Mia Freedman, of Mamamia (and former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo, Cleo and Dolly), shared her views on 'Birthzillas', and 1300+ comments later the nerve it hit is still creating big fat angry ripples. As Sleepless Nights rightly points out, what works for you (or Freedman, in this case) doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with any other mother.
In defence of Freedman, if a stranger asked me at a BBQ if had a placenta delivery plan I would also probably want to stab myself with a sausage. But I don’t think it’s worth getting angry about or calling the placenta-plan promoter a Birthzilla. As birthing is a significant life event where occasionally babies die or mothers are diagnosed with PTSD due to the trauma, shouldn’t we all tread a little more lightly?
|Roar! Get your claws out.|
Language has the power to heal, but it also has the power to destroy. What I wish is that people wouldn’t call it a birth debate. That women are therefore choosing one side of the argument or other as soon as they make even the slightest birth preference known. What I wish is that birth acceptance and birth preferences are taught as part of all antenatal classes (and by birth acceptance, I don’t mean an arrogant ‘tolerance’ of others’ birth choices, – but learning strategies to process a birth that didn’t go as ‘planned’.)
Language can be very divisive, and this week I’ve read both extremes: homebirthers who call doctors rapists, and hospital staff that call natural birthers suicidal. We need to look at how we speak about this issue, but, as a tip, calling anyone a ‘Birthzilla’ is always going to be divisive and judgemental.
Women who have passionate views on the birthing process have more in common than some of them realise. On both sides of the fence is the issue of control. For some mothers, it’s about staying in control (by choosing the birth they want, whether this is with medical intervention and / or a caesarean, or not) or relinquishing control (by trusting medical professionals to make the best decisions, or allowing your body to follow its own labour timeline in a birth centre).
The problem with the ‘in control’ versions, of course, is that some fight for this right to choose by slamming or pointing out the flaws of others’ choices. In some ways it’s a paradox, because you may be fighting for the right to choose while simultaneously reducing or discrediting the rights of others to do the same.
Personally, I’ve heard judgements on both sides. Assumptions have been made that I’m against the natural birthing movement, because I’ve had a caesarean, or when they realise that I went to a Calmbirth course beforehand, that I’m against caesareans on principle, or the medicalization of birth. Neither of those views is true, and neither is relevant to the childbirth experiences of other mothers.
Those who are the most passionate and have the most to say should LISTEN. LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN*. When someone tells you they’re having a baby, don’t share your birth story unless you’re asked for it. As for where to get your information, if you are interested in birth: sure, ask other mothers or aunts or sisters or cousins if you want the anecdotal, but for greater authority, go to midwives who have given birth themselves, and who listen (not all do). They are better situated than most to give sensible advice about the myriad choices, thoughts and feelings a pregnant woman may have, whether of a practical or personal nature.
Because I’m a private person (somewhat surprising for someone who feels the need to publicly spew-blog everyday), my birth stories will be kept out of the public sphere until the people that resulted from them get to hear it first, WHETHER THEY’RE INTERESTED OR NOT. (I WILL STRAP THEM TO A CHAIR AND THEY WILL HEAR EVERY LAST DETAIL.)
For those of you who are pregnant and reading this, may your birth be everything you wish for and need it to be.
Skate or die!!,
(I’m well aware that by blogging, I’m not exactly listening myself at the moment but I’ve read the govt. fact sheets, the Ina May Gaskin, the blogs for and against and you, know, am not perfect.)