Monday, January 26, 2009

The ethics of intuition

Clare and I were talking today at Kat Man Do on Grand in St. Paul (eat there, its spicy and delicious!).
When a mother calls me to help with her birth, I occasionally get a premonition of how it will go. Not in detail, but enough. It might be a split second view or a strong feeling as if it were the moment after birth. My sister says its the Holy Spirit. My paternal Grandmother, I heard, was like this, too.

The point isn't that it happens, but rather, what is the purpose of it, what should I do?
What should I do when I get the feeling that the mother won't be having a home birth? Or won't have an easy birth, or maybe will have a cesarean. What do I do at a home visit when I walk through the house and "can't see" the birth there? Twice this absence of "seeing" or "feeling" the birth in the home was preceded by cesareans, and several times, by transfers. I hadn't been tracking it because I felt a sense that I should be more positive.
Is it important to only say yes when I "feel" the tinkle of fairy dust?
Shortly into that initial conversation I start connecting to the mother's dream and her heart and want to walk that walk beside her, very often. So does it matter where the birth is at?

Clare says its not about where the birth ends up, but its about walking with the mother.
What is the ethics of saying, I'm not sure that your birth will end up as you see it, but I'm willing to walk that walk with you... I couldn't see myself telling a sincere woman, well, you're not having a homebirth so are you sure you want to work with me and pay for a homebirth midwife?
Wouldn't she think I was nuts? Am I sure I really know each time? Isn't there a reason for Hope?

3 comments:

Graham said...

Yes, there is a reason for hope! And I can attest that no matter how a birth turns out, any mother is wildly lucky to have you at her side, with all your love, compassion, knowledge, and "tinkle of fairy dust." -Alisa

Deb CST said...

Gail,
My thoughts are that when it comes up that I can't "see" the birth happening I need to ask if I am personally to be at this birth.

We know that the simple act of observing will change a situation.

Most of us have been at births where someone in attendence has brought so much fear and anxiety that they affect the situation - whether they voice their concerns or not. I believe that the opposite can happen as well: that a women's trust in her midwife can cause her to ignore her own intuition that may be telling her she needs to be at the hospital.

Mostly I feel I need to sometimes be quiet and ask for more clarity about whether I need to say 'no'. Sometimes it may be just what the mother needs to look deeper and grow. It may not be about me at all (and generally isn't!).

Thanks for sharing your ponderings...

Spinning Babies Lady said...

Thanks for these thoughtful responses. Of course, a mother's birth isn't about me. But we are all together for a reason. I just want to be responsible for my part.

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