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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The Walk

The Mom Walk went quite well. Klara loves observing small babies, and there were several of them.  People seemed to assume I was a lifelong resident of the area. Accents and countries of origin weren’t mentioned. 

The only thing I didn’t like was the obligatory “horror stories” about giving birth. Everybody relates their fake horrible story and stares at me because it’s my turn. And I say only, “I had a C-section” because really the bad stories mobody shares. If you want to talk about it, that means you have no idea how bad it can be, and good for you. 

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3 thoughts on “The Walk

  1. I have come to the conclusion that some of these birth horror stories are actually Freudian-style displacements. That is: I’ve heard of some actually rough births, the kind of thing that would be bad but that turned out all right — healthy child, recovered mother — such that, years later, one would expect not to be immediate Issues, but that are: people breaking into tears when they think of it, etc. So I’ve decided that either it was worse than I understand or than has been disclosed, or that the stories are figures of other traumas.

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    • It feels to me like it’s identity building. The most secure way to signal your identity is by inscribing it on the body through pain. Men, for instance, might swap stories of getting into fights or athletic injuries. In patriarchal societies, women.might share stories of being hit by men with this sort of a bragging attitude because it’s part of identity building.

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      • So then tattoos: signaling identity by inscribing it on the body through pain?

        Also, re the birth horror stories: I’ve heard that there are shaping wounds that make you you; perhaps for some people it’s the birth event that made them aware of individuality, or autonomy, or something. Elements of the story seem to always include: disagreeing with doctor/being angry at them; being left uninformed/alone at some key point; demanding rights and realizing they are right. Also, and this is something I know happens, the attendants always claim they know more (no, you are not in labor, etc.) and the mother realizes she must assert herself, and is retrospectively proud of it. So there are all these issues about identity and authority, and power, that are real problems in the US system of birth. (In Louisiana you must lie precisely on your side, be tied to an IV, and cannot stand up or walk when in labor, I am told, for instance.)

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