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Comment of the Week: No Control?

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by ANaturalAdvocate


Kathy Peterson left this comment on the thread Racism and Low Birth Weight 101:


Wow. Yet, somehow, to be expected. If people have the attitude that they have no control over their lives and health, and that “whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen,” then they’ll be less likely to try to exert control over their health as best they can, but just float along with the river, to wherever the river decides to take them. Perceiving yourself as “a victim of circumstance” is not a healthful mindset. It’s like Peppermint Patty (from the Charlie Brown and Snoopy comic strip) — once she turned in a blank paper, saying that the teacher hated her and would fail her regardless of what she did, so why bother?

It is my hope as a “sister-friend” in the Birthing Project that I can help empower women to take control of their lives, and to choose healthy things for themselves and their babies. And that by so doing, I can help to save some babies’ lives, and make the mothers happier in their lives, and also to be better mothers as well.


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Reader Comments (3)

Aww, thanks! :-)

October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

I appreciated this comment also. And I had a friend in jr high and high school who was quite beaten down by poverty, who took this attitude. By poverty, I mean for instance that she came to school in flip flops in the snow of a New York winter, for an entire winter, because they were the only shoes she had. She had need for thyroid hormone but her parents didn't get it for her, either through lack of caring or lack of money or some combination of the two, and would accept no one else's help to get it for her. She was very smart and talented, and if encouraged in a subject could do extremely well, but if a teacher took a negative attitude towards her or the subject was difficult, she would indeed hand in blank papers. I tried to teach her my techniques for answering essay questions in subjects where I didn't really know very much, and for making the best guesses on multiple choice questions when I didn't really know the answer, but she just shrugged. Our music teacher recognized her musical talent and taught her to play the cello. She played one of the school's cellos but at some point she was able to get her own although I am not sure how. He praised her daily, seeing how she responded to this. With his encouragement she auditioned for and won a scholarship to a prestigious conservatory of music. These scholarships are awarded based on "blind" auditions, in which the applicants play behind a curtain.
However when she went to the school, she found the academic part of the work insultingly easy and ignored it. She was ready to work hard at the cello which she loved, but the cellist teaching there was an older man who believed that there was no place for women in symphony orchestras. Towards the women he performed his duty of teaching but with no encouragement. A woman with a thick skin could have learned in that environment, but my friend could not. She lost her scholarship.
Meanwhile she had been working in a grocery store to support herself, and there she was appreciated, rose to be a manager and later a manager of several stores, and she gave up the cello, which I think is very sad.
Anyway, the Peppermint Patty's blank paper reminded me of her. It isn't only in cartoons that people hand in blank papers because they have given up.
Susan Peterson

October 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Peterson

I actually had the opposite experience. I went through my pregnancy fully in control. I had a laid back, hands-off midwife who let me choose my tests and interventions. I read birthing books and birthing stories. My husband and I attended 12 weeks of birthing classes with a woman who herself had delivered 5 babies naturally and four unassisted. So when I went into labor the day before MY estimated due date (the day after the due date calendar), I knew what to expect and felt very prepared for my planned homebirth. I was not some naive, terrified woman. Or so I thought.

It's hard to sum up 42 hours of labor into a few sentences, but looking back, I think that my "control" was my biggest problem. I hated the wrenching pain of contractions, and I fought them every step of the way--without intending to. I dialated VERY slowly, even with my midwife gently stretching me further. I labored in the bath and shower, sat on my (sad, deflating) exercise ball, while walking, standing, swaying, crouching, sitting (not lying--yowch!). I did not sleep for two full nights as my body contracted. I expected the labor to take over, do-it's-thing, and produce a baby. Instead, after 36 hours of labor, exhaused, after trying homeopathic remedies and nipple stimulation, only dialated to 5, (oh and with 24 hours of broken waters with some old meconium) we transfered to a hospital. I was put on a very low dose of pitocin, and after a gentle suggestion from my midwife, allowed for an epidural. I was dialated to 10 in less than an hour. My midwife fully believes that the epidural--not the pitocin--did the trick.

I have faught with the demons of my "failed natural birth" since the day after my beautifully healthy girl was born vaginally (a miracle!). But I have finally forgiven myself and found much to be thankful for in the situation. But, I just found out I am pregnant with #2. I plan on another homebirth with my midwife and hope for the traditional fast second birth, but I am not going to depend on that "hope" alone. I had an epiphany the other day. I was thinking, "It's going to take some pretty strong relaxation techniques to work for me." And then I realized, I am such a strong woman, that I held back labor and prevented a very natural event with the power of my mind. If I can tap into that power to promote labor (and maybe pain relief!) . . . just wow! (I was actually researching Hypnobabies when I stumbled across this site.) I was proud of myself for finding an affimation in the fear of another "failure". :)

So, I totally agree with your statement, but I actually was waiting for the circumstances that I had set up to take over for me, but I actually had too much control over the situation.

October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
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