Bias and Birthworkers
I am biased towards rivers over oceans. I have a bias against country music. These are fairly benign biases I have. I'm not ashamed of having biases and I continuously make an effort to be aware of my biases. This is an important quality for birthworkers to have and one that By the Moon incorporates into their Holistic Reproductive Practitioner training. We cannot teach ourselves or each other not to have biases. To have bias is to be human. Our experiences, the knowledge we've been exposed to, our parents, family and friends, the media, these things all shape us and because each of us has different experiences, family, friends, networks and education, we all have our own individual and unique biases.
Unchecked, our biases can be lit up by ego, our identity that's very survival depends on our attachment to our biases. It is also human to have ego. Without ego we could not contribute successfully as humans. It is a great asset to humans to have awareness of their ego and how it rubs up against the ego of others too. A well checked ego is a great companion, like a well behaved dog. Always with you, but each always connected to each other to move together in harmony with others.
Why am I biased towards rivers? It's not that I don't like oceans, but I grew up in a town far away from any ocean, but we did have a river that crossed through the center of our town. I have great memories of swimming in the river with my mom and siblings, with friends and cousins. We canoed up the river, we fished in the river with my dad, we built rock pools in the river. I've since had some experiences with oceans and they've been great, but nothing imprinted me like those many memories on the river. I love how rivers are ever changing. Around each corner the river is completely new. It can be wide and still or shallow with rapids.
Growing up in the small town that I did we had a reputation for being country folk. Most of my peers grew up on and worked on farms. Many took a lot of pride in their family culture of cows and hay bales. I did not grow up on a farm and my dad played rock n roll records. My family used to dance to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Don McLean and Styx vinyls playing on my dad's record player. I never identified with the country culture that I was assumed to be a part of in highschool in the nearby city and this shaped my bias against country music, my need to be seen for who I believed myself to be.
I don't think anyone has ever been really affected by my preferences for music or nature settings, but what about our more significant biases? The ones that can affect our business or our client and professional relationships? What shapes how we perceive the medical system? Our political affiliations? Our tendencies towards a specific birth setting or care provider? What influences how we share information and what information we share with our clients so they can make their own informed decisions? How deep are our biases and can we provide truly unbiased information?
The most significant experiences that we have have the most powerful affect on our major biases that can potentially make our work more challenging. Our biases are ever changing. Every birth we attend, every experience we have, every book we read or choose not to read, our interactions with other professionals or clients and their individual biases shape ours either by reinforcing them, swaying them slightly or shifting them entirely. With an effort to continuously be aware of what our preferences are and why they are, we can continuously step back into position of the observer instead of the fully engaged and unconscious ego.
When we can step away from our need to be right and instead be the observer and find things interesting instead of allowing them to hook us in, we can interact in a more neutral way. For those experiences that shaped our bias because they were traumatic, receiving healing support to release the imprint can help us harvest the blessings or wisdom from the experience without forever carrying around the weight of that which we can otherwise continue to find triggering. When we can provide our clients with a similar kind of healing support, they are more free to make decisions based on knowledge and intuition without the fear based energy locked in from old traumas or imprints.