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In which I learn why midwives knit

I go to Ancient Art Midwifery Institute, where the unofficial motto is, “An unassisted birth for every woman, unless she really really REALLY thinks she needs a midwife (although she probably doesn’t; she has just been convinced by society that she cannot birth alone) in which case you must be the midwife who knows everything — but does absolutely nothing!”

Seriously, Carla’s mottos are “Trust Birth,” and “Birth is Safe. Interference is Risky.”

But sitting on your hands is difficult. At least for me. Even though I know that doing nothing is important, both for the sake of normal physiological birth and for the woman — intervening can lead her to believe that her body failed by not doing that thing that we did for her, or that her body is incapable of doing that thing we did for her. My friend Angela, when she was pregnant with her 5th child (who was born unassisted at home), worried about her water breaking. With her first four births, it had always been broken by a doctor or CNM. She worried that her water wouldn’t break. She worried that her body didn’t know how, or when, would be the right way or time. That baffled me. This from a woman who had had four children without any drugs, and suddenly, with #5, she didn’t trust her body to give birth!

So, at a birth recently I sat on my hands (not hard; I don’t do much anyway) and I watched Leigh sit on hers, and it was difficult for me. I wanted to move along the labor. I wanted to “help” the mom. I just wanted to DO SOMETHING.

So, next birth I will bring some long-term knitting project. I’ve known how to knit for 20 years. I’ve never actually completed a project other than a scarf or two. But now, I’m inspired. I want to make these to help teach breastfeeding!

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