OHBABY Wainer offers the women a spiritually and emotionally safe environment where women can connect with each other as they process and grieve and share. â€œMany times in the early days when I first began offering these weekend workshops at my home, I would head off to bed and I would hear the women talking well into the night,â€? she says, adding that she now holds the very same workshop all over the country. â€œItâ€™s amazing what women get from each other in terms of healing.â€? But for as much as the women who attend Wainerâ€™s workshops get from each other, it is her help and guidance that they remember most. Jenny Griebenow contacted Wainer after a difficult and traumatic birth, and their correspondence led her, ultimately, to attend one of the healing workshops. â€œI had read her book Silent Knife after my cesarean in 1995 and called her partly out of desperation to talk to someone who would understand how I felt,â€? Griebenow says, one of many who offers the sentiment that Nancy has changed her mindset, her perspective and in some small ways, her heart. They say she gave them their lives back, and that she transformed them. They say that without the workshop, they would never have willingly and knowingly entered into the scary world of pregnancy and birth again. Itâ€™s a wonder that all of their VBAC babies arenâ€™t named Nancy, frankly, given the vigor and depth of their praise. Joyce Kimball is a Worcester-area Certified Professional Midwife who has been inspired by Wainerâ€™s work over the years. She was traumatized, she says, by her sonâ€™s birth in 1995 and was able to finally, three years after the experience, attend one of Wainerâ€™s healing workshops. â€œIt was a profound workshop. The exercises, writing, talking, reframing, crying and feeling I did at the workshop was a healing experience for me,â€? she says. â€œI didnâ€™t think that I would have any more children after my son was born but after attending
Nancyâ€™s workshop, I was able to process my first birth experience and open up to the possibility of a second labor, birth and baby.â€? According to Wainer, her workshops allow anger to be respected, grief to be validated and questions to be answered â€“ a recipe for healing that many women find to be deeply restorative. Itâ€™s hard to admit and yet harder to deny: we live in a time when scheduling your babyâ€™s birth (via planned C-section) is as easy as scheduling a hair appointment. Despite the fact that in 2004 the Academy of Gynecology and Obstetrics modified their guidelines to include doctors to encourage VBACs in a medically responsive institution, very few, if any, Massachusetts obstetricians will perform the procedure. With Cesarean rates rising steadily to a jaw-dropping 31.7 percent of all births from less than 5 percent in the early 1970s, many midwives â€“ with Nancy at the forefront of the movement â€“ wonder how we got here, why we stay here and when women are going to take back their power when it comes to their decisions and how and where to birth their babies. Even the US Department of Health and Human Servicesâ€™ Healthy People 2020 initiative includes reducing the Cesarean rate and increasing the VBAC rate in their objectives. â€œMost of what I do now, in my speaking engagements my writing, is to warn women about the pitfalls and hazards of medical interventions,â€? she says. â€œI try to empower women to avoid these dangers and to select good care providers.â€? For more information on Heal your Birth Tears, visit healyourbirthtears.blogspot. com/p/venue.html. Amanda Roberge is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who muses online at ConfessionsofaCurvyGirl.com.
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March 2012 edition of baystateparent Magazine