This essay was written by Marcela Valle and was posted to ICAN online 5/19/07. It was written after she'd had a coversation in which she explained why she was choosing a midwife for her second birth.
It is reprinted here with her permission
Don't you want a doctor?...
It is a question I have been asked, "Don't you want someone who can handle *anything*?" When I heard this question, so many feelings boiled inside me so fast that my answer constituted: "No, because I don't want someone waiting for the slightest opportunity to cut me open again." And, while that holds true, there's so much more than that and it deserves to be put into words…
I don't want a doctor because I believe in my ability to birth. I believe that Mother Nature/Creation/ God(s)-or whomever you revere- have given us the ability and the opportunity to birth, and to go through that passage for a reason. Over the years in North American culture, we have lost sight of such experience and its purpose. It has been said before, that "A child is born, and so is a mother."
I don't want a doctor because they are experts in many things, but not normal birth.
I don't want a doctor because I want a birth attendant who believes in me. An attendant who will empower me, and support me, and tell me to get it together and birth this baby. I choose someone who will encourage me to be educated and make decisions with me, not for me.
I don't want a doctor because I am not making decisions based on fear. I make decisions based on research, and logic and, all the while, I also follow my heart.
I don't want a doctor because, despite widely held beliefs, birth in a hospital is not as safe as birth outside a hospital. Birth with a midwife, at home, is a rational choice.
I do not want a doctor because I am more than a paycheck, a liability, or a 'difficult' patient.
I do not want a doctor because I do not need to wait an hour in a waiting room to be seen for 5 minutes and by someone who needs to look at my chart to know my name. Instead, I want to be welcomed with a hug, offered water, a snack, and have an hour talking about my pregnancy, my feelings, and my birth plans.
I do not want a doctor because I do not need to feel scared about being an inconvenience, or have questions, take too much time, be too "needy" or have too many expectations.
I don't want a doctor because I want to be regarded as a healthy birthing mother. I am not sick, I am not a patient. I am full with life.
I don't want a doctor because birth is NOT an emergency waiting to happen, it is NOT dangerous. A doctor makes you believe birth is unsafe and you need them. After all, they would not have a job otherwise. A midwife trusts the process and allows it to take its course without fitting it into a box or random standards.
I don't want a doctor because I want someone who can handle things without a knife and someone who knows how to help me get the baby into a better position and over a pubic bone, and whatever else, without slicing me open or using torture devices.
I don't want a doctor because my body works. And it works best if not surrounded by strangers poking, probing and interrupting my concentration.
I don't want a doctor because I know I WILL go into labor, my hips are NOT small, they're the perfect size. My baby is NOT too big, my body CAN dilate, I am NOT a failure to progress…I DO NOT need to be saved. By not having a doctor, I AM saving myself.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want him, or a calendar, or a clock to tell me when I HAVE to birth and how fast I need to dilate. My body knows it, my baby knows it. We'll do it when it's time for the baby to be born, and time for me to birth my child.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be offered an induction (or be cut open) because it's close to Christmas, Mother's Day, or Labor Day. I won't be hurried because there's a golf game, a cruise, or a date to be made, or it's just inconvenient for me to wake them up at night or to take too long.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be imprisoned in a bed "just in case" and I don't want to have to stay still so a machine can work properly and the nurse doesn't have time to come into my room.
I don't want a doctor because I do not need to ask for permission to use the rest room, move around, eat, or have an opinion. Nor, do I need scare tactics and a "dead baby" card when I opt out of a procedure done only to cover the doctor's legal butt.
I do not want a doctor because I appreciate being talked to respectfully, and acknowledged, and being taken into account. I DO WANT TO KNOW, AND I WILL worry my little head about it, after all, it is my birth, my child, and my responsibility to do so.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want an electronic monitor to tell someone how I'm doing or whether I am in pain or not, or if my baby hugs are adequate enough.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want someone to "manage" my birth, and "solve" things by using interventions, which may lead to more interventions, which would be solved with even more interventions
I don't want a doctor because I don't want to be silent. I will groan, and moan, and sing if I want to, and my midwife may sing with me.
I don't want a doctor because* I *will birth my baby. My midwife will be present at my birth but nothing (besides food) will be *delivered*.
I do not want a doctor because I am not birthing on my back, or holding my breath or counting to 10.
I don't want a doctor because I don't want my child to be poked and prodded before we have a chance to hold each other. I want my baby to hear my voice first.
I don't want a doctor because I cannot bear another cut into my uterus and my heart, nor can I bear to watch another baby of mine born into blinding bright lights, deep suctioning, IV's and antibiotics.
I don't want a doctor because I have all it takes: wisdom, strength, courage, faith and a vagina.