Love and Sunshine
February 17, 2007
My favorite new (to me) blog is I Blame The Patriarchy, where you can read a feminist rant every day, if you want to. I don’t know about you, but that’s my idea of FUN!
This time IBTP has outed a total tool who goes by the nom de plume “Switchblade Doctor.” Charming handle for a healer, eh? If that IS your real job, sir. Which I doubt.
Anyway, this clod rants on and on about the nurses he works with and the female patients he stoops to heal. To give you an idea of his charm–
Curiously, the women who pressed for epidural free labor were of two sorts, upper middle class white women or young Hispanic girls. Patients in the first group seemed to be in search of some New Age birthing experience, convinced that the resources used by lesser women would somehow be unfulfilling for them. Most had read books about holistic medicine. Some came with doulas (birthing assistants who fill some puerperal niche that I can’t understand; the last one I saw came to the maternity floor wearing a Spandex outfit, as if ready for a workout; come on, do you really want a stranger in the room with you as you’re giving birth?), yoga balls or wading pools or other devices ranging from the ridiculous to the bizarre. They often spoke of a desire to bond with their baby or a need to feel the pain of childbirth, neither of which made any sense to me. The reason for the hospital admission, as far as they were concerned, was not to receive appropriate medical care, but to have doctors around in case doing things hippie style were to go dreadfully awry. More than a few of these sorts called on us for epidurals deep into labor when they realized that doulas and balls don’t numb up much of anything. The small percentage who did succeed without epidurals nearly always traumatized the rest of the delivery floor with hours of yelling and crying.
This guy is insufferable, yet he insists he is “not arrogant or inflexible.” An example of his humility:
Now, Gentle Reader, I’m not a woman, but I’ve worked around laboring women long enough to learn what is worthwhile and what is not. For a safe and satisfying birthing process, here are my recommendations: 1) avoid nurse midwives because they’re ill-educated and dangerous; 2) don’t waste money on doulas, yoga balls or hot tubs; 3) make sure that an anesthesiologist is controlling your pain (in Wyoming or the backwoods of Tennessee, anesthesia nurses often masquerade as anesthesiologists); 4) get an epidural as early as possible, for the safety of you and your baby and the mental health of those around you (to do otherwise is irresponsible and simply crazy).
Charming, no? NO. His blog was taken down yesterday; the best I can offer (if you care to read more) is the Google cache also linked on I Blame The Patriarchy.
I chose “natural” childbirth twice, and even though the first labor lasted 14 hours and produced a ten pound baby I was exhilarated at its conclusion and looking forward to doing it again. The birth experiences were not painless, but neither is a marathon, and one doesn’t get an epidural for that. The pain of hard work isn’t pathological, it’s normal, and healthy labor is certainly endurable. Especially if you’ve not been conditioned to think it’s going to be unbearable, and therefore are not terrified going in.
American woman-hating culture teaches us, from that first drop of menstrual blood, to not trust our bodies and to fear their functions.
After my first child was born, eighteen years ago, my confidence in myself and my conviction that I was a powerful human being was astounding. Ever since then I’ve had a hypothesis: if all women felt this powerful, creative, and confident, we’d be well on our way to a fucking MATRIARCHY.
And while I defend any woman’s right to choose a medicated birth, I believe those that frame birthing as a pathological event are participants in a “vast patriarchal conspiracy” designed to keep women unaware of their potential to run this place the way it should be run. Damn straight.
I’m only half joking. No, not even half. Just a little smile playing around the edges of my mouth.
Note to Katherine Of It All: You are my sunshine