December 28, 2010

24 babies born in 24 hours

When my mother gave birth to my sister, there was no mistaking where she'd deliver - a maternity hospital.

She stayed a week and during that time, she was feed and watered and "trained" how to feed and care for her newborn. She was given time to recuperate, catch up on some sleep, and gather her thoughts about what an amazing thing just happened. Visitors came to the hospital, bringing flowers and gifts, and my sister's home-coming was something the entire family had time to plan. Mum was constantly monitored for any signs of post-natal depression. As they say, that was the good old days. 

Twenty-odd years later when I gave birth to my premature little girl, I was in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. I had no clue how to breastfeed. I slept on average three hours a night, my breast pump broke, and I wore a dressing gown for weeks cause I couldn't figure out how on earth you're suppose to shower or do any self-care when the little one needed it more than me. As they say, that's nowadays. 
"'There was a very quick turnaround in the delivery room. Some parts of the day were very touch-and-go. Women were in labour and we thought we were going to have to deliver in an antenatal assessment area rather than a delivery room."
This article is suppose to be about the amazing coping mechanisms of the Waitakere hospital - 24 births in as many hours - but I have to ask myself, when did the birthing process change to represent staff speed and efficiency? 
Another new mother, Titirangi woman Jo Lees, didn't hold up staff for long. She arrived at the hospital about 4.20am and gave birth to her third child, 3.31kg Tamsin, at 4.37am. 24 babies born in 24 hours - but staff cope - Hospitals - NZ Herald News
I think it's sad that things have changed so dramatically for women. Their wonderful glorious point of difference (the fact that we can actually give birth) has been superseded by the need to be quick and hassle-free, an "in an out" mentality. That is what "we" applaud nowadays. Bet your bottom dollar if men gave birth, there would be a mandatory three week recuperation period, paid (of course), and some Nationally prescribed army of caregivers at their service for when they returned home. 

Maybe churning out record-breaking births and sending new mothers home with no support network, information, or even a feeling of having accomplished something magical has something to do with our equally shameful high child abuse statistics. Why should some mothers value their own children when, we as a society have a framework set up to serve that "harden the fuck up" or "grin and bear it" attitude? No wonder post-natal depression figures are rising. 

I feel sorry for the new mothers of today and I have heart-felt compassion for those maternity nurses who don't like the "system" any more than I do, who took up the profession thinking they could be, should be, a new mother's first port of call when it comes to caring, support and understanding. 

I can almost hear it...Ding!...sorry, got to go, we've got a new one coming in. 

New? How bloody new at this mothering thing do you have to be to get some help around here?

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