The Upside-Down World of Birth

In putting a friend’s home movies on DVDs, I saw the videos of the births of two of her grandchildren. In both of these videos, the mother  is completely covered in sterile drapes except her “privates”. HER PRIVATES ARE MADE THE MOST PUBLIC!!! Does anyone else see what is wrong with this scenario? Her legs were invisible — they were draped up to her groin. Her abdomen was invisible, it was draped down to her pubic hair. The only part of her body (aside from her face and arms) that was visible was her perineum. Is that not just a perfect example of the “upside-down world of birth”? Women want darkness and warmth during labor, but the hospital is cold — and when she is pushing, a bright light is directed right at her perineum. All focus is on the doctor who “does” the delivery, rather than on the woman who pushes out her child. All focus is on the machines that tell what is going on inside the mother’s body, rather than on the woman who can also give out a load of information about what is going on inside her body… if they’ll just listen to her. Movement provides relief and helps to move the baby, but the machines and tubes require her to stay in one spot. Being vertical is preferable to being horizontal, but the hospital protocol is that she remain in bed. Labor and birth is a time of intimacy, but there can be half a dozen strangers in the room to witness the birth and provide assistance. And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

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One Response

  1. Watching hospital birth videos just makes me angry. I cannot believe that women voluntarily subject themselves to it! I’m not a fan of feminism in general, but you’d think that the feminist movement would have tried to deal with the demeaning and unethical treatment of women in maternity hospitals – but it seems to have been pretty much ignored. Too bad!

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