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Misogyny and birth - Page 2

post #21 of 113
Interesting to note: I posted a link to this article on three different baby boards, and got three very different responses:

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/middleclass.asp

One board was considered "crunchy" (very female-centered and free thinking)
One board was more conservative (very argumentative and the women took great offense to this article)
One board was middle of the road (more lighthearted support than a real exchange of information).

The members of the argumentative board were so consumed with the idea that they were being attacked for their actions/views during pregnancy that they couldn't see the big picture - or that they were the ones perpetuating an intervention-obsessed culture.
post #22 of 113
Ooo, I just read that article. I enjoyed it!

However, it really reads like it's talking about stereotypical 1950's housewives--you know the sort that appeared on TV, but weren't real? It's a negative connotation. If I identified with that group I wouldn't see "me" I'd see something that was clearly meant to represent "me" but was distorted and wrong. As I was reading it, I was getting defensive about the descriptions on behalf of women I know.

Quote:
They typically follow the advice of husbands, doctors, popular magazines and other authorities rather than their own wisdom, in order to behave appropriately to their standing rather than make waves by inadvertently acting differently.
For instance this would raise the hackles of any woman identifying as a "feminist" or "self-confident"/"powerful"/"in charge" etc--even if it's a completely accurate description of her.

In media directed at women (as opposed to in spite of women) there is a message that it is wrong to be dependent, women are supposed to be strong and stand up for themselves. So any message that this is not happening in birth has to acknowledge that women try to meet this ideal in other areas. To get the message through about birth, it can't be "you are weak and bullied in birth as in all other things" it has to be "you need to empower yourself about birth as you are empowering yourself in other areas of your life."

And I really don't think the article was written to be read by the women it's talking about.
post #23 of 113
Dear Goddess, I'm surprised they didn't burn you in effigy (or actuality for that matter). Attack the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm? Ye Gods!
post #24 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
Dear Goddess, I'm surprised they didn't burn you in effigy (or actuality for that matter). Attack the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm? Ye Gods!
That's just it. The article isn't just attacking the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm" it's simultaneously telling these women they are unwitting victims of the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm" and accusing them of deliberately perpetuating the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm".

The message, when presented to the demographic described in the article, is basically "you're a victim and it's your fault because you're bad." When presented to the intended audience the message is "there is a problem because these women have these ingrained beliefs, how can we help them?"

The first message is unproductive and judgemental in the extreme. The second message might actually help women some day.
post #25 of 113

Misogeny

deleted
post #26 of 113
Cigilteach,

I'm so sorry... I wanted to cry to hear your story.

I'm probably breaking UA but... Hell must be full of OBs.
post #27 of 113
During my extremely medicalized first birth, the doctors and nurses did not even speak to me or look me in the eye. They asked my mom if it was okay to give me water. They told my mom I needed Pitocin. They never asked me if I needed anything or was comfortable at all. It was horrible. They cut an episiotomy and pulled my son out via vacuum extraction after telling my mom that my son was having decels. Not me.
I felt like a vessel giving birth instead of a woman and mother. Which led to post partum depression and difficulty bonding with my son.
post #28 of 113
Thread Starter 
Cigilteach...I'm just...shocked. That is one of the most horrible stories I've heard, and every single person involved should get their license to practice medicine revoked.

I notice that you're pregnant, and I hope you can find some healing in your next birth.
post #29 of 113
this thread is so sad. :

i don't know if what happened to me was entirely misogyny or what... i had a female OB and i thought that she was great before my ds's birth. she would always take the time to listen to me during our appts and was really great. she never criticized me for asking questions or anything. but when we got to the hospital that evening, she came in to check on me and told me how great i was doing. i expressed my wishes to her that i didn't want the cord cut until after it had finished working and she said that was fine. there was one nurse there that checked my dialtion twice, once when i was admitted to the hospital and once that evening, and she was really rough and the exams were painful. she didn't seem to care and didn't pay too much attention to me.

the next morning my OB came in and checked my dilation (i was 7 cm) and decided to pop my water. i didn't really want it done, but i was scared (i was 18 and i was in labor 6 weeks before my EDD, i was worried that my ds would have to go to the NICU and i just wanted to get through the labor and see him and make sure he was oK.) as soon as she popped my water, my contractions went from feeling like mild menstrual cramps to feeling like my body was being torn apart. i got up on the bed on my knees, because the contractions were less painful that way and i was able to cope better. the attending nurse tried to convince me to sit down and recline (be a good patient!) and i tried for half a contraction, but i just couldn't do it. so i labored for an hour on my knees until transition. i had a couple of minutes of rest after i completed dilation and i sat there reclining with my eyes closed waiting for the next one to come. as soon as it did i got back on my knees and the nurse again tried to get me to sit back down as my OB came in to catch my baby. my OB told her that i was fine, which was good, because at that point i really don't think i would've listened anyways. i pushed the baby out in 15 min. the nurse was shocked because she had never seen a baby born that quickly. i silently thought to myself "no wonder, if she is always making sure the mommas are 'good patients' instead of letting them be upright."

after about 2 or 3 minutes, the OB said "oK, the cord is finished working now" and had my dh cut the cord, even though it was obviously still working. i sat there in shock as it happened in seemingly slow motion right in front of me. then they whisked my ds away and gave him oxygen because he was a little blue. the OB proceeded to yank on the cord until i delivered the placenta. at least i got to have a good look at the placenta as she examined it there at the bed, i thought that was nice. my ds was still in the incubator. after the OB left, the nurse had me lay down on the bed and aggresively massaged my uterus. then she layed a bed pan underneath me and told me to pee. i tried and told her i couldn't. so she escorted me to the bathroom and gave me a bottle of water and had me sit on the toilet. she acted like i was kinda silly for taking so long and for hissing as i went pee because i had some small tears and the urine stung even with using the water. i thought it was weird to have an audience.

then she had me go sit back down in the bed and gave me the hospital menu and told me to order something. i told her i wanted to try and nurse my son and she said that i needed to eat something first. i wasn't interested in eating! but i listened. so i didn't get to hold my baby again or nurse him until an hour later. by that time, my ds was really hungry and wanting to nurse and he was hard to console. i think this is the biggest reason why my ds has a bad latch. the lactation consultant noticed he had a tight frenulum which he had surgery for when he was 3 mo but she said his latch looked fine other than that. he still has a bad latch though. : also, the nurse told me sometime, i can't remember when, that my ds was only 3 weeks early not 6, but that my OB said she didn't want to readjust the EDD. i think i suffered from more misogyny in the following weeks than i did at my birth.

*sigh* thanks for letting me share.
post #30 of 113
Are they victims or willing co-conspirators in their own oppression for the alleged benefit of being at the top of the socio-economic pedestal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
That's just it. The article isn't just attacking the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm" it's simultaneously telling these women they are unwitting victims of the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm" and accusing them of deliberately perpetuating the "white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal social paradigm".

The message, when presented to the demographic described in the article, is basically "you're a victim and it's your fault because you're bad." When presented to the intended audience the message is "there is a problem because these women have these ingrained beliefs, how can we help them?"

The first message is unproductive and judgemental in the extreme. The second message might actually help women some day.
post #31 of 113
Have you read Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf? I think it would be a great resource for your project.

Also, I think it's important to note the difference between how pregnancy and birth are typically viewed in the western medical model (lack of informed consent, routine interventions, etc) and true misogyny. There is an overlap and sort of a cause and effect relationship between them that I find particularly interesting.
post #32 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
Are they victims or willing co-conspirators in their own oppression for the alleged benefit of being at the top of the socio-economic pedestal?
According to the article they're both.
post #33 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by meggles View Post
Also, I think it's important to note the difference between how pregnancy and birth are typically viewed in the western medical model (lack of informed consent, routine interventions, etc) and true misogyny. There is an overlap and sort of a cause and effect relationship between them that I find particularly interesting.
Chicken may I introduce Egg. Egg, Chicken.
post #34 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
According to the article they're both.
Interesting, I didn't read it that way at all, but I can see where you're coming from. If you want to read about victimization of women and fertility, check out a book called 'Killing the Black Body.' It provides some major insight as to the experiences of minority women in this process. I guess I spent too many years working with and for the economically disadvantaged to really have any empathy for well-educated, affluent women who choose for their own benefit to go through an intervention-laden birth. I've talked to quite a few of them in my mommy group and I'm convinced that they totally understand what the trade-off is. But the benefit of having a 'status symbol birth' is worth it to them. Victim of the system of misogyny? I don't think so. BTW, I'll be more than happy to lend you my copy of the book. It's a real eye-opener.
post #35 of 113
I don't need nightmares, but thank you for offering. Add racism and classism to misogyny and you end up with birth rape so bad I wouldn't even wish it on the perpetrators.

Of course if *all* women, particularly those who could speak from a position of power if they chose (i.e. rich white women), were to speak up about despicable treatment and to reject procedures that are done for no reason other than "it's policy" then... well, I'm not sure what would happen, but it would definitely be an improvement.

I don't think you should be sympathetic. I'm not saying that there *isn't* a serious problem with the attitudes of the women described in the http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/middleclass.asp article. What I'm saying is that the article is written in a way that will do *nothing* to educate those women.
post #36 of 113
Quote:
I don't need nightmares, but thank you for offering. Add racism and classism to misogyny and you end up with birth rape so bad I wouldn't even wish it on the perpetrators.
Yeah, it is a bit hard to take. I've been fairly fortunate in my birth experiences, but I happen to be affluent and well-educated myself.

Quote:
Of course if *all* women, particularly those who could speak from a position of power if they chose (i.e. rich white women), were to speak up about despicable treatment and to reject procedures that are done for no reason other than "it's policy" then... well, I'm not sure what would happen, but it would definitely be an improvement.
I'm sure that's true, I just don't know if they're willing to lose status for the sake of others.

Quote:
What I'm saying is that the article is written in a way that will do *nothing* to educate those women.
I agree with this too. I doubt most of these women would touch an article in Midwifery Today, anyway. When I told one woman in my mommy group that all the women in my family had homebirths, she looked disgusted and asked, 'Where were y'all born, Africa? Why would anybody in a civilized country choose homebirth?'
post #37 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
I agree with this too. I doubt most of these women would touch an article in Midwifery Today, anyway. When I told one woman in my mommy group that all the women in my family had homebirths, she looked disgusted and asked, 'Where were y'all born, Africa? Why would anybody in a civilized country choose homebirth?'
Seriously? She seriously heard that come out of her mouth and didn't follow up with an abject apology? : So is she one of the women you're talking about that wouldn't be willing to give up privilege? Most of the middle-class white women I know are engineers (I'm still in school, myself).
post #38 of 113
I never really looked at my births this way but taking them all apart I definitely see it that way now.

DS1 was, and I have always thought this, a traumatic birth. I was 15, never had an internal exam, never been to an OB.. etc. I was terrified and I was also on state aid which meant I went to the clinic. It didn't matter your appt time there you sat and waited all day for a doctor that was truly evil and saw you as just another "piece of meat". That's how I felt at least. He never took the time to answer my questions. He viewed me as just another statistic and thought I was just some promiscuous teenager that made this terrible mistake and how dare I waste his time with questions! Towards the end of my pregnancy he tried numerous times to scrape my membranes. I had no idea what this meant.. I was given no explanation. When it happened the first time I was practically in a back bend from the pain. It was terrible. After I went 2 weeks over my due date (which changed more than once) he decided to induce me. On the day of my induction we found out he induced 9 other women besides me! My labor of course was very hard, I had no idea what I was getting into either. The nurses kept coming in to up the pitocin in my body and I can remember crying to my grandmother please I am done I just want to go home.. she to this day won't see another baby born because it traumatized her as well. Once contractions started getting harder I was screaming. One of the nurses aides came in and told me to shut up and that I was disturbing the other patients. I had one nurse that was very nice to me she came in and lowered the pitocin and said to my grandmother and my son's father that she didn't know why it was up so high. My water bag was also manually broke. When it finally came time to deliver (after being told not to push at all for over an hour) I was brought into the Csection room because this doctor was playing God and all the other delivery rooms were taken. He came in told me when to push and when ds father was enthusiastic about the birth trying to describe things to me he told him to shut up that I didn't want to hear that. He gave me an episiotomy (from my vagina almost to my rectum) and my baby was born within minutes. I had over a hundred stitches inside and out. My baby was whisked away from me and I saw him maybe 3 times the whole time I was in the hospital eventhough I stated I wanted to try to breastfeed. My doctor overrode that and made the nurses put formula feed only on his little card. Before I left the hospital I was given a prescription for BC without even being asked and went home so sore and broken from his birth.

DS2- His birth was my most "natural". I was induced with him as well because my doctor (different OB) felt it was best. They didn't use pitocin until the end though.. just a gel or a pill in my cervix. This caused my contractions to "piggyback" and they had to give me a shot of some crazy drug that made me feel like I was on crack or something. My dh asked me if I was ok because my eyes were bugging out of my head. I was actually "allowed" to get out of bed and sit in the shower for a bit although the nurse asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that! I said um yeah I wouldn't have paged you otherwise! I went from 4 cms to 9 in a 45 min shower because I was able to relax in there. When I got out my contractions hit pretty hard and the nurse had me lay on my back while she prepared everything for my son's birth. When the urge to push came on pretty strong I tried not to because that is what she told me to do. I couldn't help it though and my water broke on it's own. When I told her my water broke she asked me if I was sure. : In my irritation I told her no I just pissed all over myself! She called the doctor after that and his birth went pretty well aside from getting stuck and being pulled out which broke his little collarbone.

DS3- I honestly thought by this time I knew enough about birth. I was again induced because I have a tendency to keep them in long. They hooked me up to the pitocin drip after the pills in my cervix refused to work. I was told I had to stay on my back to labor because I had such a strong reaction with my last birth to the gel or pill. I asked if I could get into the shower because it would relax me and things would go better for me and the baby. I was told NO. I was in such awful pain and discomfort pretty much right from the get go. By 4 cms I couldn't take it anymore and a nurse came in to give me something to take the edge off. The doctor came in 10 minutes later to manually break my water. That made things so much worse. I finally opted for an epidural because I couldn't take it anymore.. I honestly felt like my uterus was going to explode. I went from 4 to pushing in 30 minutes. My nurse (who was great!) told me that they thought the cord was wrapped around his neck but that the doctor would get upset with her if he knew she told me that. She felt all her patients should be informed of everything happening with them. She was actually against my getting the epidural because I was adamant in the beginning of not having one. He was delivered just fine and was immediately placed at my breast.

I have to say that I always wanted a homebirth but was never in the position of having one. (we always lived with someone else) I think I was very uneducated with my first and really thought I was educated with my last. I really dislike Ob's. My doctor that did my 6 week check after both ds2 and ds3 asked me what sort of BC I would be taking and when I said none he scoffed at me and said he would see me in 3 mos pregnant again. : It's not like my kids are spaced that close they are all about 3 yrs apart! Besides if that is how I chose to have my babies what business is it of his?! I no longer have an OB/GYNE and if I were to have another baby things would be different. I don't know if my insurance covers midwives.. I don't know if I am confident enough to go it UC... but I do know that things will be far far different. I would make sure my wishes are known and if need be find a doctor that would stick with them. I would never be induced again. I would request that I be able to labor my way.. shower, bath if available, and so on..

I have to say sorry for the length of my post but know that it is truly healing to get it all out on here. I didn't fully realise how much it bothered me to keep it all in.
post #39 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Seriously? She seriously heard that come out of her mouth and didn't follow up with an abject apology? : So is she one of the women you're talking about that wouldn't be willing to give up privilege? Most of the middle-class white women I know are engineers (I'm still in school, myself).
Apologize? Are you kidding me? I think she spent the rest of the night making 'jokes' about it. This is par for the course, which is why I try to talk to the other mommies as little as possible. I'm desperate for social interaction, but this is beyond annoying. I'm diligently trying to find another mommy group. Preferably one that's more diverse. I'm seriously beginning to think I'm the only minority SAHM in this entire area.

Definitely not willing to relinquish privilege. A member of the rapidly growing 'too posh to push clan,' she scheduled her last c/s to accomodate the family's annual 'winter vacation.'
post #40 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by roslyn View Post
Apologize? Are you kidding me? I think she spent the rest of the night making 'jokes' about it.
I thought it was bad enough that she'd make just the one stupid remark. I'm so sheltered (thank G-d). Surely there are some MDC mamas in AL?
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