When Is It Okay to Complain About Birth?

25 07 2011
In Search of the Perfect Birth: A Journey From Hospital to Midwife to Unassisted Birth
0615481701Elizabeth McKeownPerfect Birth Books, Ltd.In Search of the Perfect Birth: A Journey From Hospital to Midwife to Unassisted BirthBooks
An alarming trend of selfishness
The first line of Ms. McKeown’s book sets the tone for the rest of it…in which the author declares that most women are traumatized by their birth experiences…whether we realize it or not! In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I didn’t finish the entire book. I read about 2/3 of it in online excerpts and, after reading what I did, I wasn’t interested in purchasing a copy of the book for myself to finish it.I am amazed at the arrogance of that opening statement. And unfortunately it colored the way I read the rest of it, because I couldn’t ever get over that amazement or the recognition of the author’s arrogance.When I was pregnant, my greatest hope and prayer was that I would have a healthy baby when it was all over. NOT that I would have the perfect birth experience for myself. I think this focus on the “birth experience” and “how can you achieve this perfect birth experience?”….and all the rhetoric about “medical rape” and being traumatized and resentful because your birth experience wasn’t exactly the way you had hoped it would be….I think that to have this be your focus and/or attitude as a pregnant woman is incredibly selfish.
The goal of being pregnant is to have a baby…not to have a wonderful, empowering experience for the mother. Where this gets tricky is when you acknowledge that giving birth IS empowering for most women. For me, I’d never felt more alive or more strong than I did after I birthed my daughter. I was very clearly thinking, through the entire process, that “this is the most important thing I have ever done, or will ever do”. I don’t want to discount this, because it’s very real.
Also, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers about the comments on some of the reviews here. I think it’s extremely unflattering and unprofessional for an author to respond to her negative reviews and engage in arguments with the reviewers about them. People are entitled to their opinions. I feel that the author must know this or else she wouldn’t have felt the need to self-publish an entire book full of her own opinions. andie
July 23, 2011
  • Overall: 1.0 out of 5 stars5
Your initial post: Jul 25, 2011 3:56:51 PM PDT
Elizabeth McKeown says:
Hi Andie. Time for me to be “unprofessional” again and address your concerns. 🙂 I am thinking you’d prefer I did not, but I would just like to clarify my feelings and intentions, in case anyone else is confused. 🙂
I think that the most important thing to get out of a birth experience is a healthy baby. That is first and foremost and should go without saying.I also think that how the mother feels and labors is of extreme importance, not just for herself but also for her baby. It is generally accepted that the health and well being of the mother also affect the baby, so a mother choosing the best and healthiest birth she possibly can is not an isolated, selfish decision… the baby is still the primary reason and focus. I do not, however, think we should ignore any wrongs being done only because a healthy baby may be the end result.
I don’t think you are in a position to fairly judge how selfish women are who’ve been hurt by their birth experiences if you had such an immensely empowering one.

If you came out of it feeling amazing and incredible, maybe that’s how you think all women should feel. They should, but unfortunately that is no longer standard. Your attitude seems to blame the mother for not having the awesome experience you say you have. It isn’t due to selfishness that she may be traumatized; it’s due to a lot of things, but most are traceable back to a broken system.

Judging the pain of others when you said yourself how great your experience was seems dismissive and ignorant. I hope you never have to experience a “medical rape”.

If it is causing women undue pain, hurt, stress, or trauma, I don’t want women to merely go with the flow. I want them to know they can have a healthy baby in ways that do not hurt them or scar them psychologically.

I hope that helps. Thank you for taking time to read some of my Amazon excerpts. If you would like to discuss “birth trends” or any of the topics you take issue with from the book, I would be happy to continue in the discussions section of this Amazon book page.

So, what do you think? Do you think that if you had a bad experience in the hospital, that you should just shut up as long as you have a live baby? What if you don’t have a live baby, or if your baby was injured… is it okay to talk then? When IS it okay to talk about your sad story? Just when is it okay to stand up against what happened to you and say you find it unacceptable and will not let it happen again?

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5 responses

25 07 2011
Wendy B

If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. I’m a firm believe in that, Andie. I totally respect you putting your energy and concern into your baby’s health; however, now that I’m into my Grandma years and my son is grown up, I can look back and say that my health and happiness was VITAL to being able to provide a healthy and happy environment for my child. Parenthood is about Sacrifice, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to consider a mother “selfish” if she considers her own needs to be just as important as her child’s.

Please, mothers, do not lose yourself in motherhood! They will grow up and yearn for their own families and/or lives, I promise. When you find yourself in that proverbial empty nest, unable to recognize your own needs and desires, it will be a very lonely experience….one that could have been avoided.

25 07 2011
♥♂►The Perfect Birth◄♀♥

I always thought that mothering would be my life, but I didn’t know it would be everyone else’s life, too. When we share ideas, I always thought that kind of thing could be innocent enough. Who knew?

I never knew the cultural subset of women who would judge each other on this topic and have such a massive hate for people who differed. It’s like entire identities are on the line or something. Weird.

I mean, who would go looking for a book they knew they strongly disagreed with, only to leave a review based on just this? I mean, I don’t go around on Amazon disagreeing with every George Bush and Sarah Palin book I can find. It seems like a waste of energy. I know that the people going there to buy the book probably already know what they are looking for and enjoy the subject matter, so my opinion will do nothing other than provoke controversy, in the style of internet trolling.

I think that if people want to discuss the ideas and principles and take issue with that, they should actually seek the person or people out and discuss it, rather than attempting to sabotage something on its premise. What good does that really do? Whereas if you engage in a real discussion, maybe people walk away learning from each other.

25 07 2011
♥♂►The Perfect Birth◄♀♥

PS– I doubt Andie is reading this.

NOTE: this blog is a copy and paste of an Amazon review of In Search of the Perfect Birth!!!

All except my last paragraph, and my picture additions. >:)

26 07 2011
Tori Mize

I am honestly over here, just giggling. You are too much.

This person…aaach. Pttthhhpppt.

26 07 2011
♥♂►The Perfect Birth◄♀♥

Thanks Tori! I AM still a little torn on the whole ‘responding to them’ issue. I don’t look at it as argumentativeness, childishness, or unprofessional at all. [Note, I get a little snarky and add pics here, but that part is all in good fun and just for my readers, anyway.] I see it as answering their claims and concerns, and rising up to meet them when they attempt weak defamation. I think anyone going there to read about natural birth deserves to hear the rebuttal. Yet there is this idea that, even if I remain civil and professional when conversing, isn’t it enough to just let their stupidity speak for itself? But, at the same time, I don’t feel anything I ever say to them, particularly at Amazon, is crossing a line. What to do, what to do. I take it case by case.

I think to date I’ve only not responded to 1 review (and yes it was negative. I believe I have responded politely to all positive reviews.).

In case anyone who belongs to this group of women are reading me now: I challenge you… no, I welcome you… to come talk it out with me like mature women. We can discuss whatever you like. The irresponsibility of certain birth choices, the arrogance of my ideas and philosophies on birth, etc. Playing tag on Amazon is a choice that probably doesn’t achieve your truest goals, and in the end I will probably just stop responding. Then, you will only be heard (and not countered) by people who were interested in alternatives to conventional birth to begin with. And why will they care if you think they are dangerous? They’ve heard all that before. They’ll just buy and read the book, and then you’ve done nothing.

If anyone has a real and serious concern, get at me. You can reach me HERE, at my EMAIL address if you prefer private correspondence (info@theperfectbirth.com), or on our FB page. Time for an honest discussion worthy of respect. If you want your comments to count for something, think about your approach.

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