And what I see is astounding and saddening.
He has submitted a work to Evidence Based Midwifery that discusses the topic of pain in labor and it's purpose. You can read an article on it here, another here, and another on it here.
I applaud him. He, as far as I can see, has not written anything malicious or inaccurate. He talks about the usefulness of feeling labor, the chemicals released as a result, establishing a good labor pattern, aids in stronger infant-maternal bonding, and generally has a natural purpose in the process.
Nothing that has not been mentioned already in other articles like this and this. He even states that sometimes epidurals are useful, but of course, one of the articles above states that his comments make women who fall short of a 'normal birth' feel stigmatized.
The rest of the articles are followed up with statements such as "I dare him to say that to a woman in labor", "When he pushes a baby out of HIS body, maybe we'll give a damn what he has to say!", and more, much more. Defensive, aren't we? Do a google search for his article and you will find him slammed from all angles (or see Rixa's post for additional links to more articles on him) - it's a free for all!
Think of it: he's a man (sets him up for attacks from prideful, defensive, or angry women), he's a midwife (which sets him up for attacks from the main-stream medical community), and he's a male midwife (which even sets him up for failure in many natural childbirth communities).
It amazed me to see that this poor man has been strung up like a pinata from both the Obstetrical community as well as feminists. Even some fellow midwives didn't spare the firing squad. And you know what, all of this hubbub and no one actually has his submission piece yet!
Which is why I was relieved to see this blog post.
Denis Walsh is not the slimy pig-man who’s out to demonize women who choose pain relief, as the Daily Mail (or the BBC, for that matter) would have us believe. He’s a midwife who wants midwives to act as advocates for women: to put the needs of the labouring woman on the map, rather than letting the midwive’s own needs as professionals or the the baby’s (purported) needs push all mention of the woman’s well-being out the window. I, for one, am very thankful I’ve read his work in preparation for the birth of my second child.I applaud his yet-to-be published piece and cannot wait to read it! From what I can see on the news now, he advocates alternative pain management options to better healthier, safer health care options for women in labor - evidence based health care. What shame is there in that? None. Shame on the nay-sayers instead!
*** Additional linkies here and here.