Sustained by joy: The potential of flow experience for midwives and mothers

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Sustainability, Midwifery and Birth, 2011, 1, pp. 87 - 100
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When asked to write on midwifery and sustainability, I was struck by the fact that such a request could only be a very modern one. Until recently no one could see such a basic practice as midwifery as anything other than sustainable in itself and contributing fundamentally to sustaining society. Birth is about relationships. It was, and in many contexts still is, something done by mothers who are supported by midwives and families. Changes over recent years have seen birth move from the home to the hospital and become surrounded by increasingly complex technology and organization. Birth is also the entry to society and how we manage that entry demonstrates our values as a society. We thus have tensions between supportive relationships around birth and our organizations that embody values of hierarchy, efficiency, technology and expert authority. These tensions can create frustration for midwives and mothers; but behind this shines the knowledge of what birth can be.
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