26 responses to “Birth And The God Complex”

  1. Midwifery is catching

    THat is so raw and true and open and will entirely fall on deaf ears.

  2. Grant Horsfall


    Against all of this you still managed to hold to a Lotus Birth under C/S, again, Well Done!

    What would be the chances of that today, if midwifes like you hadn’t been doing all that you have been doing, for years!

    Likewise your dedication & efforts now will underpin the changes that are yet to come. As someone wise once said, the first step to acceptance, is rejection.

    Hang in there!


  3. Radical Midwife

    I feel the same way whenever I must interact with hospital-based providers, which luckily for me, isn’t more than a few times a year, otherwise I would go mad and likely quit. It is beyond infuriating. For me, though, it is the hugely faulty and frequent bad advice and policy on breastfeeding that makes me want to scream on a regular basis!

  4. trish

    Yes, breastfeeding too. Almost every time I help a new mother to breastfeed, I hear about some doctor’s comments or hospital policies that make no sense and that really crippled her first steps in breastfeeding. And then there are the hundreds of times I hear doctors telling women to wean due to various medications that are perfectly safe for breastfeeding mothers. So it isn’t only in the realm of birth that this non-evidence-based treatment by doctors in going on. Some days I get so frustrated. I’ve actually lost a lot of respect for doctors. It’s really hard for me to trust them.

  5. Rebekah Costello

    Unbelievable. God complex indeed. That poor family and poor you! *hugs* Don’t give up, you are such an inspiration.

  6. midwife of the plains

    Dear Lisa~
    I usually feel quite awful and polluted when I am labeled or viewed as a person who endangers the lives of mama and baby. This type of name calling and labeling (“hippy midwife”) creates a very difficult thick toxic environment in which an open mama and family are supposed to make clear headed decisions. Oh how disheartening. And how this harms babes and moms as they carve out their space into this world.
    I send you thoughts of peace and healing. I really do understand the feelings of sadness and frustration. First do no harm. Evidence-based practice. Unity.


  7. Pamela

    It’s so crazy how this happens – no matter the country! I always wonder why even do the testing if the results are going to be interpreted so carelessly and freely by someone with a plan that was decided *prior* to the testing??

    Ugh. I wonder why they even test anything. Why not just immediately assume you know what is going on and do the course of care you desire? Oh, wait, that is pretty much what they do.

  8. slh35661

    I work in the hospital environment and I can say this sounds like you hit a nest of nut cases. Where I have worked this wouldn’t have been such a crazy non-evidence based discussion. I am not saying there wouldn’t have been some very intense discussions between the physicians and the parents about risks and antibiotics. But where I have worked, except one place that was somewhere I didn’t want to work long, the physicians I have worked with would have taken a look at those results and said, “No infection…no need for antibiotics.” However, now we practice in an environment where we have to practice defensive medicine and CYA practice takes over. This is likely what was going on. They felt they had to say take the antibiotics because they felt if they didn’t say that and something happened to that baby the parents could come back and sue. So much for evidence based practice though, huh.

  9. Sheryl

    Please don’t give up. They are harming innocent women and children every time they perform an unnecessary intervention.

    We can never give up.

  10. Cinnamon

    Please, for the love of mamas and babies everywhere, DON’T GIVE UP!!!!

  11. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks everyone for great feedback. Regrouping is sometimes difficult, but putting it on paper (or blog) really helps. Everything I do re-inforces my firm belief that home birth is the safest option, for every reason you can think of.

  12. lovebubs

    I hear and feel your frustration. Its something that I continually being faced with and I am eagerly waiting the day that I can actually speak without being tainted by the ‘student’ title. I know that in the scheme of things there seems that few of the ‘god’ like want to hear what we have to say but regardless of that fact, we are upholding and fighting for the rights of the women and the power of birth as normal. I sometimes wonder whether I will ever make a difference in the way I hope but birth is worth fighting for. You are truly one amazing and inspirational woman, don’t ever give up because for me and many others, you have shown us what birth is and can be when all hope seems lost. I can only hope that I continue on the path that you have laid because I have faith that change can happen, no matter the extent – its worth every ounce of effort and love. Mwah xoxo

  13. Rose

    You hit the nail. no. Obstetrician on the Head Lisa! They truely do think they know better,than evidence-based best practice!
    As you once said to me “Your doing an AMAZING job!”.
    Lots of love and hugs xox

  14. Kat Dohnt

    Yep, It’s a jungle in there and if you actually make an informed choice – which isn’t exactly what they want you to do then all hell breaks loose! It’s CRAZINESS!!! What about women’s choice and control! I PRAY THAT WOMEN CAN MAKE THEIR OWN CHOICES AND BE SUPPORTED EVEN IN THE HOSPITAL SETTING – Hopefully in my life time. Meanwhile, YAY for home birth! Keep your chin up wise woman! Love Katxx

  15. Anonymous

    Lisa, finally I HAVE to respond to a blog!. Do you realise that women dont need just ‘home-birth advocating’ midwives working outside the hospitals but those that WILL go into bat for them against this very system we cannot always avoid? You are the rare one meeting that challenge… (and why do you think B and I picked you!) You can be the true advocate of women’s wishes when they cannot, against the very pressures you have described. YOU know it could have been better, and every time you speak out,win or not, labelled or not, is another time the “God’s” have to think a little harder…if their respect is lacking it is only opinion…Maybe they WILL reflect a little too (just privately-to save face) … i know you wanted change for this lady now..not to ‘be right’, and it is sooo frustrating. Your motives are just and true, so be encouraged. we need you and value you. so what if the God’s dont??? Your persistance in researching evidence based practice in this case over the lst few weeks has been inspiring to me. In poor old adelaide change may be years away, but look ahead. I see you… 65 years old with even more scalps/wisdom/knowledge and evidence under your belt, and personal references (to your inate beauty and style, mind you) will be forgotten in the chorus of women and babies who have benefitted from your persistance. You will still be beautiful and colourful and intelligent… but if you want to wear a black/grey power suit for your next encounter… go for it! (that’d make ‘em think twice)
    You might have been labelled, but yippee! they had nothing else to throw at you! Rest in the peace of knowing you gave the family your all, as a midwife AND a person. (that’s why you feel/felt so jaded by the attacks!) You are an inspiration.I promise you that birth we both want and talked about today is gonna be! My pressie to you!

  16. Lisa Barrett

    Many thanks R. I will receive the gift with open arms. xxx

  17. The Thinking Mama

    The post-birth scenario sounds just like what we experienced. We homebirthed and transferred for breathing difficulties. As the placenta was still attached my poor babe was subjected to a battery of tests, none of which proved infection, and when we refused antibiotics the paed threatened to assume care. Several times. Until we gave in.

    My midwife supported us in the hospital environment and was labelled too, and tormented for her involvement in a homebirth. But without her I don’t know what we would have done. Please don’t give up. You do win every time you bring the knowledge of the truth to parents and safety to bubbas.

  18. Anonymous

    I am just wondering at what point in Midwifery training the interpretation of blood tests is learned, and stastical methodology, if at all? Borderline platelets (one of the first measure to change in neonates) and a history of prolonged ROM would be more than enough to change this scenario from a relatively “low” risk one to a higher-risk situation, regardless of how stable/unstable the baby actually is. It isWe all know that neonates can go south pretty quickly with very little warning (little physiologic reserve),

    I am not a physician, but hold graduate degrees in health sciences, and I feel that your emphasis on preserving this mother’s “birth experience” while heedlessly ignoring medical facts and opinions (yes, doctors have opinions! that is why they train for 10+ years and why sometimes their opinions are based on EXPERIENCE, not facts) borders on criminality.

    Feel free to delete this comment if you wish, I can see that you present a one-sided opinion on this space.

  19. Lisa Barrett

    Thanks anonymous, I have never deleted a comment but would certainly not need permission to do so.

    There is not a one sided argument. Did you not read the stats that came from RCOG? If you haven’t read them they appear in the GBS post. Aternatively just log on to their website and look it up for yourself.

    As you can see from the mail. There was no infection in mother or baby.

  20. Billie

    When my older sister was born at home almost 25 years ago the doctors were so convinced of their EDD they wanted to induce my mother. They ignored her when she continued to tell them when her EDD (as calculated by herself and my father) really was and was told she was endangering her baby. Thanks to the support of midwives like yourself my mother was given the option of having daily urine tests, with the agreement that if any protein was found she would be induced immediately. As it was no protein was ever found and my sister arrived very happily on her due date in an almost text book like birth. She flew out into the world and continues to do so every day!

    I have read some texts that say if a mother has any “odd feelings” during pregnancy she should immediately contact her care provider, as at the end of the day a mothers instincts are sometimes more conclusive than any obvious symptoms and tests. Why is it then that so many professionals ignore the feelings of a mother and deem her irrational, and tell her she is endangering her child’s life? After hearing stories like these it is no wonder to me that so many women question themselves as mothers and experience horrible emotions surrounding their births!

  21. Anonymous

    There’s increasing evidence that sub-clinical infection in fetuses/neonates contributes to subtle brain damage. You had a high-risk situation here, in the UK there wouldn’t have been any tests for infection believe me. It would have been straight on antibiotics. Neonatal sepsis can strike very fast, and any tests are not 100%. I wouldn’t rely on tests, even if after the event they’re negative.

    You’re fighting the wrong battle here, believe me.

  22. Lisa Barrett

    Hi there Anonymous, please post your information and evidence here for us all to see.

  23. Aerin-sol

    I find it interesting that several months later, anon still hasn’t elaborated upon his/her claims with clinical studies or even specific anecdotal evidence.

  24. Kate

    Hang on here – they said it was high risk and they were "wrong"??? Who says?

    Sounds to me like they were NOT saying "despite the tests there IS infection" they were saying "despite the tests saying there is no infection NOW – there is a high risk of one". Sounds to me like they were right in fact. Or at least you have no evidence against that.

    So the OB was taking precautions. Surely any normal parent would want that?? Why wouldn't you want antibiotics? What harm do you really think that's going to do? Yet it could prevent an infection from getting a hold if it happens/has happened.

    Sorry but this just sounds very precious and me-me-me about birth experiences that frankly don't matter in the face of a child's safety. The obstetrician sounds like they did the right thing. They took precautions to protect the child.

  25. KFD

    I think it's really just a clash of worldviews — some people believe that there should be minimal intervention unless there is an actual, diagnosed problem, and some people believe that every precaution should be taken to prevent problems from occurring. In the case of antibiotics, many people in the world take an ethical stance to not use antibiotics in a preventative way.

    It also depends how much you trust in statistical methods. My training is in qualitative methods of research, mostly because after doing a year of statistical-based research training I felt like it made so many assumptions that did not apply to everybody. Of course we need these statistics, I don't doubt that. But many in the medical field hold to statistics as if they themselves are the truth rather than a representation of 'likelihood'. Sure, the mother was at a 'high risk' of infection — that is, she was quite likely to get an infection. But there was still the small (statistical) chance that she wouldn't. And she didn't. So the best thing to do when presented with high risks is to monitor, not to immediately abandon your ethics for the different ethics of the doctor.

    The same thing applies with older mothers I believe. They are 'higher risk' statistically, but we all know older mothers who gave birth naturally, at home, with no problems — I even know one in her late 40s who held out for 14 days overdue, and she and the baby and the birth were fine.

    I think we need midwives who are willing to go into the hospitals and fight these battles, because not all of us can have homebirths. When I had my daughter I couldn't afford the homebirth fee so gave birth at the hospital with the random midwives on duty. But they were still trying to soften the agressive medical procedures that try to reduce giving birth to some kind of illness!

  26. peter

    We are having our 2nd child now. We thought we are the only ones who think that SOME Obgyns are freaking God-complex maniac delusionists. I am beginning to see and hear more and more power abuse by some medical fraternity. Mothers and midwifes please unite and fight to protect your babies from these monsters (how else do you call these who wanna even hurt a tiny baby?) ! All power to you Crafer.
    peter (wombax@yahoo.com.au)