Mourning My Midwifery

From a career point of view I now have little to show for the three decades I spent as a midwife in Australia. That time came to an end because of two factors. First, there was the largely undebated destruction in the age of feminism of the publicly funded lying in period for new mothers; it wasnt undebated by me. Secondly an attack on me by a “progressive” politician misusing the police severely damaged my capacity to function as an Australian. I am still recovering, still in a state of shock;

Miwifery taught me much about the astonishing beauty of life when men and women combine in care of the newborn.

Why have western societies forgotten that?

Geoff Fox, 10th February, 2020, Terra Nullius

Tony Abbottt’s Tragic Mistake – Is this a Lesson for ScoMo?

Today is my last day as a Registered Midwife in Australia. Cutbacks in services to mothers and a personally debilitating attack on my human rights from within the ALP in Maribyrnong have combined to deprive me of this livelihood.

I am proud of the unique knowledge midwifery has given me of what women, men and children need.

Today my midiwfery registration expires. So this is my last chance to put on record as a midwife that I know of no other politician in Australia’s history who stood up for what Australian mothers really need as well as opposition leader Tony Abbott did with his courageous policy of a Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme funded by taxing big companies. At that time, as I recall, whenever I googled “ALP breast feeding policy”, I came up with policy relating to feeding lots for cattle.

Postponing the implementation of his truly great PPL scheme to the third year of his government’s three year term was a tragic mistake.

By the time that third year arrived, relentless attacks on his alleged misogyny had eaten up the massive political capital he had in his first year.

So feminist and conservative attacks on Mr Abbott’s proposed PPL contributed to Australian mums losing a great chance to get a huge part of the support they need to increase their chances of breast feeding longer.

There is a lesson here for reelected Prime Minister Scott Morrison: he should not wait till the third year of the normal parliamentary term to do things for which he has a clear mandate now.

Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of Religion.

We need both these fundamental rights protected now.

In his maiden speech to parliament in 2008, ScoMo said “Australia is not a secular country — it is a free country.” With passing time these wise words are less clearly true.

Good on you, ScoMo, for saving Australia’s national government from the human rights catastrophe of Maribyrnong Bill.

Please protect our freedoms soon.

Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, May 31, 2019

Gender And Society: Calling Out Hysteria

 

This is what I believe and what I need to say and discuss to survive:

 

1. Men, women and children need to live with love.

This love is an indispensable foundation of human society.

 

2. Three fundamental mothering capacities differentiate women from men:

A The ability to carry and nurture life in the womb.

B The capacity to give birth to that life.

C The ability to give the best possible nutrition to new human beings by breast feeding.

 

3 These three qualitative differences give mothers and potential mothers some different human rights and responsibilities to the rights and responsibilities of other people.

 

4 The modern western demonisation of men and disempowerment of mothers are two sides of the same coin.

 

5 The cradle of human culture is maternal love.

 

6 True loving manliness empowers and protects mums.

 

7 When family life ceases to be a nation’s foundation, the nation’s death is inevitable.

 

Geoff Fox, Rembang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia, 31st August 2018

SOME QUESTIONS FOR MOTHERS DAY FROM A VICTORIAN MIDWIFE.

I have been a midwife in Australia for 30 years.

I believe that human babies have a right to human milk.

Who agrees with me?

6 months exclusive breast feeding is the recommended minimum. According to the latest publicly available comprehensive figures, 96% of Australian mothers initiate breast feeding for their newborns. At 5 months only 15% have been exclusively breast fed for that time. To achieve better breast feeding rates, mothers need more support.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities states: “Every child has the right, without discrimination, to such protection as is in his or her best interests and is needed by him or her by reason of being a child.”

The first few days are crucial to establishing breast feeding.

Since breast feeding is unarguably the best foundation for a baby’s life long physical, psychological and social health, why have successive Victorian governments whittled away at the publicly funded lying in period spent among midwives for new mothers?

When I became a midwife in the late 1980’s, we were very reluctant to send a breast feeding woman home if the milk supply was not established. Sometimes that could mean midwifery care in hospital for a week. Most mothers stayed for three to five days.

Since then the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative made Victorian hospitals much better places to establish breast feeding than they were. But the question, “Is the milk in yet?” has been replaced in public hospitals by the question “How soon do you want to go home?” The common length of stay is one to three days or earlier if the mother wants. For some women going home quickly is highly desirable and not a problem at all. But for others, undisturbed bonding with the baby under the care of experts in breast feeding is a need that it is impossible to meet at home.

Why have women and their newborn babies been denied the right to a publicly funded lying-in period to establish breast feeding?

I believe this has happened because it is cheaper for new mothers to be sent home quickly than it is to care for them.

Earlier this decade, I told Labor Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, that I believed new mothers were being sent home too quickly. Her immediate response was to ask what impact would that have on breast feeding rates. She promised to discuss my concerns with me, but did not deliver on the promise till she became Attorney General: she knew there was a problem but she didn’t make the time to listen to me when it counted.

At that time if you googled “Liberal Party breast feeding” Tony Abbot’s generous paid parental scheme was what you found: this policy would have helped breast feeding rates; he clearly did care. Who cares now?

If you googled  ”Labor Party breast feeding” the result was policies about cattle feedlots.

Australia’s latest national comprehensive breast feeding figures are from 2010.

Share market prices can be dealt with in seconds or even milli-seconds.

Who wants a better balance between our attention to our breast feeding rates and our attention to stock prices? I know I do.

Why don’t we have regular updates on breast feeding rates?

Is there a single candidate running in this year’s Victorian state election who cares about breast feeding and who will push for better midwifery postnatal services and the return of a publicly funded lying-in period available to all mothers?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/breastfeedingsupportinvictoria/?ref=group_browse_new was my attempt to raise awareness prior to the previous election. Who wants to revive this effort?

Mothers want to give their babies the best.

But they need more support.

Who else cares about this?

Societies which neglect the needs of mothers and their babies cannot survive.

Geoff Fox, Midwife. 08-05-2018.