HBAC Performance Manifesto – MAMA Artist Bio
SLQS is a Franco-Vietnamese artist living in East London. Her work is interdisciplinary and questions the politics of space and who is excluded from it. SLQS makes and holds space as a woman, a person of mixed heritage, a foreigner, a mother and an artist. She invites her audience to decolonise spatial orders from imperialist, sexist and racist structures. SLQS has presented work at Totally Thames, Spitalfields Music, Rich Mix, Procreate Project, the Live Art Development Agency, the Royal College of Art, the Brunel Museum, the Migration Museum and the Attenborough Art Centre. She is a board member of the Creative Think Tank for UK New Artists.
https://www.workbyslqs.com/ @workbyslqs (instagram)
About the work
The HBAC Performance Manifesto was written from my personal experience of being pregnant and not given access to a home birth or the birthing centre. Having previously had a caesarean, I was labelled ‘high risk’ and was not being heard.
On 4th and 5th November 2018, over 25 hours, I performed the act of giving birth at home with the support of two independent midwives. The birth was documented as an act of everyday life in the domestic space, with cameras set up in my kitchen, my bedroom and my living room. The Manifesto declares my views on birth as an every day performance and Home Birth After Cesarean (HBAC) as being a safe birth
option. It was published by the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) in 2020.
Independent midwifery supports choices for women by providing evidence based information and continuity of care to women. Since 2020, due to their insurance product being annulled, their home birth practice is now prohibited, threatening an ancestral profession and restricting women’s birth rights. A group of independent midwives are taking action and fundraising to set up their own insurance product owned by women, with the long term goal to set up a hardship fund. You can support their campaign here: Childbirth Choices Matters.
HBAC PERFORMANCE MANIFESTO
To the medicalised institutions, their medical staff and the health governmental bodies
ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?
NO I am not high risk
NO I will not go to the labour ward
NO I will not be immobilised by continuous monitoring NO I will not labour under time pressure
NO I will not listen to you
NO I will not be given a trial of labour
I WILL LABOUR!
Giving birth is an ancestral ritual which has been performed at home by women for centuries. An act which has ensured the survival of the human species.
Women and daughters have witnessed the act of giving birth for millennia. Women can perform the art of giving birth and every performance will be unique.
Giving birth is a creative act.
The ultimate act of transformation.
A HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) is a political act attempting to shift the power from an obstetrically-led medical institution to a woman-centred care approach.
Labour is a durational performance: starting spontaneously with an unexpected duration.
A HABC gives time to the performance of labour. There is no failure to progress, only failure to wait! Patience and respect for the process is practiced.
A HBAC requires participants to support the performer throughout the act of birth. Midwives, partners, family members, friends will be chosen in advance by the performer to participate in the event.
A HBAC enables the performer to control her birth. She is informed and capable of making the right decisions for herself and her baby. She rejects the politics of fear and failure institutionalised by hospital birth.
A HBAC should be available to all women without resistance. All women are eligible for care and should be in control of their choices without judgement.
I AM STRONG
I AM CAPABLE
I TRUST MY BODY I TRUST MY BABY
The performance of HBAC is not a medicalised event. It is a holistic act celebrating life itself. HBAC is performed without the traditional medical props.
NO Forceps NO Ventouse NO CTG
NO Augmentation Drugs
The performance of HBAC challenges the current medical hierarchy of birth. Verticality is replaced by horizontality.
The performance of HBAC reframes birth as an event in a woman’s life in her domestic environment. There is no drama.
Giving birth is a woman’s right of passage into motherhood. A physical and mental journey leading to an act of transformation. Such a journey requires preparation and planning, knowing that unforeseen circumstances can change the course of actions.
A birth plan is a manifesto of personal preferences.
In the performance of HBAC, hospitals and obstetrics interventions are for emergencies only. Giving birth is an innate performance. A primal aptitude buried deep inside every woman.
The performance of HBAC redefines risk. Risk is not measured as a possible scar rupture but as avoiding another assisted birth and future mental trauma associated to this experience.
The performance of HBAC promotes independence. INDEPENDENCE in the choices the performer makes about her birth. INDEPENDENCE from hospital’s policies
INDEPENDENCE from unnecessary medical intervention.
The performance of HBAC respects the culture of birth and the art of midwifery. The performance of HBAC is an act of activism.
Written by Sarah Le Quang Sang, October 2018,
In Flat 55 Maitland House, Bishops Way, London, E2 9HT