Friday, December 28, 2007

It's not you, it's the system

How many times have I heard a woman say "I feel like my body just doesn't work", "I feel like my body failed me", "I guess I just can't have vaginal deliveries", "I guess I just can't breastfeed".

Listen up.

It's not you. It's our completely messed up system.

YOU are fine. YOUR BODY is fine. Birth works, boobs give milk, boys have foreskins for a reason and no, your baby is NOT too big.

What kind of a sick system/society do we live in and with, that we've taken a nearly perfect process in which a woman's faith in herself and her body's ability is so key and completely anihilated it? To the point where instead of complete trust, there is only distrust and fear.

Apply this to ANY other bodily function and you'll see how fucked up it really is.

Do we need robotic legs to make our legs walk and run and dance? Do we need to have our rectums cut open in order to shit? Do we need scientists standing over us, telling us how to fuck?

No, of course not. We'd be crazy to suggest such things. But we absolutely CAN NOT believe that women's bodies, which have been carrying and birthing babies for MILLIONS of years are actually self sufficient and good at what they do. We crave more and more technology, more vaginal exams, more tests, more more more. Instead of high tech, what we really need is high touch.

I hear women talk about being "allowed" to eat and drink. "Will my doctor 'allow' me to labor out of bed?" "Will I be allowed to keep my baby with me?" This is YOUR body! This is YOUR baby! This is YOUR birth! Once you give up your own body you are complicit in your own slavery to this system!

Women forget, you have a RIGHT to decline ANY and ALL: tests, procedures, vaginal exams, etc etc etc. But I fear that, like any other right, if we do not use them, they will disappear.

A good birth is your birthright. Your body is your own and no one else, and NO ONE has the right to invade it without YOUR permission.

So the question should not be "Will I be allowed this that or the other" but rather "Will I allow the doctor/nurse/midwife etc..."


Dark Daughta said...

Just wanted pop by and say Hey! I know you've made some massive life changes. Hoping everything is okay in your world. Hope to read about your journey when there's time and space.

Dark Daughta said...

Oh come back already girlfriend. Where are you? I've been visiting. Hoping to read you soon. :)

Rebekah Costello said...

*hearty applause*

I'd like to see what people would do if the doctor said, "Sorry, sir, but your lower intestine might rupture. You're going to need surgery to get the shit out. Oh, and um, because of the risks of rupture in the future, it's surgical shitting from now on."

Anonymous said...

linked this, wish you posted more often!

Anonymous said...

"But we absolutely CAN NOT believe that women's bodies, which have been carrying and birthing babies for MILLIONS of years are actually self sufficient and good at what they do."

But sometimes they aren't, RP. Sometimes women have lots of trouble conceiving. Sometimes they have no trouble conceiving but lots of trouble sustaining a pregnancy to viability. Sometimes bodies do go wrong; they go into labor prematurely, develop toxemia, and so forth. When you say this, it just doesn't ring true to many women. Some women's bodies aren't very good at bearing babies. Are they just not important?

Red Pomegranate said...

Firstly, anonymous, I never said women who have interventive births (or conceptions for that matter) were unimportant. I'm not certain where you're drawing that conclusion. I'm well aware that women who need more help conceiving often need more help in carrying and giving birth to their babies.

But allow me to retort. When I say "system" I'm not just refering to the oppressive westernized healthcare system. I refer also to systems that deny or prevent women from having the ways and means of simply being in a healthy normal pregnancy.

Poverty, and racism lead to the deaths and injuries of countless pregnant mothers and babies. Indeed, racism isn't even SEEN as a risk factor for a pregnancy but how else do you explain the fact that healthy immigrating women of color have normal healthy births, but with subsequent generations the mortality and morbidity climb and climb?

Even upper class black women and their children experience more perinatal mortality and morbidity than their white peers. How do you explain that?

So yes, sometimes bodies do have trouble, but guess what, it happens MUCH less than we are led to believe. And I can assure you, spend some time seeing normal birth, and spend some time seeing hospital births and you will know without a doubt where variations on normal births end, and iatrogenic abuse begins.