Friday, December 12, 2008

"Normal Birth"

To follow up to M's last post (and my comment that got cut off somehow), what disturbs me about the Orgasmic Birth site is the idea that there is such a thing as a "normal" birth. If we were to poll the TRS mothers we'd find many different birthing experiences; none more "normal" than others. While an unmedicated home birth might be a more "natural" way to give birth, the truth is that the process does carry inherent risks for mothers and babies. Furthermore, the idea that one way of giving birth is more "natural" and "normal" ostracizes women who, for whatever reason, cannot have an unmedicated home birth.

"A large part of the reason is that technocratic practitioners are deeply afraid of birth. As a result, they overuse technology in an effort to make themselves feel in control of a process they don’t really understand. [...] Why isn’t that OK? Because, as I say in Orgasmic Birth, the overuse of drugs and technology interferes with the normal physiology of birth and causes far more harm than good. It is a sad fact that obstetricians are not trained in and do not understand the normal physiology of birth. How could they be? Only about 3% of births in the United States, including those that take place at home, are normal; drugs and technology dominate all the rest. Doctors almost never see normal birth. Therefore, they have no opportunity to learn about it. "

According to this logic, duckling's birth was abnormal and my doctor was scared.

Drugs and technology kept my baby breathing when she was having difficulty, drugs protected my heart from infection (I have a heart condition), forceps helped prevent a c-section, pitocin (evil satan's syrup that it is) sped up stalled labor, etc. None of the technology or drugs was used without my consent, my doctor exuded confidence and did not want to intervene until she had to, and all of it seemed normal to me at the time.

Aaahh... I could write on this much more, but sadly mediocre student papers beckon.


AcadeMama said...

Just saying....I'm so sick and tired of the words "normal" and "natural" being applied to all things maternal. Really. Enough. Both are constructed, usually with the purpose of making one group of women feel morally, physically, intellectually, or "maternally" superior to another group.

We grow people. That's pretyy f*&#ing cool.

AcadeMama said...

should be "pretty"

Oxymoron said...

We grow people. That's pretty f*&#ing cool.

Best line I've read in a while.

M said...

Here's my problem with the whole notion of an "orgasmic" birth: there are so many ways we set mothers up (and frankly, parents in general) to feel like failures as parents. I really don't think we need another way to make mothers feel like they haven't achieved an "ideal" birth, which, as P-duck points out, is only ideal on an individual basis. While I did give birth without pain medication, I did experience a number of other medical interventions that were necessary to ensure that Wild Man was born healthy.

And although I know, AcadeMama, that you didn't mean to single me out, I want to respond to you. I think we're in total agreement here, my friend. How a woman chooses to give birth is her choice. I don't feel in any way superior to any other mother. How could I? My experience was so vastly different from every other woman I know. Frankly, the fact that we grow people is, as you so eloquently put it, pretty f-ing cool!