Schlosser and Veronica again. And she birthed me at home. Just the way she wanted. On her own terms, listening to her own intuition.
But that was in the 70's. Surely things have changed?
Home birth is on the rise in the United States to the tune of 20% since 2004! So one might (naively) assume that home birth is accepted as a normal choice some women make.
Fast forward to 2001. I needed a midwife. Through the referral of a friend I found one. She was everything we were looking for. She was experienced and knowledgeable, comforting and mothering. She was a woman of faith both in God and in birth. She was also unlicensed, a fact she let us know at our first visit. But, a fact I already knew from the woman who referred me.
Did it bother me that she was not licensed to attend births? Well, given my history--that I was born into Dr. Schlosser's illegal hands--no! I was not bothered by the fact. Other factors were more important to me.
|Born in a loving home surrounded by loving people|
It turns out that not that much has changed since the 70's, however. On November 15, armed agents of the California Medical Board rushed into her home and arrested her at gun point. Her crime? Attending home births. She was charged with "practicing medicine without a license."
Let's get something straight from the get-go:
I have the right to be attended in childbirth by whomever I want so long as that person does not misrepresent herself/himself to me. If I want to be attended by an OB, a chiropractor, a nurse, a midwife, my grandmother or a witch doctor that is MY CHOICE.
Does this make sense to anyone:
California has some of the loosest abortion laws in the country. I could choose to abort my baby up to 24 weeks in utero (that's viable, people!) with absolutely no restriction and not necessarily attended by a doctor or surgeon (a nurse, physicians assistant or other trained person will do). That is completely LEGAL. But if I want to give birth to a full-term healthy baby outside of a hospital that's a no-no. That might be risky.
What happened to all this CHOICE? How can I have the legal right to NOT carry a child but not the legal right to decide WHERE and HOW that child can be born? It's as if making the choice to have a baby is the last choice we get to make. After that one choice the California Medical Board wants to make the rest of the choices for us.
We heard so much in the last election cycle about a war on women. There was a lot of rhetoric and spin and political merry-making going on. Well, this is it, girls. THIS is a war on women. It's a blatant attack on our choices! It's an attack on every woman--whether you choose to birth in a hospital with an obstetrician or at birth center with a midwife or unattended--just you and your spouse. It is our right to make these choices. Our rights as women, our rights as parents.
Of all the political ranting I've done over the years, with all the rallies and protests I've attended, with all the votes I've cast, it turns out that perhaps the most political thing I've ever done is to give birth to my seven children in my bedroom instead of in a hospital room, attended by a traditional Christian midwife instead of a surgeon.
Midwife attended home birth as a act of civil disobedience. Who would've thought it?
If you agree, if you value your freedom, if you want the freedom to choose home birth and midwifery, consider helping my midwife by donating to her legal defense fund.
I'm hosting a silent auction with all proceeds going to Brenda's defense fund. We have everything from photography to handmade fashions and beautiful crafts. Check it out and bid on something! Justice For Brenda. You can help a truly noble woman and a critical cause and do a little Christmas shopping!!!