Taking the Woman Out of Childbirth

16 09 2015


For those of us who have been fighting for women’s liberation and autonomy, in and out of the maternity field, Woman is a powerful word. It’s something we fought to feel good about, as we reclaimed our bodies and our freedom. But the world is changing. Politics are changing. Before women have fully finished liberating themselves, the definition of their selves has changed. But I ask you this– how do you liberate a people who were oppressed specifically for their reproductive power  (which is what sexism is) if you cloud the language of who exactly they are trying to liberate and from what/whom?

Vagina. Uterus. Menstruation. Goddess. Women. These were our power cries. Now, we are told, they are offensive and exclusive. Well, yes, the oppression of females has been a pretty exclusive club for eons. That’s kind of the point. We weren’t oppressed when we stated we were women, nor were we left alone if we chose to state we were men. We were oppressed whether pretty or ugly, fat or thin, able or disabled, white or black, straight or lesbian. Reclaiming the goddess and being proud to be a woman and all that comes with it– including growing and nourishing a child from our own bodies, was and continues to be an uphill battle and pride movement (like all other pride movements, including black pride and gay pride). But now it’s time to throw that all away, because there’s a new sheriff in town. And it’s finally made it to the frontier of the birth world, the last place we would ever expect or hope woman-talk to be scrubbed from the pages of history.

Here is an interaction I had on a birth page on facebook that has in the past supported feminist, woman-based, radical birth autonomy.

one2    two2Now I’ll expand those replies for you.

They said it was trans erasure while literally erasing women.

Is it time to have a literary cleansing, or maybe burn a few books? We want to make sure the populace feels nice and safe and cozy. I know how traumatic “she” and “woman” can be… !

The birth page said the above, sorry I forgot to mark it in editing.

99.9% of the time childbirth literature does mention women and mothers, because it’s you know… sane. And for as much as many trying to be good trans activists argue that defining a woman by their genitals is wrong, we have now effectively reduced women to their parts in literature. “Uterus-haver”. “Vagina owner”.

The above quote begins me again. ^

For the uninitiated, TERF is a word used now that is supposed to mean “Trans exclusionary radical feminist”. However, it is always applied to women who don’t feel they exclude trans people and even fight for their rights. What they don’t do is throw women or any other minorities under the bus in the process, and that’s a problem for some people. The slur is placed on people who acknowledge that biological women and trans women (or biological men and trans men, less frequently) are different groups with their own unique needs. All are oppressed under patriarchy.

Basically, people who stand up for women and don’t erase them. And this doesn’t even mention how so many TERFs are also trans people, gay, lesbian, and otherwise “queer”. TERFs are your most radical feminists. Other “feminists” are very liberal, fun, party time, choosy choice, patriarchy-catering. College professor approved postmodern manfeminism. You know, bullshit. Playboy and blow jobs for everyone.


COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously.

Like when you say you love women, but you actually don’t, and are complicit in making them disappear.

“My reality is not the same as other’s reality”. My reality is that women are oppressed and need to name themselves and wield the language to empower themselves. My reality says we shouldn’t take that away. Is this not reality to you? Women are used to hearing that their realities are super unique or fantasy (“imagined”), and that they have no shared interest together as a class, or that there are more important people to consider. That’s called gaslighting.

Transphobic? I’m not transphobic. I’m not afraid of trans people nor am I pro discrimination against them. I am just not for discriminating against women. If that makes me transphobic, that is repulsive. I shouldn’t have to choose between if I love women or trans people. If you are going to force my hand, I’m going to continue to prioritize women. Misogynists will hate that. But I believe we don’t have to have contests. Call me crazy, but I think we can stand up for many groups at once, without acting like one is not oppressed or one is so much more oppressed than the other.

No one is going to argue that trans people are oppressed. I care about their oppression and recognize that they are in an oppressed minority. In fact, they are very much a minority– a small sampling of the population, while females themselves make up over half the world’s population while still being oppressed!

My feminism is about female-bodied people and the fact that having a female body is the defining factor in why women have had it so hard historically. A woman until fairly recently was “an adult, female bodied human”. Now we are supposed to toss that out. Don’t even say the word. Don’t talk about genitals in relation to oppression. Huh?

That’s like saying “stop bringing race into racism”. And I know people like that, you know, the ones who “don’t see color”– they think the people who recognize racism are the real bigots.

“People are whatever they say they are”– fine with me socially (more or less), but medically? This means you might have a vagina and uterus and might be capable of giving birth, choose to use these functions of your body, live as a man at the same time… and yet be mad that the books describing this say “woman”? Was this news to you? I ask you, what is so important about rejecting a female identity, only to grow a fetus in the womb you know you have? How much more female does it get? Is “woman” such an ugly thing that pretty much THE defining quality of womanhood– the capacity to give birth— is still okay as long as you don’t call it anything “girly” like “woman”? Like they’d assume the walls of your womb, when they say (retch) “woman”, are pink and frilly? In other words, if you adhere to gender norms like pregnancy, what exactly do you find so offensive about being referred to as a “woman”? I thought you wanted to reject the norms and roles of womanhood in the first place? And if you want to be really forward or progressive in carrying and birthing a child while not having a womanly gender, shouldn’t you also be mentally sharp enough to know that you are the exception and not the rule, and all of society isn’t going to stop and change their lingo just for you? While bucking the system, are your feelings actually that fragile that the majority of human female existence offends you on a personal level? I want to know who is more triggered by the word woman than the undeniable, active reality of giving birth out of your uterus and vagina after your egg received sperm? Has anyone ever heard the sticks and stones adage? When labels are more meaningful than reality! My god. We can cope with actual, lived events– we’ll just call ’em something different! That ought to do it! There, safe and sound, no triggers. Phew! Thank god we took care of THAT!

I fully support gender nonconformity, but not fantasy as the forced reality, and not woman hate. To act as though men or males give birth too is fantasy– it can only be true on a very unique socially-designated technicality. To be opposed to the word “she” while doing what all mammal “she’s” do is woman-hate. This whole thing is an exercise in heavy denial, not inclusion.

You see, there are 2 definitions of woman. The first is the traditional one that makes sense for most of us which I mentioned before– an adult human female. The second one is mostly new and refers only to the gender role of “woman”, and not the sex. The gender role, however, is the superficial surface one created by patriarchy. It’s everything we’re supposed to be (because of our sex). The one that says looking pretty, being fragile, wearing dresses, cooking meals, and sucking dick are womanly things to do. Therefore, if you like those and the color pink too, you are a woman. (Radical feminists reject that– as if being a woman were that simplistic and offensive.)

I personally believe either woman definition is fine when it comes to how a person chooses to self-identify. I believe you can refer to grown adult female humans as women in a generalized manner and it shouldn’t hurt any feelings. (Do you know how many lesbians get referred to as “sir”? Life goes on for them as usual, and surprisingly few suicides over it.) And, also, you can refer to people who assume the societal role of woman as “women” and “she”. To me, a trans woman can easily be she, her, woman, and Sally. So what exactly is the fucking problem?

The problem is that some folks want it to be only definition 2, not the other, and your lack of submission to these new terms means you are being an offensive bigot.

Trans men and non binaries and women give birth. Mostly it is women, if woman is merely some role people do or don’t take on. If we mean woman in the biological sense it has meant throughout history, it is only women who give birth– identity politics and hurt feelings aside. And mature pregnant persons already know this.

I would never call a trans man a woman, even while they are giving birth. I would never want to disrespect them. There’s no point to it. But, I also don’t expect all of our childbirth literature to refer to social constructs (gender) instead of biological realities (sex) to appease feelings of a really minute part of the birthing population. Birth is about biology, not personality! And I don’t feel that we are leaving trans people out when we say women give birth any more than we leave out amputees when we admit that human beings are bipedal.

MANA, Midwives Alliance of North America, started replacing their language, erasing woman and she for pregnant persons. But any organizations under the thumb of The Man, Medicine Inc., as they are– can kiss my ass. Your NAME is fucking MIDWIVES. Just as the old tradition. Midwife means “with woman”. Change your fucking name if you’re only “with person”, you wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

So you see, even the supposed naturalistic and woman loving traditions are giving the big “fuck you” to womankind. I say supposed because they’re still very medicalized and not traditionalists and don’t advocate actual and total birth freedom, but I digress.

I used to think “wombyn” was silly, new agey (even if I am a little myself), and pretentious. Now I see it as a radical protest and I may use it a little more, just to see how it feels. Just to piss these misogynists and men’s rights activists off. Because that’s what they are. I AM a goddess, and goddesses give birth. It was birth goddesses we talked about throughout time and in recent birth movements, not birth gods. Those are the people who prefer the label “obstetrician”.

Do you have any doubt this is The Man’s Patriarchy? And you call this the right side of history?

Here are some more examples from their page, their double standards, their hypocrisy, where they did not scream “transphobia” at every pro-woman reference, they did not scrub all the she’s out of existence. But like she said, she’s only human– just give her time and maybe we won’t have to hear the goddess celebrations in relation to female bodily functions anymore. Women aren’t taboo or oppressed, they just need to shut the fuck up because trans.

How absurd it all is. One thing is for sure– no one knows just what woman is any more, but we know we need to be really careful how we use that word, lest we offend. We need to keep our big mouths shut and stop asking questions, stop asserting girl power and our authority, and just do what we’re told. “Feminism”.

What about black men? Why are we talking about breastfeeding, it’s so cissexist! Men nurse too! What about fatherhood! Etc.

Jesus, Honore de Balzac sounds like a real transphobic prick. He and all of civilization.

Breast milk? Fathers give birth, too. This is a hate crime. “Natural” news? I’m triggered.  WHERE was the trigger warning?

Taking the women out of birth is a political issue.

Women’s rights as female rights in an ongoing, crucial battle are so obvious when we talk about the misogyny they face in the patriarchal institution of medicine. All of their abuse, the abuse and trauma done to their female bodies, arguably happening for all of recorded memory as rulers and leaders advocated ownership and taming of our bodies, is about to have its language of protest dismantled. This is what they call “cis privilege”. As a woman who knows she’s a woman and has been treated as a female her entire life, I apparently have it. Our rape, molestation, kidnapping, murder, domestic violence, lack of rights in education and to our own bodies is now privilege. Think about that. Think about everything females go through in and out of birth. How you will dare to call the sexism we face privilege, I will never know. That any woman or female bodied person or female born person would ever want to deny us this power speaks loudly of internalized misogyny, perhaps even more acutely among those who “do not identify as women”, as if any of the rest of us are perfectly happy with that designation in this fucked up society. So ladies, hand birth back. It isn’t ours anymore. We had a nice run, sort of. Almost.

I love everyone and I don’t care what you wear or who you fuck.  But stop trying to keep me in my place. The time for women being polite and quiet is done. We can all be free; stop being against my empowerment and undoing the things which attempted to give it back to me. That was my progress. You’re taking away the keys to women’s progress.

A child builds a sand castle.  A second child who didn’t have a chance to make one for themselves yet arrives and knocks the first one’s down and starts building on top of the same site. On a beach full of sand. And they call it that first child’s sand castle too. They try to call that sharing. It isn’t my sand castle. It’s yours. Well I worked hard building that castle and I didn’t build mine on your heartache, so why do you hate it so much? Don’t smash everything I’ve done and call that equality.

Stop erasing women from the books. It’s unnecessary and it’s erasure. YOU WILL STOP TAKING ME OUT OF HISTORY. I am saying “no”. No means no. Listen to women when they say no. Do you get it yet? Do you know whose “side” you’re on?

When You Don’t Want to be Pregnant Anymore…

19 02 2015

Psychologically, I think if we say things to ourselves like, “I’m 43 weeks pregnant today,” there is often an element of “enough already” to that expression. If you factor in a sense of dread (or god forbid, fear) towards the labor itself, you’ve got yourself a recipe for psyching yourself out. It’s a self-sabotage in the making.

I remember about a year ago today I was wondering just how “overdue” my baby would be. “He” had already surprised me in being 5 days past my already late estimate (and would later surprise me by being a “she”). I’m usually right, so why was my calculation off? I waited an additional two weeks past when I thought the baby would arrive before she actually came… which she chose spontaneously, of course. It was possibly my longest pregnancy, depending on what method you use to measure it. Even though I had always guessed better than the medical professionals regarding my body (and certainly had this time… they would have felt I was at least a full 20 days past my due date at the time of birth), I was at peace with being wrong. I got off facebook and the internet, and I waited. I waited with the wisdom that the magic of nature summoning me into that birth space at its own right time was not something I wanted to miss. I had experienced it before and knew I would not go back to artificial ways again.

For mothers finding themselves in this familiar spot, I advise nesting according to instinct, retreat, and meditation. Trusting in your body’s and baby’s wisdom can seem counter to everything popular culture has instilled in us all. It can take some work to resist that. You may feel simply tired.

So what I’m saying is, maybe don’t care too hard how far along you are (it is an arbitrary number, after all), and try not to mentally grade what you feel is bound to happen to you when labor does finally occur, because if you don’t give yourself a chance to be wrong in the most beautiful way, it’s a missed experience/opportunity and an action possibly taken out of impatience and fear. Give yourself a chance! We are supposed to encourage and inspire one another, so hopefully we can create more hype around that natural beauty than hype around faulty preconceptions that dominate our birthing culture.

As someone who people listen to on the topic of birth, looking for knowledge and inspiration, I would be remiss to not say these things to you. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that any choice is equal to any other choice just to make you feel better. You are a warrior woman and you are an earth mother, a goddess. You are powerful and you can do this. You know what is best for your body and baby and sometimes you just need encouragement to see it through in a world that wants to divert you to a lesser path, so I want to be that voice for you in case you are hearing it nowhere else:  You deserve to have a pregnancy and childbirth at peace with the natural order, and without fear.

For more about the way the baby leads the way in choosing its own birth date:

Length of human pregnancies vary by as much as five weeks
Fetal lung protein release triggers labor to begin


Freebirthing Mother Has Children Taken– You Can Help!

26 11 2014

You have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but think of what it is going to be like for this family. Imagine having 3 breastfed, happy, healthy babies snatched from you right before Thanksgiving and the eldest’s first birthday. Not because abuse is happening, but because your choices differ a little from the mainstream.

I’m gonna give you the quick bullet points so you can act now, but you can read more about it here.
Medical Kidnap

  • Erica & Cleave Rengo of Bellingham, Washington have 3 healthy, happy babies under 1 who were being breastfed, removed from their home.
  • The only thing they are “guilty” of is having a completely lawful homebirth and not using steroids to treat their baby’s eczema (who was being treated successfully by gentler herbal remedies).
  • Nothing else was “wrong” in the home.
  • No crime has been committed by the parents.
  • One of the newborn twins developed pneumonia after being taken earlier this month; his older brother has screaming episodes since being taken.
  • This is the first Thanksgiving for all of the children and Levi is about to miss his 1st birthday.
  • The parents have no custody or visitation until next month.

Here’s what you can do.

-Let Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State know this is unacceptable and inexcusable and you expect those children to be returned now before the situation grows exponentially worse with each missed precious day and special occasion. Tell him our children do NOT belong to the state and our people are FREE.

You can contact him here: His Facebook page. Leave a post on his Wall demanding immediate justice to correct the embarrassment of his state. The number to his office is: 360-902-4111. You can e-mail him here.

-File a complaint against CPS here: Complaint Start Page
According to the training manual below, mandated reporters should contact Constituent Relations at 360-902-8060 if they disagree with CPS’ decisions. I urge anyone who disagrees with CPS’ decision to take away Erica May Rengo’s children call this number until we have a resolution.” (quoting Jamie Ellsworth)

-Contact News Sources in the media to draw more attention and heat to influence expedited action. Consider local news sources within Washington State and Bellingham specifically, but also large national media outlets.

-Spread the word through social media, the internet, etc. Share this post or any of the other links you see here to get word out. Let people feel the outrage with you and take action along with you. Start a ripple effect that makes us heard.

Do any of these. Do all of these. They’re not going to ignore us while a family is suffering for no reason. We won’t let them.

If you could do just one good deed this Thanksgiving, what would it be? I feel incredibly moved to try to do my part to reunite a family that should never have been split up in the first place, and even that would be only one righteous step towards a just direction. What has done cannot be undone but it can get a LOT worse. Let’s jump in and help before this family’s hell is increased.

Let’s send a clear signal to our officials and politicians– you’re not going to kidnap MY children! Go help the children who are actually being abused and leave our healthy families alone!

Enjoy your holidays.

How Much Say Should the Government Have In Your Birth Choices?

3 11 2014

It’s really hard because the system SHOULD be in place to protect us and to know better than the laypeople, to be the authority in terms of wisdom for our health. They pose as this, but they are not. Common sense is gone, and the average person may often know more about their own health than the doctor they visit. It’s about profit$$$. It’s even about misogyny or patriarchy when it comes to maternity care, although few see it that way.

If I walk into a hospital and demand heart surgery even if I don’t need it, should it be granted because a) I’m the consumer and b) we’re afraid I’ll go do my own back alley heart surgery to myself? If a woman walks into a hospital and demands a C-section at 28 weeks, what of that? I know that’s far fetched, but my point is that we obviously intend to draw the line somewhere. This time, in Oregon, that line is generous at 39 weeks. Big whoop.

You can’t allow potentially off-balance medical consumer$ to order any drug or procedure off the menu like it’s Burger King,

Birth King-- have it your way.

Birth King– have it your way.

and at the same time, our docs and midwives shouldn’t treat us like idiots and force us into procedures or prescriptions that are actually violating and damaging.

Education, education, education. For both doctors and consumers. We need to radically overhaul the whole system, but the system is built on medical arrogance as it is. I won’t hold my breath, and in the meantime we should stop forcing mothers to do things that don’t sit well with them. We are maiming our society.

As for me, I know better, and so I birth outside the corrupted system. Myself and my babies will not be hurt by the essentially crazy practices now standard to “normal” maternity care. And yes, Florida sucks for this topic. But so does the US and lots of places. I wish women knew just how deceived they were and just how actually simple birth was. We would heal the planet and have a million times more peace. We are terrorizing women and babies with false fear, sadistic authority, and brutal practice.

Re: childbirth in its minimal, natural state, free of coercion or assistance, it reminds me of this paraphrased Buddhist quote:

“When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back at the sky and laugh.”

I need to see more women laughing.

Unassisted Birth: What Feminists Need to Know

22 08 2014


Lynn Griesemer, author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love, has a website called unassistedhomebirth.com. On it, she makes the following commentary about feminism:

Unassisted Homebirth and Feminism

In my book, Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love, Chapter 16 is titled Childbirth:  A Feminist Issue?  I do not wish to reiterate the chapter, but only say that if women want to be truly liberated during their birth experience, they need to take charge of their births by deciding what they want and taking deliberate action toward their goal(s).

Feminism has focused on “reproductive rights” and career opportunities, but has largely ignored the important process of childbirth.

One of my future goals is to contact women’s studies programs at colleges and universities and encourage them to consider teaching a unit on empowered childbirth.  Young women need to know that feminism should not be restricted to reproductive rights and equality in careers, but that it extends to every aspect of womanhood, especially childbirth, which is a defining moment / experience in many women’s lives.


Feminism does often neglect childbirth, sometimes even leaning more towards the woman’s obvious right to not even begin a family. Still, how can “feminists” have such blatant disregard for the power of or disrespect for the vagina? Childbirth is a battleground for the vagina (as are the politics around our births). Shouldn’t that be a central point or focus?

When feminism DOES address the act of childbirth, it tends to address a woman’s right to powerful narcotics in order to have a il_570xN_193760289humane experience, neglecting that this is still completely dependent upon and stemming from handing our body over to the patriarchal system which is modern maternity care.

It completely neglects that for women to know their TRUE power, they could avoid that system altogether as well as avoid real pain, trauma, or injury (which comes standard with the current system of birth).

This type of feminism lets patriarchy in the back door. [All innuendo contrived from that is completely appropriate.] It does not protect the vagina nor recognize our power. I call this “white coat feminism”, because it’s the feminism that focuses on having the same professions and beliefs as men, wishing to be regarded as logical and [pseudo] scientific only, to the detriment of the actual true fullness of our capabilities. That we have differences in the sexes is cast off as mumbo jumbo, as if clearly the only thing different about us is penis/vagina. We have completely different biological abilities, functions, and motivations. The brain-body connection, hormones, intuition/instinct, or maternal traits are absent in these discussions. Just because we can do everything boys can do does not mean we have to be exactly like them. Why are we disabling ourselves? When you’re striving to be accepted like of the boys, don’t lose the very thing that makes you a woman. That’s not feminist, it’s misogynist! It’s self-hate and denial.

Just think: we are facing our version of being emasculated when we are denied our true power and identity.

Just think: we are facing our version of being emasculated when we are denied our true power and identity.

How feminist is it to remove the qualities which make us female? We’re not talking about removing negative stereotypes, we’re talking about stripping away all things that make us women, including the positives. How in the hell is that “feminist”? If you don’t celebrate women or even believe they have power, you don’t love women and you aren’t a feminist.

Putting on a pair of jeans and holding the same respected professions as men does not make one a feminist. Saying that the only way we can have a peaceful birth experience — the very natural function which defines our sex! — is if we give ourselves over to a system created and run by men so they may rescue us does not make one a feminist. What happened to women are strong, women are goddesses, women are powerful? Is that just something we believe when we want to throw a baseball, but doesn’t extend to the one thing we are biologically designed for to continue the species?

Feminism wouldn’t ignore the dark history of obstetrics and see it rooted in misogyny, continuing today.

Feminism wouldn’t ignore our special powers or keep us in the dark to them.

Feminism wasn’t the fight to be just like men. It was the fight to be women and all the glory that entails and be respected for it.

Feminism acknowledges something in the divine feminine or collective female consciousness, adores us all as symbols of creation, earth mother goddesses, formerly and temporarily oppressed sisters.

Feminism seeks to connect us to how beautiful being a woman is, and asks society to observe it as well.

Feminism wants you to have the choice in childbirth to have addictive narcotics shot into your spinal fluid or to have an amazing empowering natural experience where you can see firsthand how incredible you are (which keeps you and your baby healthy and strong). Both can be painless, but the latter can increase your spiritual and primal awareness of your true nature and potential, is a rite of passage, and an exit from the patriarchy. One of them just happens to be better for feminism because it lets a woman in on the secret that has been kept about her essence for so long.



For more wolfy stuff, click here.

For Elizabeth’s book on unassisted birth, In Search of the Perfect Birth, click here.

Protected: It’s a Girl!

24 03 2014

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Share a Birth Bead For My Necklace!

28 01 2014

Those of you who follow the page and the blog might be aware that I am due with my 4th and final child on February 14! It’s coming up so soon. I’m very excited as I prepare for the baby’s arrival.

If you’ve ever been to a Blessingway or Mother Blessing, you might be familiar with the custom of giving a birth bead to the mother. The bead is then strung on a necklace for the mother, which is sometimes referred to as the birth necklace or mother necklace. When a person selects a bead, it might be a certain color of significance, or bear some other intended meaning or symbolism. The necklace as a whole becomes a source of strength, love, and empowerment for the mother. It is a really great idea for something beautiful and creative for the woman about to give birth to know how she is supported. Sometimes, it is even accompanied by specific wishes or words of wisdom for her, special verses or poems of inspiration, etc.

Here’s an example: this one made for me by friends and loved ones during my pregnancy with Sage. (He was my freebirth baby from the book.)

If you’d like to participate in this special moment with me, consider this your invitation! I’d be honored to have you join me for this. I know some of you have gotten to know me over the years, and for some maybe I’ve made a difference to you or you to me, and it’s only right that we are connected during this time. I’ve been “with you” for some of your pregnancies and births and now you can be with me in mine as I close this chapter.

So, if this sounds like something you’d enjoy being part of, send your bead to me ASAP before the due date to:

Elizabeth McKeown
PO Box 1133
Keystone Heights, FL 32656

Thanks so much for being a fan and a friend. I’ll take pictures later to show you all how it turns out.

UPDATE:  Here is the necklace! Thank you everyone! Love you.



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