Photographs: Jesús Eduardo Guerrero and José Luis de la Cruz
Carol was born on a Thursday at 9:27 a.m. on March 14, exactly three months ago. At birth, her mother, Carolina, was accompanied by her partner, as well as her midwife and friend Naomi, from college.
16 hours earlier, Carol let her mother know it was time. Three contractions every 10 minutes. The night before Monday alerted her, but it was still for her to be born.
During all those hours, her mother walked around the lonely house, did exercises sitting on a big ball, or took baths with hot water. The house where Carol was born, in Tepecoacuilco, is her grandparents’ house, but that day it was almost empty for her mother to pardequietly, without pressure or intimidation. «I didn’t mean I was already starting labor because I didn’t feel pressure,» her mother says afterwards.
CDMX women may be accompanied by someone they trust during childbirth or cesarean section
The timing of her birth was so intimate and quiet that three months after her mother also firmly confesses that she is still in love with childbirth, which disassociates from the pain: «I had the contractions, I did have many sensations, but less of pain.»
Carol was born in an environment where only her mother, father and midwife were.
Parir attended care by a midwife was not only good for Carolina and the baby, it was also cheap.
In Chilpancingo there is also this option to give birth that Carolina employed.
In the Alameda Chilpancingo Parstheria Unit, where the General Hospital used to be, you can bring the children into this world; without paying a single peso, if you have Popular Insurance, or a voluntary recovery fee, if you do not have this benefit.
Naomi and Carolina are professional midwives in this unit.
Paring without violence
Carolina and Noemí met in Guanajuato, at the Centro para Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende (CASA), from which they graduated as professional midwives, and are now companions in the Alameda Chilpancingo Parting Unit.
Carolina has been a midwife since she was 19, when she entered CASA to study. The four years of study are practical. Today, at the age of 29, she has attended about a thousand births, including that of her sister Maricarmen, whom she attended in the same house where Carol was born.
In the professional context in which Carolina is operating, much like hospitals, where there are uniformed staff, equipped rooms and waiting rooms, but without operating rooms, her age is one of the prejudices she faces on a recurring basis. It’s almost never saved from being imagined major. «People always expect you to be an adult, already with gray saiveness,» he says.
Carolina has a technical career degree in Partería, but that doesn’t even stripp her of the general disdain that exists for the trade in Guerrero, where health authorities admit he could reduce maternal mortality statistics, an evil that keeps the former sites to the state.
One way to measure this is the few attendances he gives a month in Chilpancingo, which between his work in the Midpostary Unit and external attendances, are around five.
This data goes in sync with the flow of the same Unit, where they attend only about three daily births, according to the calculations of the staff, although it was planned up to 15. That is, the daily demand in this space that the Ministry of Health opened in December 2017 is just 20%.
The Alameda Chilpancingo Midwifery Unit comes people who have already had contact with a midwife, community people who now live in the city, who have already suffered obstetric violence or who are informed and looking for other options, Carolina says professional midwife.
The disdain for the partof in the city is most evident when you know the numbers of births that they attend in hospitals in the Health sector. At Raymundo Alarcón Abarca General Hospital, according to the figures provided by the staff, they attend up to 10 deliveries per day, about three of them by Caesarean section. In the city there is also the Hospital of the Mother and the Warrior Child, open exclusively for the care of women in pregnancy and babies at birth.
«There are people looking for you because they’ve had contact with the midwife before, but not before. They are regularly people from a community that now lives here, and there are people who do because they lived violence (obstetric), who are informed and looking for other options,» says the professional midwife.
He then attributes the low demand in the partofatry to the lack of information. This was downloaded in institutions, but also in couples waiting for a baby, because they should look at the process from other perspectives. «If they knew where they get in or how much they pay because they were violent, they really wouldn’t,» she says of what women face in hospitals served by doctors.
Partoffor the well-being
A C-section can cost up to 27 thousand pesos, according to the quote that was made in different private hospitals to document this information.
Added to this is the business in childbirth, which Carolina referred to as the deceptive advertising strategy about the absence of pain in C-sections, which automatically places natural delivery at the other end. «Then I see ads on the Internet such as pain-free C-section, pain-free delivery and people don’t know all the side effects of an anesthesia and the effects on the baby,» she warns. In the medical environment, they never explain, according to Carolina, the importance of that mother’s first contact with the child.
If she lives this in the city, she recognizes that it is more complicated in the villages, for the traditional midwives, whom she speaks with respect. «To me, they’re teachers.» The reason is that, in his view, there is greater discrimination on traditional partof, especially medicine.
He then recalled the anecdote told to her by his partner, a nurse in basic community hospitals, whom he met when she was assigned a respected or humanized birthing area at the basic hospital of the Sierra de Guerrero.
A woman arrived at that hospital in labor and with her legs bandaged. I had two or three days with contractions. She was accompanied by another woman, who made her bandage. She was the midwife. At that point, compression on the woman’s legs about to give birth, according to Carolina, was vital because blood flow had to be concentrated in the uterus.
She learned that the medical staff who cared for the pregnant woman complained that the delivery was complicated by a lack of medical care, with derogatory phrases such as the «ummm… she was cared for with a midwife.»
«If they turned to see that space, she sold it, per tinmy or whatever it was, she did it and maybe that saved the woman’s life,» she says.
Carolina relies on traditional midwives, who have shared tips on closing hips and teas they suggest for the recovery of their patients. But think that professional pateras are not well seen by traditional pateras, because «they can’t help but see you as personal (doctor)».
With all these prejudices around the professional midwives, those who exercise it move in the middle of two flanks: traditional midwives and doctors. On the one hand they don’t look at them as midwives and on the other they don’t look like professionals either. «There’s always been a clash with the doctors,» he says.
Read: Maternal deaths and abortion convictions, the reality of reproductive health in Mexico
Pregnancy and the intimacy of childbirth
After Carolina weighs and reviews her patients, she regularly has a chat with them. He listens to them. Some tell her that she feels tired, that she had problems with the other children or any other comments. At this stage the midwife calls creating a bond of trust between the two, the midwife and the pregnant woman. «Sometimes they’re simple things, but nobody listens to them, nobody stops that,» he says.
This moment is not contemplated in the medical consultations, nor is the immediate coexistence between the mothers and their babies, because they then separate them, and «they do not know all the link that is lost at that time».
When Poppy. Transgressive Journalism documented institutional indifference to traditional partofing found stories of pregnant women who lived a sequence of obstetric violence while caring for their hospital births.
In the first installment of this series are their testimonies. One woman narrated the indifference of the doctor who treated her: she listened to music and read during the time of her labor, and once she complained about the contradictions she said with disinterest: «It’s normal, it’s going to hurt.»
Added to this is the invasion she felt the times she reviewed the dilation of her vagina in the middle of corridors full of medical staff and the discomfort she caused her when she heard the doctor told a woman interned next to her: «You don’t listen to her , don’t listen to her, don’t listen to her.» He meant her because he complained about contractions.
Carolina knows what’s going on at the time. During the labor process, women produce the hormone called oxytocin, the same as the human body releases during sex. Hence the importance of childbirth occurring in an intimate setting.
This report was prepared by the Amapola team. Transgressive journalism.
Thanks for reading! Help us get on with our work. How? You can now subscribe to Political Animal on Facebook. With your monthly donation you will receive special content. Find out how to subscribe here. Check out our list of frequently asked questions here.