In the Netherlands, there is a large portion of women who plan to give birth at home compared to a hospital. This shows that while there have been medical advances, women are keeping to the old traditions of giving birth at home. This is quite opposite compared to the United States. Using houses for medical practices was quickly diminished when the medical revolution ran through the States. People began to rely more heavily on going to a hospital instead of staying at home, and that became the new tradition. Its possible that some people think it is unsafe to have home births, but the research from Professor Simone Buitendijk discussed by Jonge A., et al. shows that with proper equipment, women should feel free to choose between a home birth and a hospital birth and not be concerned about safety. This reflects the idea that women and mothers should feel free to choose how to give birth without feeling criticized or chastised. I think it also shows the passion that the Netherlands has for its families, because they are working to show families that what they are doing is safe and that they are in good hands.
Among the Inuit, giving birth is a much more spiritual event than in the States. Here, we are so concerned with everything just going the way it should and having both mom and baby be healthy and that’s it. Giving birth has been medicalized to a very specific “cookie-cutter” type of formula that doesn’t allow for much wiggle room, in order to reduce errors or injuries. The Inuits, however, have a much stronger connection to the process of child birth. As described by the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, the mother is assisted by older, experienced women during birth, and is then in constant contact with her baby and communities often celebrate the birth of a new child. While many babies have been born in hospitals during recent times, Betty-Anne Daviss discussed that there is a strong push to bring it back to a more traditional experience of having births at home. This shows the strong cultural ideas of how important a family is if the entire community celebrates births and how important it is to be a woman who has gone through childbirth.
In Vietnam, the birthing system has some flaws. A lot of women don’t know how to give a safe birth and don’t have the resources to do so. There are also geographic restrictions because the hospitals are sometimes 3 hours away. The Vietnamese rely on midwifes to have information from doctors passed on. Many of the women don’t trust the health centers because there is such a strong cultural influence to keep tradition of having your baby at home within your village. This is not quite the case for the United States. Women often are able to make the choice of where they give birth and how because we have gone so far in our medical advances and there are hospitals just about everywhere. As shown in the Nick Ahlmark and Nicole Precel video, Vietnamese women don’t really have a choice if they don’t have the means to get to a health clinic or can’t leave for some reason. There are strong cultural forces in Vietnam because these families want to keep traditions of burying their placenta. This really emphasizes their ideas that women should do what they can to stay with tradition and that families often follow tradition without hesitation.
This photo really spoke to me because it pushes the boundaries of the traditional ways to give birth to a baby. I think a dominant idea throughout America is that a woman should give birth to her baby vaginally, in a hospital, with every doctor ready to go. But recently, that’s been challenged by a lot of people. I think there are some people who believe that if you don’t got this traditional route, you’ll have something go wrong, or you aren’t being a responsible mother, or you are too ignorant. But, there are so many other ways to give birth that aren’t any less responsible, or beautiful. Many women now are opting to go for a more natural birth at home, or in a tub like the photo shows. What this should show is that there is no wrong way (as long as no one’s lives are in danger) to give birth to your baby if it’s what feels right and comfortable to you.