“Choice Should Include Birth”

My friend wrote me an email to point me towards this amazing post by Blue Milk: Feminists, a little perspective, please.

My friend is pretty far into her first pregnancy at this point and wrote me this message in the email, in response to Blue Milk’s post and her own personal experience with pregnancy (I asked her if I could publish this on my blog and she agreed. I’m hoping that sometime in the nearish future that she’ll be able to write more):

Also, as I move closer to motherhood, I am really dismayed at how mothers sts. aren’t seen as feminists in the eyes of feminists, or how children aren’t people.

Also this: on reproductive rights. I want to give birth in a freestanding birth center. I am moving to the only state that has outlawed them (and one of over a dozen states that has made it illegal for cpm’s [Certified Professional Midwives] to attend homebirths … And so, made homebirth less safe). I have always been pro-choice regarding prevention and termination of pregnancy, but never have I felt personally victimized (having never had an unwanted pregnancy … Or the need to terminate a wanted one) … Until now. Choice should include birth. Contemplating childbirth is a scary thing and I can’t even begin to explain how the fear is compounded by my anger that I can’t give birth where (and, consequently, how (want a waterbirth, no IV, and very minimal monitoring and cervical checks, etc. etc.) I feel the most safe! /end of rant/

Oh, and the last point is not against mainstream feminists as it is the government, duh (i just got ranty is all) except to question why the topic of birth (like, allowing women some or total control over the circumstances of their birth experience) is not included in discussions of government control over uterated bodies? I truly think most women don’t realize how oppressed they are in this respect!

I think this topic needs much more discussion. I became much more vocally pro-choice following my pregnancy and the delivery of my child. I wanted to give birth in a hospital with few interventions (which, thanks to an AMAZING doula, was possible and did happen). My OB fought me most of the way. She told me constantly that I couldn’t possibly labor without drugs. She pushed hard for me to induce the labor without there being any medical reason. We had to ask over and over and over again to get an IV that had a lock so that it could be unattached from my body so I could move around in labor. I could go on and on.

Anyhow, this is say, right on, friend!

[NB: More people than just cis women get pregnant and need more choice in the labor and delivery room, including choosing not to, in fact, be in a labor and delivery room.]

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9 thoughts on ““Choice Should Include Birth”

  1. Yes. I meant to write in my post that choice does not begin with whether to keep or terminate the pregnancy. Anyone who has ever been pregnant and carried to term can tell you that, right?

  2. I’ve been thinking so much about this lately. About how people reproduce, about the ways in which people are allowed to, and encouraged, or prevented, and discouraged from becoming pregnant, or wanting to be pregnant. And then how ppl are policed when they ARE pregnant, as if they’re property of society at large. And then again when decisions are made by the pregnant person about how they wish to give birth. And whose choices are honored and encouraged, and who’s choices are ignored and marginalized. And of course, for all the ppl that have no choice in any of this…

    The politics of reproduction are overwhelming. And SO DAMN IMPORTANT. We should talk about it more. Let’s talk about it more.

  3. eek.
    This is Jessica’s friend here writing to say that I thought I was typing “having never had an unwanted pregnancy … Or the need to terminate a *wanted* one” … I won’t even begin to correct the myriad other typos in my (written late at night, while exhausted, with ruinous auto correct on) email (especially since Jessica added in the n.b. at the bottom), but that point kind of matters a lot to me 🙂

  4. hi, this is your friend’s mother. i want to share some of the thoughts and feelings i have experienced in the months since my daughter became pregnant. in addition to feeling happy for her and her husband, and proud, so very proud of her for knowing what she wants and doing all she can to have the type of birth she wishes for herself and her baby, i am surprised, appalled and angered by the seemingly backward momentum in our culture regarding women’s options in giving birth.
    i feel angry and want to shout “how dare you!” how dare anyone condemn and try to control to such an interfering degree, a woman’s right to give birth in the most natural…..and yes SAFE…..manner as possible?
    Okay, now that I’ve ranted, I want to respond to the comment about women not understanding how oppressed they are in this respect. I believe this is true and the only way for profound improvements to occur is for women to support other women, especially when our personal preferences differ.
    please remember this the next time you find yourself in a conversation and someone criticizes or condemns a woman for her personal preferences…whether it’s birthing preference, feeding(nursing or bottle), diapering preferences, etc. Take a BIG step for yourself and your fellow women and refrain from joining in the condemnation of your fellow sister. Instead, stand up for her, and your right, to choose. Believe me, each time you set the example by supporting, rather than condemning a woman, you will be taking a concrete step toward changing history.

  5. Pingback: “Choice Should Include Birth”, pt. 2 « scATX: Speaker's Corner in the ATX

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