Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Why Dads Leave by John W. Travis M.D.

In this insightful lecture, Travis describes how the obstetric culture of causing disconnection and estrangement at birth (during the critical bonding window) causes attachment disorders among so many in western societies - and the fall out of this attachment disorder is:

1. Chronic illness
2. Depression
3. Violence
4. Addiction
5. Fundamentalism - black and white thinking
6. Materialism and greed
7. The same dynamic of disconnection turned on the environment: destruction of and exploitation of the environment (and I would say, of womanhood and the feminine in general, too.)
8. The dynamic of 'disappearing dads' - who leave emotionally or physically, as the birth of the baby triggers their own unacknowleged wounds

And I would say that the same dynamic is turned on women/the feminine as that which is turned on the environment: disconnection, exploitation and destruction - due to the wound of disconnection. For example, domestic violence, violence against women, risings rates of gender-based violence, porn and sex trafficking. Add the fundamentalism to the capitalism and throw in the misogyny and what do you have? McSociety.

The "doctrine before people" dynamic of legalistic fundamentalism is another facet of "profit before people" - and I believe it is part of this attachment disorder. Systematic institutionalised violence to mothers and babies in obstetric institutions is where the basic disconnection wounds and attachment disorders occur.

So we see the medicalisation of birth and systematic attacks against the midwifery/natural birth model. EDDs based on numbers, as if women's bodies were machines. High rate of induction of labour. High rate of intervention, hardly any normal physiological births. The birth process pushed and rushed, fear based. Baby removed from mother. Cord cut sooner than later. Baby wrapped and placed in plastic box. Babies carried in plastic containers of varying kinds. Babies sleeping apart from parents' bodies. Babies left to cry it out. Babies on rigid feeding schedules. Mothers left with birth trauma after being treated like cattle in abbatoirs. and .... disappearing dads. All this is what Travis calls "normative abuse". It's accepted as normal by our culture. If you dissent, you are considered deviant.

To heal society's wounds, what do we need instead? We need care for mother-baby dyads that support and facilitate the peak flow of oxytocin, the hormones of love and bonding - instead of medical practice that inhibits oxutocin, releases stress hormones and disrupts bonding. We need and we deserve:
*Equal access to midwifery/natural birth models for those who choose it.
* An understanding that all women gestate differently and the patience and trust to wait for labour to start spontaneously- not pathologising longer gestations.
* Supporting and respecting a woman's own rhythms during labour, no rush, force or impatience.
* Continuity of care with a self-chosen midwife.
* Continuous emotional support throughout labour and birth from self-chosen careproviders - including midwives and doulas.
* Unhindered birth, freedom of movement.
* Access to deep warm water and emotional support, which means pharmaceutical pain relief is less needed.
* Woman able to listen to her own instinct and body, so less directed pushing and more spontaneous births.
* Father often in birth pool with mother, holding her in his arms as she births if they want to.
*  Baby often caught by father or mother and placed naked straight on topless mother, for uninterrupted skin to skin contact.
* Baby kept in skin to skin contact with father (under his shirt) when mother is showering or whatever.
* Birth of placenta spontanous and unrushed.
* Cord not cut until after placenta is born, or not cut at all for "Lotus Birth".
* Baby commences breastfeeding spontaneously, at own rhythm: breastcrawl.
* Baby held and carried in sling.
* Baby fed by instinctive response to baby's communication, not rigid timetables.
* Baby co-sleeps with or near parents.
* Baby's cries are considered communication, with timely and empathetic response from parents.

This will then naturally lead to way to instinctive attachment parenting ideals, which although I don't believe should be applied puritanically (lest it become another expression of legalism, hoops of shoulds and oughts for parents to jump through as they strive to "measure up", which could be a type of bondage of its own), will allow parents to continue as they've begun, with a personal style of gentle, reflective, responsive parenting that models and teaches empathy, that helps to heal their own wounds even as they minister grace and kindness to the next generation.



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