Worldly In Williamsburg
Judy Ribner’s article [The Midwife’s Midwife, October 2, 2020] about her experience as an assistant midwife at a birth in Williamsburg was interesting and informative.
I was moved and uplifted by her depiction of a safe home birth. But what I did not appreciate, at all, was the introductory paragraph where Judy describes arriving in Williamsburg. “Men in long black beards and black kappatahs wonder who we are infiltrating their insular neighborhood. Maybe it was the conscientious confidence in our stride.”
Is mind reading a new quality of midwifery? How pray tell can you possibly know what these men, or any other human being, are thinking or wondering? If you were to attend a home birth in “insular” communities of Asians or Dominicans in other New York City outer boroughs, would it be okay to assume that women with “confidence” would be viewed as “infiltrating” the community?
No, it is only politically correct to characterize your fellow Jews, Chassidim as it were, as backward and unenlightened. Which makes me wonder — did the mother giving birth hide her intentions from her uninformed, uneducated husband? I would venture to guess that he was in on this plan. Oh, maybe he is a ba’al teshuvah — that would explain it! And just for the record, I am not Chassidic. I am college educated, my husband has an advanced professional degree, and my son attended an Ivy League law school. I don’t even live in NYC. But I do take exception to the depiction of my fellow Jews as backward bumpkins who never met a woman with “confidence”
Welcoming The Midwife
Dear Judy Ribner,
I was away the weekend your article was in the Five Towns Jewish Times. My sister saved me the paper. She was sure I would enjoy your article. I did! I read it and had to let you know that I loved it!
I am a doula and have been at several home births and cannot even describe the positive difference in a home birth. Besides it being the natural way we were meant to birth.
A few weeks ago, I attended a home birth in Brooklyn. This was the mother’s fifth birth but the first home birth. The first two were c-sections followed by two v-bacs. This time she decided that she will go with a home birth. We were a team of four — a midwife, a midwife in training, an assistant to the midwife, and me as a doula. Two hours after I arrived, the woman gave birth. She was calm. At times I massaged her back (but it seemed as if she just enjoyed the massage), then she changed position and sat on the bed announcing that she is having the baby now… minutes later the baby was in her arms.
I find it frustrating that women who choose a home birth, are reluctant to share with their friends and family that they had or are having a home birth, because they get criticized for endangering themselves and their baby. The opposite is often the issue — intervention in the hospital when uncalled for.
Your article will most likely open up women’s eyes (so to speak), to the natural process of birth. Your article is a gift to young women. You wrote to the point, everything I would have liked to say, but didn’t know how, Thank you!