Closing Speech-Geréb Ágnes

I was thinking about what I could say in my closing speech. I have said everything I had to say inconnection with the court case – thank you for that.

 

If this right to the last word was a non-verbal genre, I would have lit a candle for the baby bornhealthy at home on 4th March 2000 who fell into the state of clinical death in the arms of hermother and suffered damage due to lack of oxygen,

 

then died at 14 months. Another, December24th candle for Barnabas, since every Christmas for seven years has been his.

Thirdly I wouldhave lit a candle for Greta who has had every September 15th since 2007. And there would be agreat big candle burning for all those newborns who irrespectively of me, not through homebirth,over the 21 year period of my midwifery practice, suffered damage due to lack of oxygen; andanother great big candle for those newborns who, over these same 21 years, and also unconnectedto homebirth, died; and one more great big candle for those women who over the same period oftime, and also not through homebirth, bled to death.

The next subject I feel relevant here is one relating to the media and the responsibility for shapingpublic opinion. For instance, when rumours about homebirth are delivered, the building at Almautca is usually used as a background image, taken from a frog’s perpective showing a huge cornerbuilding in an evening shot with some lights on in the top floor apartments, making the buildinglook huge and giving the impression that the whole house belongs to us when in fact our place inthis block is the 70sqm lower ground floor apartment. I resign to such cases of misrepresentationwithout any hurt. I am deeply upset, however, when the introduction of homebirth regulationsis commented on as it being necessary, as due to the lack of a legal regulation mothers andnewborns fell victim to midwives not calling ambulances for them… I know my midwifecolleagues very well. It is absolutely certain that no such incidence has ever or can ever occurirrespective of regulations – none of us would ever put our self interest before the safety of themother and the newborn.

And now I would like to highlight a few things about homebirth.There are a few equalisers in life, when everybody is the same irrespective of the colour of theirskin, the amount of money they have or what their profession may be. One of these events isbirth, the state near giving birth. I like to accompany women there and to be there with them,assist them with my best professional knowledge and total presence, so that they are not disturbedby anything, so that they can experience that certain equality, uniformity and so can receive andset their baby on his/her way. For a more peaceful future. For a more tolerant future.

The grandfather of my two younger children, Miklos Erdely describes this beautiful start withequal opportunities poetically, in his very own artistic phrase like this: Every single pawn ispregnant with a queen.
An finally, let me say something about homebirth which I had only felt somewhere deep, Iknew why I worked in these past decades but would never have been able to put into words
so beautifully. For years, April 7th has been the Day of Homebirth. For this year’s Day ofHomebirth I invited someone to come and give a talk and asked him to let me know the title ofhis talk and a few words about the content. This man died a week today, but had written this gemjust shortly before. I read it out:

Dear Agnes, I cannot write “sentences” – I don’t even know what I am going to talk about; me, the outsider doomed to be the eternal layman, the “man”. I would be happiest to talk about “the discreet autonomy of creativity”. About the fact that I feel: the inimitable privilege of homebirth is that itcreates those intimate and safe conditions in which the creator can turn towards herself and hercreation being born, undisturbed. About the necessity of this creative solitude (not loneliness) forthe woman to recognise herself as a creative person – to create and not just for things to happento her – and to keep contact with the creation she gives birth to. And a few words perhaps aboutwhat a great role this autonomous creativity plays in motherhood and the quality of the unfolding relationship between mother and child.

With Love, Jeno Raschburg