Birth is nothing special. Any mammal can do it. Just because you got knocked up doesn't make you a goddess and it certainly doesn't matter that you were crazy enough to have the kid without medication.
That quote speaks volumes to me. It's not exactly verbatim, meaning I actually left out the more offensive stuff (if you can believe that), but that's the gist of it. It's an attitude that I keep running into and the really disturbing part is that like the quote above, a lot of it is coming from women. Aside from the fact that some woman would have the audacity to tell me (or any other woman), that my birth experiences are nothing special, I find it tremendously sad that she would feel that way about her own.
It seems to me that this push to devalue birth has reached a fever pitch and is part of a greater problem. There are misogynistic undertones to almost every debate made against natural birth, even when the debater is female. There is a scene in Business of Being Born where one of the doctors interviewed equated natural birth to "feminist machoism" (whatever the hell that means)and that he "frankly, didn't see the need for it". I can not tell how incredibly offended I was by that statement, not to mention shocked that it's not referenced more in the more "feminist" circles as the exact reason many men have NO BUSINESS in the realm of birth. But of course I shouldn't be shocked because like I said, many women feel the same way he does.
Where does these attitudes come from? Is the disregard for the process and act of birth a direct correlation to the disregard of women in this culture? When we are told our choices in birth don't matter and our accomplishments in birth aren't special, the underlying message is, we as women don't matter and we are not special. When you think back on the way obstetrics was practiced long ago and even now it's quite hard not to see a correlation. Misogyny, gender inequality, sexism are deeply ingrained in our culture, and so how can it not take root in one of the most powerful thing that sets us apart from men?
It saddens me to see these attitudes in women. It reminds me how effectively we've been pitted against each other. We are constantly seeking to invalidate each others choices, especially when it comes to birth. Whether it be vaginal or surgical. Pain-med free or epidural. VBAC or Repeat Cesarean. Each time we argue and belittle these choices, we forget the very meaning of choice and we devalue our sisters as a whole. Nothing, however, is worst than telling a woman that birth in and of itself is not special. Though it's been liken to any other physiological function (like shitting - an analogy I've really come to detested), it's not. It's by far one of the most complex and still in many ways mysterious physiological functions. We should all marvel at the fact that any conception is made and once made "sticks". The odds are usually against us. Then when it comes time to birth our babies, an even bigger miracle happens. We still do not know everything about why labor is started, but we do know that mother and child work together to achieve the goal of birth. When left alone and barring complications, it's a very harmonious dance between mother and child. It matters, how a woman is treated during this time. It matters how the child (both unborn and born) is treated.
Think about this: Without birth, our species can not survive. How we view birth is very telling about how we view life itself. Do you feel each life is special? If you are pro-life, then birth and how it unfolds should be special to you. If you are pro-choice, then choices in birth should be important to you. If you are against the death penalty because you value life, then how it's treated in the beginning should be of value and special. If you are a feminist, choice is one of the most holiest of words. How can you devalue another woman's? Birth is a very powerful thing and that makes it special. Women are the only one's capable of birthing a human child and so that is one of the many things makes us special. However, even if you choose not to birth or can not birth a child, birth is still special too you, because you were once born. If you've adopted, that child was once born. Let's stop denying our power as women and the importance birth. How our species thrives and survives depends on it.