By Tracy G. Cassels
We like to think of our society as constantly moving ‘forwards’. We gain more rights, society becomes more equal, and we admit to problems passed and insist they will not happen again. However, one realm where we seem to be heading backwards is that of birth. Today, women are fighting for the right to birth at home, interventions are at an all-time high, and midwives are being shunted to the side by the medical community. It’s a sad state of affairs, and one that deserves our attention.
In lieu of this, I have decided to share something that I had thought was really just a great piece of personal history to have for me, but I now believe it can offer advice, support, and information for those fighting to get women the choices they deserve when it comes to birth. Starting today I will start sharing some pdfs of an old newspaper that was written and distributed in the 1980s in Ontario, Canada – Re: Birth. It was created by a group called Choices in Childbirth and the goal was to promote women’s options for their births (my mother belonged and contributed which is why I have the copies and why they mean so much to me). At the time, having a homebirth was illegal in Ontario and by default so was having a midwife as they did not have hospital privileges (although midwifery itself was not illegal). The women and men who created this newspaper were also actively involved in the political realm of fighting for birth choices; and they were successful in their efforts with women in Ontario now having licensed midwives or OBGYNs to choose from, homebirth as a safe and viable option, or a trip to the hospital or birthing centre.
I share this with the hope that it may provide helpful information for those continuing the fight in their hometowns, or at the very least will provide some very interesting reading. I have several editions (though not all as my mother couldn’t find some of them) and I will be posting them over the next while. Please feel free to download and share with anyone you think might be interested! I do believe we have a long way to go before birth returns to its place as a normal and natural state for woman and baby, but hopefully we’re on the way back.
HERE IS THE LINK FOR THE FIRST EDITION: Rebirth, Volume 1, Number 1
(The file is too large to upload here so I apologize for the external link, but it’s the only way! You can download the file once you open the link, which only leads you to Adobe so it’s legit.)