The word perspective keeps cropping up for me a lot right now. I’ve learnt over the years that when I see and hear a certain word repeated a lot that there is a message for me to learn and maybe to share.
So I’ve been pondering on the word perspective for a few days and quite a few things have cropped up for me some of which I will share in this and future blog posts.
Today I want to discuss making a difference to birth.
The Birth Trauma Association (BTA) supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience. They estimate that, in the UK alone, this may result in 10,000 women a year developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, as many as 200,000 more women may feel traumatised by childbirth and develop some of the symptoms of PTSD.
We are approaching 3,000 clients who have attended Wise Hippo Birthing classes so it is fair to say that the number of women we have helped have ‘the right birth on the day’ is tiny in comparison to the estimates made by the BTA of women feeling traumatised.
It’s not just us at The Wise Hippo seeking to make a difference to birth. I am currently writing a set of mini-sessions to help our instructors support those women who are deemed to have special circumstances have ‘the right birth on the day’. It has been heartwarming to have our Midwife population share some of the great things that are happening in their Trusts and how individuals are striving to make change. Tamara is collecting birth footage and interviewing some of these great professionals to hopefully shine a light on just how big of a difference a relative small action can take.
When you look at the numbers though it can feel overwhelming and we can be left wondering will big change ever occur? Can we really make a difference?
Then whilst I was pondering on the word perspective and googling for something inspirational I came across the following story of the Starfish by Loren Eisley.
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked “What are you doing?” The youth replied “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die”. “Son” the man said “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? How can you possibly make a difference?” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said “I made a difference for that one.”
There it was, my message to learn and to share.
To all of us striving to change the face of birthing, any time you hear a horror story of birth, feel the pain of another woman let down by the system, whatever negativity it is, remember the last woman you helped have ‘the right birth on the day’ and say to yourself…