maternity education for primary school children

(1 Post)
gdner Tue 05-Jan-16 20:05:11

Standardised Maternity Education for Primary School Children

I know what an influential group Mumsnet is, so I am asking for your support in my campaign to get this type of education implemented.
A little info about me: I am a mum of 4 (grown-up) kids. I work as a Birth Doula, am a member of Doula UK and a Research Networker with the NCT – been a member of the NCT for over 30 years!
My reasons for embarking on this campaign?
Too many birth experiences are negative and even traumatic; even worse, too many of these bad experiences are totally unnecessary;
After an experience like this, a woman will, at best, lose self -confidence and, at worst, become severely depressed. This will negatively affect her relationship with her baby as well as all other relationships in her life. So the repercussions can be huge.
A baby can also be badly affected by “bad” or unkind births, both physically and emotionally, in addition, of course, to being affected by the mother’s emotional state.
Remember, in most cases, these scenarios are completely unnecessary.
Why/how has this state of affairs happened?
Over the last 60 years, there have been efforts to make births kinder and more respectful to women and their babies, by organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust, AIMS (the Association for the Improvement in Maternity Services) etc. At the same time, there have been a steady increase in the mechanisation and medicalisation of childbirth and in reports from women of traumatic experiences.
The most compelling answer to this puzzle is to point the finger of blame at the CULTURE of our society. It is now one where most of us have less confidence in the power of women’s bodies to give birth, where there is a general fear of childbirth, where there is an over reliance on drugs and machinery (partly driven by this lack of confidence and fear).One of the sad results is that women and their carers cannot tap into their instincts, or, even where they can, they don’t trust them. This leads to more reliance on machines and equipment, and so on; the one feeds the other.
How will educating the young help?
The only way we can halt this depressing cycle is through changing the culture and the best way to change a culture is through education.
Why concentrate on the very young?
There is very little point starting this education when the child is 15 or even 11; by that age, they will have already absorbed the culture, through the media, celebrity news, TV programmes, as well as through hearing what people around them are saying. And that culture is one, predominantly, of fear of childbirth and lack of confidence in women’s bodies, and a general glorification of the medicalisation of childbirth.
We must start educating our children on this at the ages of 3 or 4. Remember, this is not sex education.
At these ages, the education would mainly take the form of a display of childbirth as it relates to nature - animals, flowers etc.
After that, I propose that we teach a couple of hours per year with added time for discussion as the child gets older, talking about the naturalness of childbirth and how women’s bodies are designed to give birth. We should also discuss (age appropriately) how lucky we are in this society, that, if things do go wrong, we have the technology to help. As long as it is used correctly and applied kindly, the birth experience for mother and baby can still be kind and respectful.
I am, currently, trying to make these points at meetings of a government group called, “The First 1001 Days”. The first 1001 days refers to the period from conception to year 2. This group stresses the importance of positive interventions during this period, which all of us would endorse. However, in their document, this group appear to have forgotten the impact of childbirth on the emerging person.
I have written detailed proposals (including lesson plans for 4 to 6 year olds) on this and sent it to a couple of members of the group, but have yet to receive feedback. The secretary mailed me recently to say she would discuss it at the next meeting, (perhaps early next year).
If any of you would like to see a copy of this proposal, please mail me at
helensassoon@yahoo.com
Also, if any of you would be happy to support me in this campaign, please indicate so in the box below. I am hoping that, if I have a groundswell of opinion with me on this, the possibility of this education actually happening will increase.
Then, we will be on our way to enabling childbirth to be the fulfilling and awe-inspiring experience it should be for as many women as possible.
Thank you.
Helen.

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