Slowly working throught this thread...
|Originally posted by Dodo
First, I think it dredges up the stereotype of so-called 'primitive people', especially women, being impervious to pain. [snip] These observers may have seen what they wanted to see, you know what I mean?
The problem there, I think, is with the idea that "primitive" people are a different sort of animal from people living in industrialized societies. The idea that societal conditioning can affect how anything (including pain) is approached and experienced in itself is sound.
But certainly they were interpreting what they were seeing from the basis of their own conditioning, which made it inconceivable to them that anyone could experience pain and not react in a certain negative way to it. The other possibility, of course, is that those women they observed really weren't
in pain. Painless birth, or birth in which the pain is not severe enough to cry out, or even pleasurable birth is possible; I know of many women, including myself, who have experienced this, and this even in a society that tells them from childhood that birth is dreadful! Just imagine how many more women would be able to avoid great suffering in a society that taught them that birth was (or could be) at base an enjoyable experience, and that advocated secure, unstressful environments for them to give birth in, essentially obliterating the fear-pain cycle.
|Second, I'm uncomfortable with stories of women birthing one hour and returning to work the next. [snip] Birthing and working do not an ideal combination make.
It's true that given extreme physical effort or trauma, the body needs time to rest so that it can recover. This is common sense. On the other hand, not all birth takes such a toll on the body that the mother must be confined to bed for days or weeks. In our "civilized" society, mothers are put through all sorts of unnecessary stresses when giving birth. In a "primitive" society, it is unlikely that a woman will be subjected to the emotional and physical stress that characterizes most managed births, that her body will be cut or bruised or expected to perform as if birth is an athletic event. I've had both kinds of births -- and I can tell you with all honesty that my postpartum experiences were vastly different. After the managed birth I hobbled around like an old lady for weeks. After my unhindered births I felt physically very whole and well and was easily able to do basic household work. This from a woman who is extremely sedentary and pampered -- it makes me wonder how I would have felt after those births if I was physically fit and hardy!