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Interview: The impact of a midwife

For my research, I interviewed a Danish mother of three children. She is in her mid-forties and her three children are thirteen, ten, and seven year old boys. The questions were sent via email, where she was able to answer each question with as much detail or information as she liked. Most of the questions could be answered with a yes or no response; however, for the purpose of a better qualitative analysis on the answers, I highly encouraged her to write as much details as she was comfortable with. Thankfully, she answered every question with a lot of detail and explained her answers with great thought.

 

All three pregnancies were difficult for the Danish mother. Her second pregnancy was the most difficult because of a gall bladder infection, in which she needed surgery at five months pregnant. Due to her heavy and constant nausea throughout the entire 9 months of her pregnancies, she was unable to maintain a healthy diet. She attempted different methods, such as acupuncture, to aid her pregnancies, especially the nausea, but nothing seemed to work so she ultimately only referred to medication. During her three pregnancies, she indicated that her midwives were extremely helpful and commented that they were very caring, which relaxed her and made her feel at ease.

 

Even though she decided to deliver her children at a hospital, due to the fact that her first delivery needed the assistance of a suction, two out of three of her deliveries were natural deliveries. Her last delivery was via cesarean surgery. A midwife delivered all of her children. The second child acquired both a midwife and an OBGYN. Having her midwives present throughout her pregnancy and delivery helped her relax. While she did not feel in control of the situation during her delivery, with the company of her midwives, she was guided and supported throughout the entire process. She was also able to delivery her children the way she felt was right for her; naturally without any intervention. While the third child was through cesarean, she stated that she would never have a cesarean surgery unless there were complications and it was necessary to delivery a healthy baby or if she was in danger. In many situations, delivering a child at a hospital without a midwife many are convinced by the nurses or doctors to take epidurals or to accelerate the delivery with interventions.

 

The purpose of the interview was to compare pregnancy and delivery in Denmark and in America. Because in Denmark, all women have a midwife, while in America more than 99% have an OBGYN, the entire process is different than in America. Having a midwife drastically changes the experience. Midwives do more than just deliver a baby. They guide the mother in all different ways, from nutrition and health to caring for the baby after it is born. Like the Danish mother I interviewed, the midwife can help the mother feel comfortable during the delivery and deliver her child the way she feels is best for her and her baby, unlike doctors and hospitals where in some cases, overlook the mother’s wishes. 

Image  (Victoria Beckham with her three sons)

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“Don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant and die.”

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Sitting through a sex ed class can be one of the most embarrassing things a 5th grader can do. (Un)Fortunately, I did not have to sit through one.  I went to Catholic school where they did not answer the infamous, “what is sex” question. Instead, Sister Rosemary (yes, she was a nun) told us that sex was not, and I repeat, not, for pleasure. And, It was absolutely not to be done before marriage. Sex was an act we must do, with permission from the Lord, through marriage, to bring His children into the world. Abstinence-only was what we were taught. This is embarrassing to say, but I did not know what sex was till I was in high school (trust me, you think sitting through sex ed with your classmates in 5th grade is embarrassing? Try sitting your 16 year old cousin in your bedroom and awkwardly asking, “Seriously… what is sex?”) because no one properly taught me what it was. Since no one taught me what it was, I never cared to find out. I grew up Christian (and a prude) so just saying the word sex made me feel like I was sinning. Because of the lack of knowledge and education I had on sex, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases, I endured a lot of stress, pain, and confusion when I was in high school. While I was struggling, there were other men and women out there who were getting in worse situations than me: dealing with an unwanted baby or a sexually transmitted disease. With the right knowledge, these two life changing matters can be prevented.

In America, the government still enforces abstinence-only educational programs. However, here in Denmark, they have a completely different approach to sexual education. The schools start talking about sex with the students at a very young age, and for every year after that till high school. Sex is constantly viewed as an open, natural thing where it is not frowned upon or viewed as shameful. Because students are exposed to it at an early age, very frequently, they grow up to be very comfortable talking about it and asking questions. This explains why Danes are so liberal with sex and also knowledgeable on it. 

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