so we, my partner and i, had decided to take a homebirth childbirth class–well, at the second class, the midwife/educator said that she thought that my anger and cultural issues couldnt be fixed by the class and she thought it would be best if i leave.
i will be honest i have a lot of issues around the whole natural childbirth attachment parenting mothering magazine cult. the first issue being that it is a cult. or at least cultish. it is the cult of ‘natural’. and when i asked her to define ‘natural’ she couldnt do so, or she refused to do so, and then became hostile — literally in my face — explaining to me that i have anger issues. it is not ironic that my ‘anger’ or at least discomfort in the class began when she was talking about how — women who swear or express anger during labor have longer and more difficult labors.
and this cult of the undefinable ‘natural’ is akin to the cult of ‘normal birth’. what is ‘normal birth’. well, it is not a typical birth or a common birth. normal birth is actually a western concept of gender, womanhood, motherhood, patriarchy, pain, medicine, and a host of other issues. and the way that we know it is a western concept is that the advocates of ‘normal birth’ refer alot to non-european cultures birth practices to justify their own theories around normalcy. and that reference to non-european cultures is often grounded in the racist discourse of … exoticism.
so when i asked her for the definition of natural of course she became blubbering and incoherent. and i my foolish self started to apologize to her because obviously the three word question: what is natural…was unclear. i need to stop apologizing for speaking.
the cult of ‘natural’ and ‘normal’: both of these words are problematic. both have been used as the ideology of genocide. they are loaded.
what is an unnatural birth? what is an abnormal birth?
i envision a series of work, art, pieces, performances, classes etc in which we value all of women’s choices…those who choose to birth at home and those who choose elective cesarean. those who drink herbal pregnancy tea and those who down mylanta…and those who do both and more and less.
in which we create anti-oppressive models for pregnancy and birth. in which we deconstruct the social concepts we are spoon fed about patriarchy and feminity and strength and marriage and heterosexuality and masculinity and race and money and body image and beauty.
i cant tell you what is good for your body. but perhaps i can co-create the space that allows you to know that for yourself. and i would love for you to share as much as you like with me. and i shall offer you the same gift.
so i got kicked out of my homebirth class. which i guess at least proves that i am not a hippie.