My two weeks in Australia was just what I needed. It’s so difficult to get an accurate picture of the birth culture in another country without going there. When I read blogs by Aussie midwives, I create an image in my mind of midwives with licenses who happily attend births at home and meet the needs of clients while having protection working within a well-established governing body.
The reality proved to be very different from my images. Homebirth midwives are very few in number in Australia. The ones who do homebirths are a feisty bunch but they are not protected. They struggle to keep options open to the birthing public while balancing safety, finances, and consumer satisfaction. Most of the country’s graduate midwives work in hospital settings and feel the same frustration as N. American midwives who are employed by an institution.
The Australian government is making changes in the provision of health services that will affect midwives in the coming year and it seems to be a time of confusion and frustration about what actions can be taken to insure that homebirth remains available to the small percentage of Australians who use the option. There are a handful of midwives in Australia who are self-taught and hold no credential but serve families completely independent of government licensing. Services for the aboriginal people of Australia are lacking and many women are flown from outposts to larger centres to give birth far away from their family and friends.
I had the opportunity to meet with some of the women on the Joyous Birth website in Brisbane and Melbourne. Joyous Birth is a website well worth visiting to find videos, photos and forums on all things birth-related in Australia. Here’s a sampling of some of the photo montages they have put together:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX_FbcEcMFg Birth Trauma (graphic video about the grief involved with birth rape)
Homebirth Awareness Year 2008 http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=4fce1bbdc1be211b451224&skin_id=1603&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_urlWhere will you birth? JB’s home/hospital comparison. http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=511c2833c5c5549b6fa5d2Sadorian’s Ordinary Miracle: Aron’s Freebirth
Sage’s Journey to Freebirth by Sheree*Star http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site…edium=text_url
“Here comes the Sun” April’s freebirth of Sunny http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=75ac54e94fa2fd3a834ad7&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Freebirth of Emmeline http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWIIbvfSLSA
Ayla’s birth of Riley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBKB3-S80Rw
~*heket*~ births James, baby born still http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=51893776efcb74a8af2e52&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Anastasia’s Birth Journey to UBAC http://www.onetruemedia.com/shared?p=5e0baae7bae361065b63b7&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Ilythia’s Freebirth of our Firstborn http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=505ff725fdc5ef25f44544&skin_id=701&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Born Free – Tally’s unassisted waterbirth. http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=4fcfb7cde5d3ba80c8c787&skin_id=601&pid=95425&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Homebirth – you can have one! Karrie-lou’s homebirth. http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=505fddc0bacb474bb972f6&skin_id=801&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=image
“Listening to rain” Saoirsewoman’s three births http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/view_shared?p=319efee73126b6dbb8bc41&skin_id=601&utm_source=otm&utm_medium=text_url
Long live babies! Stars lots of JB mamas! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIKNyfIiMiw
Prevent Caesarean Surgery http://youtube.com/watch?v=EZy0JPtubiQ