Giving Birth? Shame on You!
It really annoys me when people bully or shame pregnant women and treat them like stupid sheep incapable of making their own decisions. Here is an example of such an attitude:
This is in addition to the shamefully high cesarean section rates of most hospitals, which carries all the risks of any major abdominal surgery.
Got it? A woman chooses a method of delivering a child that suits her best and that is shameful. I have once witnessed a woman being bullied – and I mean really bullied – as she was carted into the delivery ward by a bunch of officious, uneducated, stupid doulas who thought they knew better than this woman and her doctor what she needed to do with her body. You have to be a real jerkwad to bully a person who is on her way to give birth.
I am getting pretty damn sick of seeing women subjected to unnecessary surgery. Plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, FGM, episiotomy, c sections. It means real pain and injury, sometimes death, for women. The popularity of c-section births has a relationship to some popular anti-woman ideas.
And I’m getting pretty damn sick of people who don’t realize how disgusting and anti-woman this need to police women’s reproductive choices is. I’ve got to wonder why it is that we never see any kind of questioning of the choices men make about their bodies. Is that because, for some people, any choice that a woman makes is by definition suspect? Is that because such people simply cannot accept the idea that women have brains and can be allowed to make their own choices about their own bodies?
In North America today, you have to be a very strong and resilient woman to choose a C-section. Even people who know you very well and have no reason to suspect that you’d make such a decision lightly, immediately get into a hectoring mode whenever you mention this choice. Just the other day, I’ve been talking to a friend who’s known me for the better part of a decade. When I mentioned that, for me, an elective C-section would be my method of choice to give birth, he immediately started delivering this very didactic speech on how “natural birth is best and are you even planning to breastfeed.” In the past 8 years, there has never been a single occasion when he’d taken such a tone with me. Of course, when he saw horror on my face, he stopped and apologized profusely. (If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know what scared my friend.)
I suggest that we just shut the fuck up about how the choices that women make about their own bodies make us feel. If you believe that vaginal birth is best, then, by all means, go have one. Or fifteen, if that’s your pleasure. Just stop criticizing the choices other people make and assuming that you know best what’s good for them.
If you experience any need to criticize the delivery, pregnancy, contraception, and abortion choices of other people, you need to analyze where this deep-seated aggression towards others comes from. And if a discussion of people’s reproductive choices makes you start using words like “shameful,” the only person who needs to be ashamed is you.