Often when watching a movie, I notice accents — especially movies that take place in my area. You’ve probably done the same thing, whether you’re from Boston, Chicago, Canada, England, or wherever. I’m from the South, so I can tell when people are faking their Southern accents. Unless you’re from the South, you probably think they’ve got pretty authentic accents. When I watch movies based in Boston, Chicago, or various parts of England, for the most part, I can’t tell whose accent is real and whose is fake. I know that different areas have different accents, even if all of Great Britain sounds the same to me, except for perhaps the cockney accent. When Sean Connery’s character in The Untouchables was supposed to have an Irish accent, I didn’t realize how poor it was, with his natural Scotch accent showing through — but Irish people certainly did.

What does this have to do with birth? Authenticity. Take a look at this blog, which tells the story of a woman whose care provider originally said he’d support her decisions about her birth, but also talked about the routine things he did to every woman. At first, she thought she’d be able to have birth the way she wanted, but finally realized that his routine would trump her wishes, so she switched care providers to a midwife, and had a home birth. You see, he pretended that he would do what she wanted; he pretended that he would abide by her wishes — just like Sean Connery pretended to have an Irish-American-Chicago accent in The Untouchables. But this doctor was faking. Some actors are better than others at acquiring accents — I think Minnie Driver is pretty dang good — I’ve seen her with a Boston accent in Good Will Hunting, with an American accent in Return to Me, and with some other accent (I forget which — it’s been too long since I’ve seen it) in Circle of Friends. And she’s not even American! Just the same, some doctors are better than others at acquiring the words and phrases that make you think they agree with you. But if you listen long enough — to doctors who are faking or to fake accents — you’ll hear something that makes you question the authenticity.

Think about your own accent, and how you can tell when somebody is just affecting your accent, but isn’t really real. What gave it away? Often you can’t really tell — something small — a vowel that wasn’t said quite the same, or a consonant was too clipped, or not clipped enough. But once you find that first thing that makes you question the accent, you find more and more and more things that make you realize that the accent was fake all along. This is important to do with doctors. While there are some doctors who are truly low-intervention, many doctors just fake it. Some doctors don’t even do that (like Kevin Costner not even affecting a British accent in Robin Hood), and I find them to be preferable to those who pretend to be what they’re not — you may not like what you get in the end, but at least they’re not liars. Just listen to your doctor, and if you listen long enough (as long as you are well-grounded in your own “accent”), you’ll either know that they truly are what they say they are, or else you’ll pick up on something that just doesn’t quite ring true.


2 Responses

  1. Hi!

    I really love your blog, but … long story of how I got your link … I would like to write more; however, my sentences don’t “wrap around” to the next line. Is it supposed to be that way? Am I doing something wrong? I hope this looks okay when I submit it … If it doesn’t … oh, boy! (I hope you’d fix it)

    Sometimes the comment box doesn’t “look right”, but that’s okay. 🙂

    At any rate, do you really answer questions? You seem to be quite educated, experienced, friendly, and honest. I really liked what you wrote so far, but, like I “said”, I haven’t read a “whole lot”, yet … Sometimes, I can’t get straight, informed answers from the medical community … I would NEVER pester you, but this is an awesome oppurtunity … and, I know you said that if you couldn’t answer a question, you’d refer to …”St. Elsewhere” …

    Sorry this seems to be short, and superficial, but I have an appointment … blah, blah, blah … Anyway, like I said, I really love your blog, and I’m going to definitely refer to it as often as necessary! Thanks for doing this. It’s well appreciated!

    Brooke (Hope this looks okay when it prints to “the box”)

    Sure, I’ll answer the question to the best of my ability. I’ll also show or tell you where I got my answer(s), because I believe that is the heart of education — not me telling you what to do, but giving you information so that you can make your own choice. — Kathy

  2. Great post!
    Now to help women become well versed in birth so that they can pick out the false accents and be able to decide for themselves whether they can handle a poor ‘accent’ or want more authenticity.

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