January 2012


Did you know that Ron Paul, a top-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is an OB/GYN who has caught over 4,000 babies, and left Congress voluntarily from 1984 to 1997 to return to his private practice?  (If you weren’t aware that he’s a top-tier candidate, you can thank the mainstream media blackout, but that’s another blog post.)

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Paul for years.  He’s been my lodestone when it comes to sorting out the baloney that gets proposed in Congress every year, and I was a local meetup coordinator and helped set up a campaign office for his 2008 campaign.  (Since then I’ve had two children, which makes that kind of outside time commitment a nostalgic impossibility.)

A friend told me recently that it seems ironic, considering my fairly intense disagreement with the obstetrical model of birth, that I avidly support an OB for president.  Until then I really hadn’t even thought about that potential conflict, and the reason why is the essence of why I support Dr. Paul in the first place.

Dr. Paul could completely disagree with my choice to have a home birth, but he would still completely support my right to choose my own place of birth and care provider.  Plain and simple, that distinction is the core of his politics, and my own.

It’s time to think long-term and get away from the politics of trying to elect the guy who will force our favorite ideas on society.  I would not vote for someone who said “I’m going to propose legislation to require every hospital to have midwives on staff.”  Why?  Because the federal government simply does not, and should not, have that authority.  If we clamor that today’s President and Congress can and should force the medical industry to integrate midwifery, then we are granting that tomorrow’s officials, with different opinions and financial backers, have the authority to force midwives to work in hospitals and not in the home, or to be trained in ACOG-approved schools.  (And considering the established medico-pharma lobby, which scenario is really the more likely?)

In other words, we need to stop thinking about what we want “our guy” to do, and start thinking about what we don’t want “their guy” to have the power to do.  And if we really want tolerance and acceptance and freedom of choice for birthing mothers, we have to include all birthing mothers, and non-mothers, and families, and individuals.  Special interests serve only to divide us from each other so that we squabble while the establishment continues to ratchet our freedoms away.  Every individual has a right to bodily autonomy (life and liberty), whether we agree with their choices or not.  The vast majority of politicians neither understand nor respect this natural right.

Dr. Paul is the only candidate I trust to take into account individual liberty and Constitutional law when he makes his decisions, so that even if he doesn’t agree with me on everything, he is still going to do his best to leave me alone–and make Congress uncomfortably aware of the limitations on their own Constitutional authority.  He also has a reputation for being lobby-proof, and that is exactly what we need: a return to principle over influence, right over might, the individual over the state or corporation, and law over lobby.

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Thank you to Caitlyn Blake for sharing her poem and beautiful stretch-mark photo on Birth Without Fear.

Commercialized “beauty” is fake, brittle, cold, and dead.  Real beauty is found in a father’s strong arms, a mother’s fertile belly, and all the other ways our bodies look when we live in them.  The great delusion we have allowed to be foisted on us through unrealistic ideals of appearance is that body changes from motherhood and maturity are a sacrifice.

Having the body of a mother is not a sacrifice, or a punishment, or an embarrassment. Having the body of a mother is a blessing.

If I did not have the body of a mother, my babies could not have grown to full term inside my big, stretchy belly.  My babies were born beautifully round and healthy because I grew beautifully and healthily round.

If I did not have the body of a mother, I could not have nursed my own babies for as long as they needed, and provided extra milk for others besides.

Those of us who long for children and have been unable to conceive, or who dearly wanted to nurse their babies and could not breastfeed or did not get the support they needed, would give anything for those stretch marks or those unpredictably-sized breasts.

We put on wedding rings because we feel the need to signify physically that we have committed our lives to loving and nurturing another.  When we become mothers, we make that same commitment to our children, and we are blessed with the beautiful changes that signify our motherhood.

For pictures of the many badges of motherhood, check out The Shape of a Mother.