Sexism and Childbirth Choices

26 11 2011

QUESTION:  Is natural childbirth

sexist? Is medical childbirth sexist?

It depends. Before labeling, you really have to be fair and consider the source.

Michel Odent has been called or implied sexist by a certain infamous Dr. and anti-NCBers for providing info to empower women through realizing how to give birth naturally and the beauty of it.

The logic seems to be that he’s old, he’s a man, and anyone who would deny women of pain relief (medication) in childbirth is a sexist who believes women should suffer in childbirth. They also take issue that these philosophies “remove choices”, but I argue that a) so do anti NCBers, in trying to more strictly regulate birth options, and b) we are for INFORMED choices, but we disagree that all women’s choices are actually well-informed.

That’s not what natural birth is about, though. It’s not about being cruel and making women suffer. It’s not about removing WELL-informed choices. It’s about providing right info, and putting power that is life-altering back into the hands of women. If women knew just how powerful they were, this would actually be a threat to the patriarchy… !

So, no, I promise you, none of us thinks women should be in pain and suffering for their birth. In fact, I’ll be the first one to tell you to be kind to yourself. If the pain is unbearable to you, take the meds. And don’t be hard on yourself for making that choice. I don’t want to see women suffer, and I doubt that’s Odent’s intention, either.

So what IS this Odent physiology stuff about? It’s about the fact that women don’t automatically suffer just because the paternal obstetric model doesn’t relieve the poor, weak woman with pain meds. That’s right… not every woman is some poor, suffering child whose pain can only be relieved by some white (-coated) knight, who mercifully swoops in to bestow his paternal hit of drugs.

I have done it both ways (drugged and not). I have received pain meds and been ever so grateful. I have also wished I would lose consciousness and had an excruciating “natural” birth. And, I have been liberated from the cycle by owning my birth and surrendering to it– naturally and physiologically. Guess which birth was best?

I’m going to show you some things and then I want you to decide what is truly sexist: Giving power and information TO, or degrading and expecting less FROM?  These are merely examples of the rhetoric, and the personalities behind the rhetoric. Some opinions and values are shared by their friends, and some are not.

This is a point about what IS sexism and what IS real feminism; when people cry “sexist”, we need to consider the source.

[Values include: being a MILF (and making sure everyone knows you are)…]

Because only a twat would think that inductions weren't such great ideas.

Take away: Even Dr. Amy puts the smack down on rampant sexism coming from Aleah and friends.


This one needs explanation. Someone who left critical comments regarding my book also reviewed another book (which is what you are reading here, from Amazon). I think their words give added insight to their attitude towards feminism. I lump them in because these are all critics of NCB and usually self-proclaimed "feminists" or believers in equality and choice, and I think this is not always quite accurate.

These are just some examples of the differences between “sexism” in natural childbirth and sexism in anti-NCB. I know that some believers in natural birth happen to be sexist or perhaps even come from a women-as-subservient place, but you are certainly not finding any of that with me or Odent. We are champions of women, and it’s wrong to falsely paint these principles of biology as misogynist. I am a progressive, believe in freedom and equality, and have been called a feminist since I was a child– and I am proud of that. I believe women are amazing goddesses and deserve the utmost respect. I believe in a return to our innate maternal wisdom.

Okay, so Odent is a sexist for playing into woman’s birth goddess “fantasies” and putting women on a pedestal to encourage them to take back birth from the medical model, but people like those shown above are not sexist? Odent may have a penis, that is true. A man can be a feminist just as sure as a woman can be a chauvinist, however.

I’m not trying to be mean, honest. I’m just trying to say that…

It’s hard for me to really take seriously the opinions of people crying “misogynist” who think the standard of beauty is being a dyed blonde, breast job having, diamond wearing MILF nurse; who think “pushing a baby out your vag” is no big deal and even something to ridicule, and constantly calls people in a condescending tone “honey”, “love”, “sweetie”– when she isn’t busy using her favorite insult, “twat“. You dig what I’m saying?

Why should anyone take seriously opinions on Dr. Odent coming from these folks? All things considered, if these are your attitudes in life, your idea of what is “misogynist” falls a little flat with me. These to me are not true feminists and not actual advocates for women. These are the biggest misogynists of all. I certainly won’t listen to what SHE thinks WOMEN aren’t capable of. I wouldn’t even trust the limitations she puts on herself.

It’s worth noting that these are the same people who call my friend an “attention whore” for talking about her rape to explain her birth views, and bring it up as another source of ridicule.

These aren’t healthy, credible sources. Before you call misogyny, you must consider the source.

Okay, so, what is really sexist? The natural childbirth advocate who tells women how they can have the best birth for their self and their child without trauma? Or the anti-NCBer who tells women that they aren’t special and should shut up?

You decide. Who’s the sexist and who’s the feminist?

Are you for women, or are you against them? Do you believe in them, or do you think they are ridiculous?

You have to love yourself before you can love someone else. It seems we have an epidemic in our culture… a serious lack of understanding of our true worth.

If we’re going to give birth back to women, we need to start patching that up. You are not a pair of tits and a hair color. One day you’ll be old, or fat, or ugly. For now you are a youthful woman, perhaps fertile, certainly glorious and beautiful no matter who convinced you that you’re not. Your real power and beauty is something ageless and within. What’s it going to take to undo all this damage and convince our insecure women of this? Can it be undone?

Sorry, I wanted to keep this short, but I couldn’t leave you without ending it on this note.



10 responses

26 11 2011
Sexism and Childbirth Choices « theperfectbirth | ChildBirth 101

[…] More here: Sexism and Childbirth Choices « theperfectbirth […]

26 11 2011

I don’t know how you find the time to do all of that…That’s a lot of work!

26 11 2011
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

It was really quick! All I do is save all the shitty things people say and do (to me, or just in general) over time, and when the time is right, I simply compile, comment, and post. No time at all.

I realize how upset this made Aleah and her friend, but unfortunately due to the nature of their comments, I had to ban them. I do hope that we can speak more openly and honestly about this in the future without the aggression. There are real issues here at work, not just some snotty catfight. We could all stand to give each other more credit and assign more worth to our fellow humans.

13 02 2012

Don’t you think it would have been appropriate to at the very least block the people’s names out who you are not currently attacking? I don’t appreciate having my name and words plastered on your blog without my permission!

13 02 2012
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

I know you’re not lecturing me on appropriateness when the screen cap here of you is you doing the same thing– looking at other people’s screencaps and publicly ragging on them.

I know you’re not lecturing me on appropriateness when the catch phrase of your group is “if you didn’t want us to talk about it, you shouldn’t have said it on the internet, where everything is public”. You were willing to have your name be attached to this, publicly, on the internet, but you just don’t want *me* to share it.

I know you’re not lecturing me on appropriateness when you opted to publicly comment HERE about it, adding YOUR FACE to this conversation so now it is not just your name, rather than privately and politely e-mailing me asking if I would please remove your name because you are ashamed and embarrassed of the reputation this is deservedly giving you.

I’ll tell you what. When your group takes down the photos and names of the innocent they have chosen to ridicule and judge for no other reason than they believe in different things (with and WITHOUT their permission or knowledge), and when you all stop engaging in tearing these people apart publicly like it’s acceptable behavior, I’ll take down your photos and names too– even though this IS public, and this IS the internet. If the Mean Girls stop targeting people to mock and publicly ridicule, I’ll stop telling the public about it– because there will be nothing to tell. So, let’s do this! I’m willing. Let’s start. You go first.

But to answer your question, no, I think what I did was more appropriate. I’m more concerned with protecting the identities of the innocent than those who act rude in public and then act indignant when they get caught.

26 11 2011

just curious…you are a menber of The Mom Pledge aren’t you? I wonder what they would think of this blog post…
I don’t think Aleah is upset, she is in fact grateful for the traffic you are sending her, that was very nice of you!

28 11 2011
♥♂►Elizabeth, ISOTP Birth◄♀♥

Florence, your refusal to understand why someone would ever point out these issues or feel inspired to this when people follow you all around the internet and act like hypocrites to boot will be earning you a ban. You are here for your bias towards your friends, and nothing more. I’ve tolerated your manipulation long enough. And yes, I am in the Mom Pledge. Run and go tell them that I stood up for myself. I know you can’t stand to see any time I do that, or any time I disagree with you at all, and are just dying to police me.

Besides, what you and Aleah are not seeing is that this is not about her. She is an example which I selected of what we encounter every day, and the hypocritical “information” you will find on childbirth out there. Yet, she is boiling it down to people being into her looks. It’s only about looks on the surface– hello, the point of my post! It goes a bit deeper than that, ladies. Everything in the right perspective… But, focus on what you wish.

And here you go being hypocrites again. Blog posts have been written about me, people have me on lists to single me out, people discuss me in your little group… I write something about childbirth and YOU and now you think I’m a “stalker”? Puh-lease. Stop trolling me on the internet and I won’t feel the urge to share my opinion on you. Simple as that.

28 11 2011
Sexism and Childbirth Choices « theperfectbirth | Diaper Earth

[…] has been called or implied sexist by a certain infamous Dr. and … Read the original:  Sexism and Childbirth Choices « theperfectbirth Tags: amazon, book, childbirth, michel-odent, mommy-wars, perfect, perfect-birth, putrid-placebo, […]

29 11 2011
The Skeptical Mother

I don’t know why there is such an attack om Elizabeth for this post… it makes a lot of sense. Look at the people who are claiming others are sexist- Just based on the fact Aleah calls everyone, honey, and sweetie, and darling, in the most condescending tone and on top of it calls other women twats-? Come on! And you can’t fault Elizabeth for taking screen shots. Why do people get angry when their own words get put back in their face? You guys are constantly claiming- “if you put on the ‘interwebz’, than you put yourself up for criticism”… Well, ladies, heed your own words..

7 06 2012
Medicine Vs. Midwifery: Divide & Conquer « theperfectbirth

[…] to serve. To me, the utter lack of respect I have seen from those with the title of midwife, doula, nurse, grief mentor, or doctor leaves me in indignant disbelief.  Those people don’t need to be […]

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