As I've been reading various blogs about birth and women's health, I'm finding myself face to face (or face to computer screen) with people who have very passionate views on birth, epidurals, c-sections, and so on. Sometimes it feels like every chatroom or blog with birth as a subject has at one time or another become one of those vitriolic town hall meetings on I've seen CNN. Birth and the circumstances surrounding it can be a sensitive issue for many people regardless of their experience with it. Women who are proponents of natural childbirth are called selfish birth Nazis. Women who have had planned, elective c-sections are being verbally attacked for their choices. And who is attacking these women, you might ask. OTHER WOMEN!!! Women belittling, degrading, and passing judgement on other women. What has that ever solved? Ummm, let me think... Oh, yeah. NOTHING!!! *Deep breaths* Sorry, I just get so steamed when I see this stuff. I'm calm now. I promise. Back to what I was saying.
Birth is a very personal event and there is no one right way of giving birth. And I don't believe every woman on the planet can or should give birth vaginally or without intervention. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a staunch supporter of natural birth and *true* informed consent. I have no problem with a woman choosing to have an epidural or a c-section as long as she knows the risks and those risks aren't down-played to influence her decision. What I do have a problem with is a system which perpetuates the idea that women's bodies are flawed, that at least half of us don't have the capacity to birth our babies the way our foremothers have done for ages, that we are emotionally and physically unable to cope with the rigors of childbirth, that we need to be rescued. I don't feel that a woman who undergoes a c-section or has an epidural has failed. If anything, it may be she who has been failed. Perhaps if more women were supported within their communities, by their health care providers, and, dare I say it, by other women, our (non-medically indicated) c-section rates might not be as high as they are. That being said, it is time we stopped hurling insults at each other and started turing our passionate feelings and our energy toward fixing the system.
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