Thesis: The New Millennium finds the modern woman at a crossroads. Will we continue on this path of destruction forged by medical science, or will we claim our sovereignty as women and restore/retain The Divine Feminine and claim our freedoms of self-determination?
Written by Jenny M Hatch: For her Doctorate in Motherhood.
Note: Since there is no Criteria, University Curriculum, Certificate, or acknowledged academic cap and gown that could be used to designate myself as a Doctor in the Philosophy of Motherhood, I went out and bought myself a new apron, and offer the words of this dissertation combined with the pictures of my family as evidence and proof of my credentials as a PhD MH!
*Message to any person who has come across this Dissertation –
We Mothers have to know what we are about. Since the world, especially the education establishment, largely holds the daily work we do in contempt, we need to stake our claim and stand tall, confident, and clear on what our efforts mean, not just to us, and our families, but to society as a whole. For anyone who is thinking about becoming a parent, please carefully consider the words that follow.
If you count up the hours spent reading, practical skills mastered, and recognize the contribution to society the amazing gift of yet another gently birthed, nurtured, and nourished child to be enjoyed by all who come in contact with him or her and decide you too deserve to receive the coveted PhD MH, go ahead, start putting those little letters after your name.
Welcome to the Motherhood branch of Academia!
Get a new apron, have your husband get you pregnant, throw out all your high-heeled shoes, and happily welcome another blessed child into your home. We have a certain stereotype to proudly thrust in the faces of all who judge us…..it is BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT!!! I can think of few blessed states to be in than barefoot and expecting another blessed child into our home. So I happily project this supposedly derogatory cliché’ of Motherhood and combined with the PhD MH letters after my name, will gladly defend this dissertation in any forum at any time.
Who said only the hallowed halls of academia and the ivory towers of the Ivy League have the right to bestow Advanced Degrees upon the heads of individual men and women?
What do those little letters mean?
To me, the designation PhD MH is a very “tongue in cheek” attempt to quantify and validate the work we are accomplishing in our own homes. If reading this introduction to my dissertation has given you a laugh and helped you to gain some perspective on the value of this important work, then I have accomplished my goal.
Jenny Marie Hatch PhD MH
(*That name does look official, doesn’t it? Kind of makes you think I know something…Well, I do know something, I know how to make a healthy baby*)
December 22, 2003
Sovereign, the buzzword in Internet circles also has applications for the family. Why? Over the past decades a shift has occurred in the hearts and minds of some parents. So many have adopted home-school, unassisted family birthing, and a complete severance from government programs and money that this trend toward family sovereignty could be called a movement.
Why? The definition of sovereignty holds the clues as to why families are adopting practices completely out of the mainstream. Sovereign is defined as self-governing or independent. Sovereignty includes in its definition complete independence and self-government.
So the definition of Family Sovereignty could be The Family That Is Self Governed.
What does this mean for the modern husband and wife? Is it scriptural? Scriptures from Genesis to the Ephesians talk about a man leaving his Father and Mother, and joining with his wife and they two shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7, and Ephesians 5:31) I like the Genesis version because it talks about a Man who cleaves to his wife. That denotes a sort of bonding, which is true, faithful and cemented.
The picture in my mind is of a husband and wife so completely bonded in unity and love nothing can come between them. I believe the couples adopting these practices understand the necessity of independence from most worldly structures. The reason for this is because of an instinctual understanding that when we let anyone do something for us that we are fully capable of doing for ourselves, whether it is birthing, teaching and training our children or even nurturing them when babies, the bond between husband and wife is weakened.
As parents and families gradually wean from the structures that are available for education, health care, and finances, I think it is important to have a clear understanding why we are leaving Babylon for Zion. Not only for ourselves and our own need to be clear about what this all means, but also so we can clearly articulate to others why we feel this deep instinctual need to grasp our sovereignty and never let it go.
I would suggest that as the world continues to separate into those who desire to be parents and those who don’t, this notion of Family Sovereignty is going to become crucial to understanding modern life in the new millennium. The chasm between those who live for themselves with the “eat, drink, and be merry” lifestyle and those of us who live for the tomorrows of life with grandchildren will grow ever wider.
In my Mothering these past eleven years I have been blessed to have many close friends who are highly educated, self declared liberals. Through the wonderful natural childbirth community that quietly thrives in Boulder Colorado, I have been privileged to enjoy hours of quiet conversation with Mothers of every nationality, religion, and political viewpoint.
Many, many times I was the only Christian, anti-feminist, conservative in the group and I give my liberal friends credit that they have loved me and welcomed my ideas and feelings as valid, despite being a Rush Limbaugh fan. Being friends with those who are ideologically opposite from me in world view and yet sharing a passion for the sacredness of women’s bodies and minds has helped me to clarify more clearly what I believe.
I have spent many, many hours thinking about what it means to be a woman and a mother in the new millennium. The word sovereign keeps coming into my mind. I am descended from patriots, so my passion for liberty comes naturally.
I see our generation of parents as being those who MUST understand truth in all areas of our lives. I see our generation as being willing to sacrifice worldly aims and pleasures in order to clean up the planet and make it a more celestial place for our children to inhabit. I see our generation being full of complete fidelity towards spouse and children, amazing strength of character, love of truth, Integrity to principle, with a zealous desire to see the triumphant forward march of truth.
We will honor our parents for giving us life. Like us, they made choices based upon current available information, and if that information tended to be propaganda and harm resulted then we will let it go and remember they made the best choices possible at the time. We will honor them for the legacy they have passed along to us, but that does not mean we have to adhere to every false tradition and practice they utilized in their parenting, just to keep the peace at family reunions. We MUST identify false ideas and practices and set about righting the wrongs of the past two centuries.
Our generation must be thinkers, and workers. We must be men and women who consider carefully our course in life and the principles we espouse. The scriptures say “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
As we hunger and thirst for the faith and knowledge that will allow us to overcome years of fear based parenting practices let us be confident that the Lord will fill us up with his righteousness and give us every answer to every question posed.
I have spent the past eight years breastfeeding my children on demand. While I nursed I would read books on everything from birth to political ideology and education. This has translated into about 4 hours a day of study time. Based on the time spent and the effort exerted as well as the multiple final exams (my births). I have given myself a PhD in Motherhood. I don’t know of any university that would or could grant me an advanced degree in being a Mom, but I feel like it is time to offer my Dissertation and am willing to defend it to anyone who takes issue with what I say.
I believe most of the problems we encounter as parents can be summed up in one word – KNOWLEDGE. The lack of knowledge, the misuse of knowledge or the overabundance of false knowledge, misapplied. As I have sought to increase my Faith and Knowledge one principle has been A sure foundation of belief for me. It is “What does Heavenly Father think?”
“I believe all human beings are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. I believe gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal and eternal destiny and purpose. I believe in the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress towards perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life.” (Proclamation on the Family)
I trust that Heavenly Father is interested in the DETAILS of my day to day life, and so it has been my practice to turn to him in times of need to ask HIM what I should do for HIS child, who has been loaned to me for a time to nurture and teach. As each issue has come up with my little ones, I have turned to that all knowing source of inspiration, power, and KNOWLEDGE and have felt guided to know what each individual child needed at any given moment, rather than adopt a belief or practice based on some professionals expert “opinion”.
As I have struggled to make decisions for and in behalf of my children until they are old enough to make their own choices, I have come to adopt a few principles and beliefs about Knowledge, Freedom, and Self Government. I hope to create a dialog on Family Sovereignty that moves way beyond the current supposedly relevant debates over day care and nationalized health care. I am interested in debating with those professionals who think they know best how children should be birthed, nurtured, healed, and educated and would use the courts to force their cult of professionalism on those of us who are following our hearts to a more gentle and empowered lifestyle. So, let the debate begin….
Short Essay From Elijah Birth, How to Turn the Hearts of the Fathers – an E-Book
By their fruits…
As the doctor sliced into my body I had the sensation of my soul being cut in two. Then one doctor stood by my side and pushed on my little daughters breech head and the other doctor pulled, hard, on her legs, and I heard a loud sucking sound and then “POP!” she was out. As she emerged my blood spewed out of me and a drop of it landed on my husbands forehead. I thought to myself, “is this really necessary?”
I have given birth to four children, one was a cesarean. Not bad odds. Actually, they are about average. The 20 hours of labor I put in with my 2nd daughters birth was followed by the surgery. Like most breech babies Allison wasn’t given the option to be born normally and so I sport the crooked battle scar that we c-section mommas carry as evidence of doing battle with the medical profession.
I would suggest the rapid rise in the c-section rate, which has occurred in my short lifetime is about one thing…money. Is there a historical pattern of families being robbed of their health and income by doctors? The Bible holds the clue. Modern Christians love to tell the story of the diseased woman who suffered from a bleeding disorder for twelve years. This story also had a deep impact on the apostles as Matthew, Mark and Luke all recorded versions of her faith healing simply by touching Jesus Christ’s clothing. What is generally left out of these recounting’s however, is the time and money she wasted on doctors. (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48).
Mark records that she had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing better, but rather grew worse. Luke recorded she had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any.
Is it possible that one of the main reasons Jesus Christ was crucified was because he was breaking up the medical monopoly in Jerusalem? And the doctors didn’t like their medical practices being threatened by someone who called himself the son of God?
Healing in the scriptures has been described as a spiritual gift, not to be sold for money. Selling spiritual gifts for money is a form of priestcraft. As the cesarean epidemic continues to escalate in our world (in some countries it has topped out at 90%), and the costs of childbearing and parenting continue to rise, couples are going to have to take a hard look at exactly what the Obstetrical world is all about. We also have to ask ourselves if this money spent results in a healthier baby, family, and pocketbook.
Modern Obstetrical practice is historically rooted in doctors having a desire for financial well being. In fact, in the early 1800’s an all out assault was conducted against midwives on the East Coast of America. These women were labeled as witches and families were propagandized into believing the only safe way to give birth was with a doctor.
In fact, Boston was the first city in the 1700’s to offer ladies “finishing” schools to young women, which were actually started by medical schools, doctors, and drug manufacturers. These “schools” were designed to teach young women Victorian ideals of medical childbirth and how to behave in ladylike ways instead of “Motherlike” ways. Young women were convinced that childbirth was a medical procedure which required drugs, surgical tools and was shrouded in mystery. “Finish” is an interesting description of these schools because I think this power grab by the doctors was the beginning of the end of women’s sovereignty in America.
Here is a quote from a pamphlet that was published in 1820. Doctors were proclaiming victory over the midwives by this time. (Cummings and Hillard – Boston -1820) “It is one of the first and happiest fruits of improved medical education in America that they (midwives) were excluded from the practice; and it was only by the united and persevering exertions of some of the most distinguished individuals our profession has been able to boast, that this was affected.”
Why did the doctors want the midwives out? This same pamphlet claims the practice of midwifery was the ticket to a successful practice. “women seldom forget a practitioner who has conducted them tenderly and safely through parturition. It is principally on this account that the practice of midwifery becomes desirable to physicians. It is this which ensures to them the permanency and security of all their other business.”
Modern hospitals also understand that a mother who delivers at a certain hospital will return again and again for emergencies and surgeries. They bank on it, which is why so much money is spent on advertising for the maternity ward.
In the ebb and flow of our worlds history there have always been those men and woman who have earned their living at the expense and to the detriment to the family. But never before has it been so respectable, or so profitable as it is right now today. We have doctors charging thousands to get us pregnant, keep us pregnant, abort away the baby if we don’t want it, birth it for us, feed it for us, keep it alive if it is born too soon, heal it for us and then we have the government waiting to teach it, train it, feed it and manipulate it and everyone sends the bill to the parents, or the taxpayers.
I have this picture in my mind of Adam and Eve alone, perhaps surrounded by ministering angels, but basically alone – birthing, nourishing, teaching, and training their children until they are teens. Then sending them off two by two to multiply and carry on. No doctors, no lawyers, no beaurecrats, no social workers, no banks, no stores. Just quietly living two by two, farming and birthing and living – simple.
Jenny and Ben three hours after our Lotus Birth
The absolute mess of modern life has made these simple god-like acts of procreation so expensive and scary that we recently reached the sad milestone in America of more couples deciding to remain childless than those who desire to be parents.
A friend of mine who really wanted her married children to have babies was lamenting to me once, “it’s a selfish generation, won’t have babies.” Selfish might be part of it, but I think a more correct word is scared. It is a scared generation. In the 1960’s, if a hospital’s c-section rate went over 5% an internal inquiry was held to determine why it was so high. With one in four babies in America cut out of their mothers today, one has to question “has their been a discernable change in women’s bodies in the last forty years to justify this increase?”
As young women hear the horror stories from older sisters and friends, see the occasional child who is permanently damaged by birth, see a friend in the throes of suicidal post partum depression, or the financial devastation from a preemie, no wonder they are opting out.
One of my unassisted childbirth friends recently said to me, “Marriage and parenting are challenging enough when you have an empowering freebirth. Why muddy the waters with the indignities and defilement’s of a profession gone crazy?”.
In psalm 127:3 we are told, “lo children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” We are also told in Matthew 7:15 to “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”.
Is the medical profession a ravening wolf chowing on families like never before? Matthew continues that same entry with these words in v. 16, “ye shall know them by their fruits…a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Certain doctors are calling for a 100% cesarean rate. This self-serving attitude is suspicious and I am curious to know WHEN we as a society are going to start questioning all of these surgeries.
The natural childbirth community just keeps plugging along, believing that the gifts of the medical establishment are useful to the 6% of mothers who truly need to have their babies cut out of them. About 10% of mothers should be in the hospital to give birth with the tools and techniques which have been sent by God to help us when the body can’t function normally, perhaps because of a birth defect or accident (like a broken pelvis). But for the vast majority of women – natural spontaneous birth is possible and highly desirable because of the positive impact it has on family sovereignty and unity.
With the media, government, years of fear based propaganda and history backing them up and several generations of women who truly believe the doctors saved the baby with all that cutting and pulling and sewing, this monster of Babylon just keeps on keepin’ on. I would encourage those parents who wish to claim their sovereignty to say no to drugs. Say no to the maiming and torture of mothers. Say no to the socialized medicine, the “free” cradle to grave health care. They cannot have control over our minds and hearts with their fear based tactics. Enough! Mothers and Fathers, claim your sovereignty…Say no to the fruits of the medical profession.
I challenge those who believe in freedom and teach its principles to: Develop our gifts of the spirit to the point where we confidently know which birthing scenario is best for each individual child. A mother may give birth to ten children in a quiet family setting with only Father present and then for her eleventh child she may require the services of highly trained doctor who will save her and the child during the birth. The challenge is to develop our listening skills so when the still small voice of the Holy Ghost whispers what is needful, we are listening and in tune.
The problem I see with what is happening today is that when iatrogenic (doctor caused) situations arise, the couple in their ignorance naively believe that the doctor saved the day, when he/she performs extreme “heroic” measures to get the baby out, or stop the bleeding or resuscitate the baby. The fact that the labor stopped because Mom was given an epidural, or that the hemorrhage was caused by pulling out the placenta too soon, or that the baby is blue and not breathing because of too many drugs administered during labor is generally not considered by most parents today. And so the cycle of ignorance and brutality continues. When will it stop? When parents take personal responsibility and decide to get educated. By their Fruits, ye shall know them.
My Blessing Way
With commentary on the Primal Mama Lifestyle from my experience and perspective
Sunday September 8th, 2002
Yesterday I called Jeannine Parvati Baker to integrate what happened during our blessing way last Monday (labor day). She offered this to me as a final gift before the birth of our fifth baby in a few weeks. We had intended to talk for thirty minutes, but went way beyond that time, and she said it was her gift to the baby and I to have a chance to chat freely. The timing was interesting to me as yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my first Freebirth.
My son Andrew turned six yesterday, and I called Jeannine asking if we could talk during that time, as it was the exact moment that I was in labor, on a Saturday morning, six years ago.
She agreed and we had a wonderful discussion. I realized as we hung up the phone that our conversation ended right about the time I had a quick five-minute transition and started pushing Andrew into the world – about 9:30 AM. He was born after four pushes at 9:52AM.
This pregnancy has been a healing time for us. We conceived in January. My husband Paul has known for years that if we had another baby I would want to do my own prenatal care, as I did with Andrew six years ago, and was not surprised when I did exactly that for the past eight months.
What was a surprise to me however, was how my life organized itself to allow me to use Jeannine and Rico as my Shamanic Midwives, much the same way that Laura and David Shanley were my mentor’s during Andrew’s pregnancy. I don’t know why I have been so blessed to have these pioneers as such an intimate part of my life. But I will take what I have been given and just say that it has been exciting to develop deep friendships with these souls who are working so diligently to heal birth.
I first discovered Unassisted Childbirth in 1989 when I read about Pat Carter’s League of empowered women, and I determined then that one day I would join her league by giving birth alone. How exciting for me to be able to have deep and passionate discussions through email and on the phone with these wonderful sisters while pregnant, being mentored and encouraged by those who have lived such amazing pioneering lives and then been passionate enough to write and share of their experiences!
As we have walked, skipped, and occasionally run in a dead heat down this conscious parenting path – I have been amazed and gratified that our journey has led us to living in close proximity to people like Laura and Jeannine.
Paul and I have had an interesting journey, with much of argument and discussion about how best to birth, nurture, and raise our children. We have finally arrived at the place where we feel very comfortable in our own skins as conscious parents, but it was not easy to get to this place.
This pregnancy has been marked with much peacefulness and happiness. A gentle soul is in the making and it brings us so much joy, I just want to sing and dance and praise God for the goodness of our lives after so much tribulation.
Laura Shanley holding Andrew Hatch one week after his UC Birth with Jenny at the Park
We transferred to the hospital shortly after Andrew’s birth for help with his breathing and my bleeding. Laura believes my background in musical theatre called for a dramatic birth and Jeannine has also expressed that a need for drama expresses itself through those types of realities. I don’t know why I had such a wild time after that birth, when all I wanted was a quiet bonding with my child after his entry into the world, but the trauma of that transfer resulted in me questioning everything about our life.
In the years that have followed we have really struggled, questioning everything we felt guided to do for our children. This time of scrutiny lasted a while, especially when I had friends who had a beautiful 9lb. daughter die during a Freebirth. I questioned my spirituality, my inner guidance, my sanity, and went through a dark time of wondering if anything that I had perceived as truth, was of worth to our children. We decided the year Andy was born to send our children to a Core Knowledge Charter school. It seemed like all of my ideals of home based everything – birth, school, nutrition, and conscious living had quickly evaporated into nothing.
As we struggled through this time, made more challenging by Paul experiencing debilitating panic attacks, horrible food allergies with a gluten intolerance that made us give up vegetarian eating, and terrible financial difficulties that required me to work outside our home off and on for a few years, I experienced a sort of valley after our peak empowering experience of taking personal responsibility for the health of my beautiful son during his gestation and birth.
*(I learned during his pregnancy that by indeed taking full responsibility and not passing the buck to anyone, I was much more careful about my diet, my exercise routine, and my sleep – and I built this 11 lb 12 oz child in 42 weeks from conception, on 80% live vegan foods and enjoyed an energetic pregnancy, nursing my two year old son for the duration.)
I have thought long and hard what this “valley” of darkness after Andrew’s birth was all about. A scripture comes to mind when I think of this time. It is from the Book of Mormon and says: “And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that FAITH is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your FAITH” Ether 12:6
I believe now that this time was the trial of my faith. Sometimes God gives us enough light and truth to encourage us to take a different path, but then he lets us struggle somewhat as we learn by our own experience to know the bitter from the sweet. As Jeannine and I talked yesterday she told me of the three years that her children were court ordered to attend school. I marveled once again at the similarity of our paths.
While we were not court ordered to send our children to school, the outside pressure we felt from family and friends contributed greatly to this decision and Paul was deeply concerned that with tandem nursing the boys I would not be able to give Shelly what she deserved in terms of my time and energy. We sent her to school at age seven for the first time a few days before Andy’s birth.
We felt somewhat comforted that our children were in a safe place during the four years they were in public education and that we were able to rub shoulders with some wonderful families, but I hated the fact that after being so clear about home school our life had spun out of control and the institutionalized learning I had so long abhorred, the materialism, and the busy runaround lifestyle was being shoved on my children and ME! The irony in all of this was that the children loved it! (OK – Jeff did hate kindergarten, and refused to go about half the time, but he was excited for a few weeks in the beginning!)
Michelle told me a few days into her second grade year that she loved recess, music, gym, and eating lunch with her new friends. The only part of school she didn’t like was when the teacher stood in front of the class and talked! As Allison and Jeff had their first imprints with kindergarten and made new friends and mostly enjoyed the time outside our home while I nurtured Andrew, I again questioned my beliefs about unschooling and mother and father being so responsible for everything from birthing to teaching children to read.
We participated in Joy school for the first time (Joy preschool is a parent led program where parents organize a twice weekly preschool taught in their homes – I did this for a year with both Jeff and Andrew when they were four, with about seven other families from our church). Once again, I found myself doing something I had vowed I would never do – having developed very strong beliefs about pre-school being bad for children. Yet the boys loved the structure and the friends and the feeling of community, and I enjoyed developing friendships with the other mother’s.
As our diet quickly degenerated to the typical American cold cereal in the morning (easy, quick, and a kid pleaser), the school’s hot lunch for lunch, and meat based supper for the sake of my husband, I again would look in the mirror and wonder who I had become.
As I thought of the years of painstaking efforts in my kitchen to feed my children the most nourishing, organic, whole foods on the planet, and the care with which I crafted my breastmilk, which I gave to them in such a careful, nurturing way, I wondered at this over night change to mainstream everything.
If I sent a healthy snack to school for the classroom or baked something from scratch for the preschool or school party celebration, most often the container would come home full of what I had made and my child would be in tears saying that no one wanted what they had to offer, and next time could they bring fruit snacks for the group? Those evil gelatinous nasty concoctions of chemicals and sugar were my kid’s ticket to popularity and acceptance. And so I caved, and bought them time after time, again wondering “who” I had become and “where” were all of my ideals?
All of this questioning about home birth, nutrition, home school, and conscious intentional living was good for my heart. During the four years that the children participated in the Charter and Joy school’s and we had a real break from pregnancy and breastfeeding, Paul and I were able to negotiate and redefine our priorities and then in a careful and calculated way begin again.
This time in a much more conscious way; aware of the pitfalls of being too independent and too isolated from our community – thus shutting ourselves off from wonderful friendships, experiences, and memories. With the children in school, our family and friends who had been so worried were able to relax for a few years and the uncomfortable scrutiny, rejection, and prejudice, (which are all present whenever one walks a different path – and which the children were able to feel), settled down somewhat. In order for of us to feel comfortable with this lifestyle, all families need to evaluate how much rejection and feelings of being “different” our marriages and our children can take as we walk the alternative paths.
For some, this rejection and scrutiny could weaken the ties that bind us together and cause a breech in our intimacy as a couple. One of Paul’s constant laments in the early year’s was, “why do we always have to be the weird one’s?” I believe this time of reevaluation was a chance for us to integrate and process the trauma that had troubled our marriage. Paul’s perception over the years was that I would rush from one book to another, take a flying leap into the unknown with him and the children quietly standing by flustered and uncomfortable. He told me once that every time I returned home from the Library with a stack of books, he would cringe wondering what was next.
As I raced from natural childbirth to vegetarianism to not immunizing, to pushing all the beds in the house together, to breastfeeding a four year old, to unschooling, and finally to the mother of them all…. Unassisted Childbirth… he was left wondering what sort of an irresponsible nut case he had married?
He didn’t have the time, energy, or gumption to read all the books that I did. He had been raised on meat and traditional medicine and turned out all right. His older siblings were raising beautiful, healthy, large Mormon families without all of this alternative stuff. Why did “we” have to do it just because someone wrote it in a book? As I said, we argued and fought and between times made babies. And I nurtured and tried not to talk too much to him or anyone else about the vision that was forming in my head on how our family life “could” be.
Jenny and Andrew Three weeks post partum
When everything collapsed after Andrew’s was born in 1996 and family and friends perception was that the Hatch’s had finally “come to our senses” and sent the children to school. I was so devastated. I sort of gave up. Yet now I can look at those four years and see that it was a sacred window of opportunity to heal and purge and become even more conscious of what our values and dreams for our family were.
It was a strengthening time for us as a couple. Because without the mind numbing fatigue associated with attachment parenting little ones we were able to take great leaps and bounds in the level of intimacy and trust in our relationship. I find it doubly interesting that after this time of settling and integration in our marriage, I was able to go through the terror of remembered sexual abuse (childhood molestation and adult gang rape) which I had carefully tucked away in my brain to be dealt with at a much later, safer time.
From what I have studied, the memories coming back are a sign of health and are often enabled to come out by the loving acceptance of a spouse. As I perceived Paul’s emotional protection of me and his increasing satisfaction and delight in my efforts as a mother, I believe my body/mind was freed to take the plunge and fully purge the past out of my cells.
During this time of healing, I felt this child’s spirit around me, comforting and concerned, as I relived the horror of sexual abuse. As soon as I perceived I was healthy enough to carry a baby, both physically and emotionally, I prayed and asked Father to bless my womb with life. He did and this baby leaped into it with my next fertile cycle in January of 2002.
During this pregnancy I have had dozens of witnesses that completely endorse and validate the other promptings I had on holistic lifestyle choices over the years prior to Andrew’s birth. I used to be so confident, almost to the point of being cocky and offensive to those I came in contact with, that my way was the absolute best way to welcome babies into the world and to nurture and raise them. The confidence I feel in regards to all of this primal mothering is more quiet and clear. With the sober understanding that this lifestyle while wonderful in most ways, has it’s drawbacks and pitfalls. Some of these pitfalls are the loneliness and feelings of isolation the family may experience.
A lack of community for our husbands and children is also a very real phenomenon. We mother’s may feel supported, validated, and nurtured by friend’s from all across the world in our vast internet outreach, or in mothering circles in our community. But our husband’s and older children may not, and this lack of support for our partners may lead to a divorce. Our children may also feel they are “missing out” by not attending school, and our husband’s may be flat out rejected by peers who feel uncomfortable with these life choices. Men are already isolated in our western society and to add one more layer of isolation may tip the scales over to a family breakup.
Most truth in life is so surrounded by warfare that often it is difficult to clearly see and quantify what it is exactly that we are doing as parents. The ultimate payoff may not be felt for years, or even generations. But through the quiet, purposeful daily practice of nurturing, teaching, and loving our little ones in a very conscious way – we are battling all that is evil on the planet. As I have renewed my testimony and faith in the truths surrounding primal parenting during this very conscious pregnancy, a quiet yet firm confidence has welled up in my heart. The fullness of this flowering was made manifest not just to me, but also to Paul during our Blessing Way ceremony six days ago.
Early in my pregnancy, I was clear that the greatest gift I could give to my husband and children was the experience of the blessing way. I felt somewhat shy and embarrassed to organize my own ceremony – but had a very clear vision of how I wanted it to go. I felt confident that if I did nothing else during this child’s gestation – the feelings and power associated with a family blessing way would be the most important “prenatal care” we could experience. So, being the little red hen that I am, I set out to create the ceremony that would serve our family best.
Jeannine and Jenny at My Blessing Way
I contacted Jeannine and asked her if she and Rico were coming to Colorado at all during my pregnancy. She told me that they would be in town over Labor Day weekend. It was perfect! Labor Day! Symbolic and also a day when Dad’s would be off work! She told me that they usually get up to $1000.00 for conducting these ceremonies, but that with our young family she wondered if $300.00 would be too much? I assured her it would be fine. For the same price as an unnecessary ultrasound I was going to be blessed by the very pioneers of blessing way who would perform the sweet ceremony for my husband and I!
I spent the summer dreaming, planning and visualizing how I wanted the celebration to go. Being a Christian, I knew it would be important to have the Savior’s spirit in abundance at the party and I also knew that sacred hymns and prayer would be the best way to invite his spirit. I also understood that the ceremony and the feelings attached to it would be a potential pattern for how my birth would be and was concerned about the “wrong” people attending. After a few weeks of pondering on “who” to invite, I decided to trust that whomever came was meant to be there and that I should just invite everyone I knew.
I mailed out 95 invitations two weeks before the party. I invited almost everyone I know in Colorado. I gave out an additional 50 invitations to my church community the day before the party. I sent quite a few invitations out of state to various family and friends, knowing they would not be able to attend, but hoping they would be with us in spirit. My best friend Susanna wrote me the week before and promised that she would be praying and with me in spirit during the ceremony. I had planned and conducted a blessing way for her four years ago, here in Colorado before she moved to L.A. It was the first “baby shower” I had ever attended where I felt the spirit of the Lord and angels in attendance. I was hoping for something similar with mine.
It was scary, exciting, and overwhelming thinking who might attend, would there be enough food? Would people judge me for not doing a traditional baby shower? Would they think I was judging them for doing the traditional baby shower? Would I ever be invited to a baby shower again?
I let all of that go, and trusted that it would be perfect…and it was!
The morning began with a shopping trip to get the fruit, flowers and ice. Then I cleaned, napped, bathed, and dressed for the party. Jeannine, Rico, and Halley came at 8:00AM and pitched right in and helped with food preparation and loading the car. I will never forget Rico washing grapes and strawberries at my kitchen sink while I baked muffins. It was just so homey and natural to have these wonderful souls in my home! I showed them my herb garden and my newly painted bedroom, which had carefully been prepared for our new baby. Jeannine was so complimentary of my efforts; it just made me feel good, and nurtured.
We drove up to the park about 9:30 and set up all the tables, chairs, and food. Then I prepared my alter with a picture of Jesus, and a few meaningful things to me – a bag of wheat grass, a jar of Kamut, Wheat, and Flax seeds, and a sample cloth diaper. We had requested that no one bring gifts, but rather donate to our cloth diaper fund. Our friends gave generously and I was able to order all of the diapers needed for this new little one last week!
Soon after ten AM friends started to arrive. We ended up having four fathers’ attend in addition to Paul. I was so pleased that they had taken the time to come. As each family arrived I had a feeling again, of perfection. This was my tribe, my family, our support, and the very souls we were destined to bless the way with!
To invite the spirit of the Lord, I had asked my son Jeff to offer the opening prayer, but he declined, feeling shy in front of the group. Then I asked if anyone felt guided to say the prayer, and my friend Nancy, a Doula, said that she would be honored and proceeded to offer a wonderful prayer of thanksgiving and protection for our family as we welcome our new baby.
Then Rico described how the blessing way came to be practiced in our modern age, and Jeannine described the purpose of passing around the yarn which we all wound around our wrist’s symbolizing community and unity and support for our family. As we wound the string I sang the opening hymn, acapella. I chose this hymn because I have sung it so often the past year as I mourned the death of my older brother. Dave’s first child was born a few months after his death and it was sweet to have my sister in law Lori and her son Dylan at the party!
We sang this song at Dave’s funeral, and it has brought me much comfort this past year since his death – and it fit in perfectly with the blessing way theme. Here are the lyrics.
Come thou Fount
Come thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above,
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of thy redeeming love.
Here I raise to thee an alter,
Hither by thy help I’m come.
And I hope by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God.
He to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood.
Oh to grace, how great a debtor,
Daily I’m constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above.
For the full philharmonic version of this song watch the BYU version:
While I sang Jeannine noted two hawks flying overhead, gracing our party with their energy and spirit. As I finished the song, we broke the strings and tied them to our wrists to be a reminder to pray for the baby and the birth.
Then Jeannine and Rico did the ceremonial grooming. Letting down my hair, and noting coming wisdom evidenced by my first gray hairs. Paul noted that he must be very wise, as his head is covered in gray and we all laughed. Then Rico massaged Paul’s shoulders and expressed to him his love and confidence in his abilities as a husband and father/provider. Jeannine and Rico then demonstrated their hand mudras individually and then together facing us. The symbolic hand motions are indicative of the life walk that we all make first as individuals and then as part of a family.
Then they anointed our feet with a bottle of Young Living’s dream catcher essential oil blend. I had used this oil throughout the pregnancy and felt it would be appropriate for the blessing way. As Jeannine massaged and touched various reflex points in my feet, I felt a wave of loving energy wash over my body and the baby started to kick quite excitedly. Rico worked on Paul and as they massaged I asked that my friends start going around the circle telling who they were and how they knew our family. This was the highlight of the party for me and I really enjoyed hearing everyone tell how they had met our family and what our relationship was. Many touching things were said and I found myself tearing up as expressions of love and acceptance were conveyed to Paul and I.
To finish the ceremony Paul and I sang a hymn together with him accompanying on his guitar. We sang Jesus, Lover of my soul.
Here are the lyrics….
Jesus, lover of my soul
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the nearer water’s roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me oh, my savior hide,
Till the storm of life is past,
Safe into thy haven guide,
Oh receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee.
Leave oh leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust in thee is stayed
All my help from thee I bring,
Cover my defenseless head,
With the shadow of thy wing.
We finished the song, I had a feeling of love enter into my heart, from the circle of friends that had gathered and for my sweet lover and eternal companion, Paul. We finished the party with a feast of fresh fruit, muffins, and fruit juice and just visited and took pictures. Everyone was gone by 12:30 and we gathered up all of our belongings and went home. It was a beautiful and sacred moment in time for my family, and me and I will never forget the love conveyed and the happiness and joy that manifest during the party.
I feel that from this moment until the baby arrives we have been blessed, sanctified and set apart for the important task of welcoming our child into our home. Coming as it has after so much sorrow, warfare, and questioning of our choices and beliefs has made the joy experienced that much more intense for us.
My prayer for all of our families is that as we walk down this path we will be patient and loving as we learn new principles and truths and gradually implement them into our family life, with the understanding that it takes time to learn line upon line the precepts that will strengthen and nourish our children. I have a dream that by the time my children are grandparents these practices and this lifestyle will be firmly entrenched into our world as the ideal way to live family life. It has to be or how else is Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 65 going to be fulfilled? Lord knows it is not going to be fulfilled with the current worldwide path we are on with the medical model of chemical parenting.
Remember, Isaiah saw our day….
“And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain saith the Lord.”
Isaiah the Prophet .
And a prophecy from a modern day prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Would you want doctors? Yes, to set bones. We should want a good surgeon for that, or to cut off a limb. But do you want doctors? For not much of anything else, let me tell you, only the traditions of the people lead them to think so; and here is a growing EVIL in our midst. It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her. I will tell you what to do, you ladies, when you find you are going to have an increase, go off into some country where you cannot call for a doctor, and see if you can keep it. I guess you will have it, and I guess it will be all right, too.”
“It will be so in a little time that not a woman in all Israel will dare to have a baby unless she can have a doctor by her.”
Romance or Rape?
I believe that modern medical childbirth shares a striking similarity to sexual abuse. I would suggest that many women respond to their hospital birth experiences the same way that victims of rape or molestation respond to having their bodies trifled with by those who have power over them.
The trauma and powerlessness I experienced during my first birth was similar to accounts that I have read of molestation and rape.
I want to emphasize that the terrible thing that happened to me was NOTHING compared to what many women experience.
All things considered, my first birth was a total triumph, especially when considering the fact that I gave birth at a huge teaching hospital in Michigan which was the regional high risk hospital where all of the high risk women in the Detroit area were sent AND after the birth I learned this hospital had a 50% C-section rate. I gave birth with no drugs, episiotomy, internal fetal monitor, or epidural. I went into labor spontaneously on my due date after five days of pre labor during which we had three runs to the hospital before I finally stayed the fourth time to give birth. I share this negative experience to illustrate that even when a natural birth occurs, defilement’s can happen which leave the mother enraged, powerless, and feeling “raped or molested”.
I was twenty at the time of my first birth. I had read both of the Bradley books on natural childbirth. Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley MD and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan and Peter Rosegg. I read each book three times and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do during the labor. I also was prepared to say NO! to fetal monitoring, vaginal exams, and drugs for me and the baby.
The fourth time I went to the hospital, I was sent to triage alone, to see if I was dilated enough to be put in a labor room. Naked on the cold hard table, covered by a thin sheet…..waiting….freezing…..alone, I dealt with a number of contractions by myself. After a long time, two people entered the room. A female “doctor” and a young male “intern”. At this point I would like you to imagine that these are just a couple people off the street and not almighty doctors and ask yourself if their behavior in any other forum would be considered criminal.
The female shoved her fingers up my vagina. She didn’t look at me. She didn’t talk to me. She didn’t ask my permission. I was having a contraction when she did it and the exam was painful. Then the man took his turn. He shoved two of his fat fingers into my body and began digging around my cervix.
He was inside of me for a long time and when he pulled away his hand he declared to her “dilated to three”. She said “no, she was a two”. Then he again put two fingers into my body without saying a word to me and started reaming my cervix with his nails. While he was in there I began having another contraction and started moaning. They noticed and the female put her hands on my abdomen and started pushing on my belly. She told the male to put his hands on my lower abdomen to learn what a contraction feels like. I was freezing, my back was completely cramped in pain, and I quickly realized these people were using my precious laboring body as a teaching tool, without my permission. I looked at them both – they had still not acknowledged my presence – and said “Don’t you EVER touch me again while I am having a contraction.”
Later I learned that when couples sign paperwork to be admitted to the hospital, especially teaching hospitals, they wave all their rights. At home Paul and I had labored for hours alone, he was very effective in keeping me warm, hydrated, and comfortable by rubbing my back in that fabulous Bradley back massage. We had been so excited to greet our child.
At the hospital I felt backed into a corner, completely vulnerable and alone. When Paul came into the triage room after about 30 minutes I started to cry. I was just so cold and my back hurt and I was thirsty and felt so violated. I just wanted to go home. But that was the beginning of my seven hour fight to have a natural childbirth.
The anger and feelings of defilement from this experience stayed with me for a long time. In some ways they are still with me.
I had been a virgin when I married, and had only one vaginal exam from a trusted Family Doctor right before my marriage. My OB had only given me one exam during my whole pregnancy and this hands off approach was greatly appreciated by both my husband and me. Husbands get very territorial when they see some other man messing around with their wives bodies. When a husband watches another man or women touch or cut or massage their wife’s perineum, some have feelings of rage and anger. This is normal and justified.
For days after the birth all I could think about was this man – the intern – his cold dark eyes, his fat fingers digging around in my body. When I tried to articulate this to Paul, or my family, they would brush it off saying things like “you have this great baby, well, it was a teaching hospital, that’s how childbirth is, get over it, etc”.
I really couldn’t explain what I felt and why I was so upset.
As a young girl of 9 or 10, I had a few males in my life attempt to trifle with my body. I was not very effective in sticking up for myself. As I entered my teens the many men and boys who expressed an interest in my body were effectively brushed away with words. Once I had to elbow a young man in the nose to convince him to keep his hands to himself. The bloody nose I gave that sixteen-year-old was nothing compared to the violent rage I felt towards my perpetrators during my first birth. I wanted to kick and bite and scream. I am not one for extreme violence, however, I felt as violated as any victim of molestation.
Interestingly enough, later on I had no problem with my carefully selected doctors checking me for dilation. They were kind men and one woman – generally advocates of natural birth, and we shared a mutual respect. It was simply the cold assumption that my body was there for the taking during my first birth that really made me feel used and abused.
You may ask, “how then are doctors to be trained if they cannot learn on women in labor?” I honestly don’t care. Just stay away from me and my body. I plan to NEVER have another vaginal exam – from anyone. My body is mine and my procreative parts are for my husband and breast-feeding babies. Unassisted childbirth solidifies the marriage bond because it protects the couple from interfering hands which may leave the Mother feeling raped and the Father feeling like killing the attacker. Instead society expects Father to thank the guy that abused his wife, shake his hand, and pay him $7,000.00.
Note that I have not delved into the soul damage that occurs with episiotomy, cesarean, internal monitoring, the powerlessness of epidurals, and the detachment from husband and baby which occurs when the mother’s body is interfered with during labor and birth.
I believe the feelings of rage I experienced from fifteen minutes of violation are multiplied in some women with each procedure, each intervention, and each cut of the body.
This rage is confusing to the mother as she simply wants to enjoy her new baby after the birth, but instead finds herself projecting her rage towards the people who least deserve it…Her Husband and Baby. This undercurrent of anger bubbles to the surface often during the months after birth leaving husbands feeling defensive, guilty and panicked over what has happened to their wife since the baby arrived. Men on the other hand, deal with their own feelings of defilement as they play over again and again in their minds the emotional baggage which is present when one pays thousands of dollars to someone who tortures his wife and child in front of his eyes.
It is these couples who get the most angry when they learn of unassisted childbirth. So much emotion bursts forth that many of these couples divorce or separate or have other problems from remembering what they experienced during their birth and wondering how parenting would have been for them had they retained their sovereignty. The memory of the hours of torture and needles and “speed things up, slow things down”, the tease of manipulating labor, the blood and pain of the episiotomy, the fear of the cesarean, the money, the baby that is blue and not breathing. They wonder how different parenting would have been for them, if they had been able to have a quiet family centered home birth.
Because birth is a sexual event, it might be helpful for men to imagine how impossible it would be for them to engage in any sexual activity in a hospital birthing environment.
The hormones a woman needs to open the cervix and expel the baby are the exact hormones which allow her to achieve orgasm.
If a man was asked to produce some semen, the way a mother is expected to produce a baby in a hospital delivery room, surrounded by nurses and doctors, hooked up to monitors, poked and prodded and hurried along or slowed down based on the needs of the staff, and finally when someone else decided he just didn’t have what it took to produce that semen, and he was then hurried to surgery where his testicles were forcibly opened and semen taken from his body for “failure to progress” or some other such nonsense, that is sort of how it is for some women when they give birth in a medical environment.
Husbands and fathers -claim your sovereignty! Keep your wives home! Protect them! Nurture them! Feed them well!! And when the time comes, gently and romantically birth your sons and your daughters with your lover…alone, you can do it with Heavenly Father’s help!