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Homebirth and Oppression of Women

post #1 of 144
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking of late, due to the shocking number of intelligent, feminist, progressive women I meet who make the most typical, acquiescent "choices" regarding their health care during pregnancy and birth, that birthing at home is indeed radical, that midwifery is grassroots political protest, and that women need to get OUT of the hospital if for no other reason than to buck the system created and sustained by men for no other apparent reason but to oppress women.

I get so accustomed to my little bubble of fellow homebirthers and AP/NFLers that I forget that the rest of the world is pretty much not at all like us. I have had lengthy discussions with close friends who insist that they would never birth at home despite the overwhelming evidence that it is a safer, friendlier option and have in the past dismissed my own frustration by acknowledging that it is their choice. I no longer believe this. It is no more the choice of women in America today to birth in hospitals than it is their choice to spend 80 dollars every time they walk into Target or to buy gasoline for their car. Sure, there are other options, but they are not remotely easily accessible.

Making alternative choices requires first stepping outside of the box, divorcing oneself from the norm, from one's peers, from the status quo. This may additionally require being ostracized and ridiculed. Secondly, one must be solidly educated on how to even make an alternate choice, finding out what those choices even are, how it works, where to find it. Thirdly, one must pay for that choice either by sacrifice or by additional expenditure in time and money. To make an alternate choice, one must think for oneself, do research, dedicate hours and days to understanding and accepting the ins and outs of that choice.

That first step is a doozy though, and once you take it, you will be taking it for the rest of your life. Announcing that you birth at home will forever invite stares, slack jaws, and questions. You may always be radical to friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and how sad it is that normal birth may appear to the outside world as so abnormal. Homebirth may get the token mention in a book about pregnancy and birth here and there, but it is mostly misunderstood and misrepresented. Even Dr. Sears, whose own children were born at home, does not give it a solid endorsement for most women.

Birthing at home is about taking back one of the most sacred and innate events in a woman's life. It is about reclaiming our bodies as our own and our physiologic wisdom as inherent. It can be about doing what is safest, but I am beginning to see it as a first step in putting the medical model in its place of "only in emergencies" and moving women away from the supine position of inexpert in our bodies and for our children. Birthing at home is a quiet frontline of resistance to the continued subjugation of women. March on, sisters.

post #2 of 144


:

-Angela
post #3 of 144
Well said
post #4 of 144
I love it when you rant!!!
post #5 of 144
Well said Anna.
post #6 of 144
Very well said!!!
post #7 of 144


mv
post #8 of 144
That was really beautiful, and echoes a lot of the reasons why I am becoming a midwife. It is a perfect combination of my interest in birth and my feminism and love for women.
post #9 of 144
post #10 of 144
I loved that thread.
I HB my last and future kids and would never go back to the hospital...
1. it's safer to birth at home
2. I love feeling like a feminist and rebeling just to rebel. its fun!!!
post #11 of 144
Lovely post. Have you read Naomi Wolf's "misconceptions"?
post #12 of 144


Well said and unfortunate.

Yes, I do love being a freak and I do hope that some of my choices may have a ripple effect "out there."

I that my kids don't understand why some Moms go to the hospital instead of staying home in the hot tub and I that they saw a crib the other day and asked why people put babies in cages.
post #13 of 144
that was really well written and quite persuasive... i read your blog so i know how passionatly you write, this is no exception.
i am wondering... are you inviting discussion? i had a story to share about the effects of home birth criticism,
Quote:
Announcing that you birth at home will forever invite stares, slack jaws, and questions. You may always be radical to friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and how sad it is that normal birth may appear to the outside world as so abnormal.
but if you are just wanting to share your thoughts, that is cool too. they are worthy of their own thread for sure.
post #14 of 144
I don't mind stares,slack jaws and questions it's the idea that some see me as irresponsible that makes me sad.
post #15 of 144
post #16 of 144
post #17 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniey
that was really well written and quite persuasive... i read your blog so i know how passionatly you write, this is no exception.
i am wondering... are you inviting discussion? i had a story to share about the effects of home birth criticism, but if you are just wanting to share your thoughts, that is cool too. they are worthy of their own thread for sure.
Absolutely, I am inviting discussion. I don't want to talk just to hear myself talk. Please share your story.
post #18 of 144
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR
Lovely post. Have you read Naomi Wolf's "misconceptions"?
Yes I did. I really hated it, actually.
post #19 of 144
Anna, I loved what you posted but hope you will allow my slightly different perspective. I don't think birthing at home vs. in the hospital is what is a particularly critical differentiator of a woman taking back her body and owning her birth. I think being in charge, informed, and making informed choices, owning what happens to you every step of the way is far more powerful. This is not intended to dismiss homebirthing as a radical feminist act, but I think a woman can be just as radical and just as feminist and still choose to have a hospital birth. I think the important thing is not being a sheep led by a male, mainstream OB and instead making your own well researched, well informed decisions and choices about what is best for YOUR OWN body, your pregnancy, your birth, and your baby.

p.s., I hated Misconceptions too (I thought I was the only one!)
post #20 of 144
Rah! Rah! Yes! Yes!!!!
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