Talk to a pregnant woman about birth, and she’s nervous about the pain and knows little to nothing about the labor and birth process. Women in America are often frightened and intimidated by birth because of the pain of birth. However, this view of labor isn’t shared across the world.
You see, the American view of birth is the result of a patriarchal (male-dominated, determined, and designed) society. The effects of patriarchy were especially evident in the medical world. Male doctors came in with their fancy degrees and unquestionable education to treat women with their fancy “educated” and “progressive” birth interventions. Yet it never occured to them that they had no idea what it was like to be a woman or to give birth, nor did it hit them that their medical education had been designed by males, for males, and based entirely on the male perspective.
FROM WOMAN TO MEDICAL PROJECT
And these doctors — having their traditional male love for tools, fixing things, and showing that they could do things on their own — turned the birthing woman into a project.
They told her she needed to stop moving and lay on her back (because it was more convenient for him and he couldn’t possibly understand that laying on the back is one of the most painful and unnatural positions to labor and deliver in).
Then he created forceps and scissors — man tools for birth — so that he could “do birth better” as a medical handyman (because his skills and tools were superior to the silly ways and ideas of the uneducated women who had no idea what was good for her).
Then he created drugs to dull a woman’s pain or completely knock her out because birth was too much for a woman to handle (because it fu#king hurts to labor laying down and to have a man slice through your perineum and dig around in your insides with humongous metal salad tongs).
Finally, he created pitocin so that he could have the big-boy control over the date and time of birth that silly women never had (because he was determined to “do birth better” by giving pregnancy a deadline and pinning down a mostly-certain date of birth, which a woman’s body didn’t).
Oh, and let’s not forget about how men created liability and disclosure forms so that he couldn’t be held legally liable for when birth went awry (because he took complete control over women’s bodies, options and their births, after all). He also set up nurseries so that babies could be whisked off and cared for by strangers while the mother recovered (because what man of that time was going to opt to take care of a baby over taking a nap when the woman in the next room could handle it).
THE TRUE BIRTH PAINS OF WOMEN
Yes, today’s technology and advancements are truly amazing and life-saving. However, women have a history of being treated and seen as human guinea pigs. Birth, which had always happened through the woman and by the woman, now happens to the woman. From births past to births today, the woman has been forced on her back, strapped down, denied the help and support of women and family, drugged, cut into, cut open, barked at, looked down on, and led to believe that she wasn’t capable of handling birth and that a birth with stirrups, scalpels, monitors, and horrifying hospital gowns was the best and safest of ways.
It was claimed “best” and “safest,” even though the woman’s body was wild with the impulses, phases, and sensations designed to lead her through birth. Even though the woman had an inner knowing just waiting to be given attention and listened to. Even though woman was birthing under the “experience” and “education” of a man who had never ever given birth and never would. And so woman was treated like livestock. Just another cow coming through the assembly line.
And this is why this post had to be born. Because today’s woman doesn’t know the magic and wisdom of birth lies within her. It’s time to change that.
RECLAIMING THE POWER OF BIRTH
Today’s world is full of both women and men who are ready to be freed from the lies, pain, and false promises of the patriarchy. Empowering women so that they can reclaim their birth, bodies, and babies may be one of the most powerful ways for us to shatter the last links holding us to our patriarchal past. Whether you’re fired up to empower women, or you want to be an empowered woman yourself; you can start your journey with these simple ideas.
- Recognize The Woman’s Strength
Don’t feel sorry for her or doubt her. Yes, she will be uncomfortable and feel pain, but that’s because she’s undergoing the most intense and incredible process of transformation and self-discovery. Old aspects of her are being dissolved and new ones are breaking free and pushing their way to the surface. This isn’t a woman who needs pity. This strong brave woman demands awe, respect, and the greatest care.
- Recognize The Woman’s Power
This woman is bringing life into the world. First, she accepted this life in her body. Then, she spent nine long months growing it and developing it, completely changing her body and the way she lives her life. Now, she’s bringing this life into the world. But this doesn’t mark the end of her work. In fact, it only marks the beginning. Because once this life is here, she will then be giving from her body, mind, and heart to prove this life’s best nurturing and care. This woman is powerful, and her power will only grow. Its thanks to her that humanity is here! Recognize this and celebrate her.
- Recognize The Woman’s Needs
Pregnancy and childbirth make a woman strong partly because of how incredibly vulnerable she is during this time. The body changes in a way that shakes your views of beauty, the body, and perfection (especially when Instagram is full of models rocking itty-bitty bikinis at 36 weeks). Wide hips, backaches, swollen legs, hip pain, and restless nights can wear a woman down and gnaw at her self-image even further. But being able to wear a bikini, working out an hour every day, or getting a full eight hours of sleep isn’t what’s important right now. This is a time to allow the female body to do what it’s designed to do. If the woman is treated right, it will be a time to embrace it and admire it. This is a time for the woman to cast away society’s bullshit ideas of womanhood so that she can reclaim the true beauty of women, pregnancy, and motherhood.During these times, it’s so easy for a woman to feel insecure, uncertain, and doubtful. Keep this in the back of your mind so that you can sense when she’s going through such a phase of vulnerability. Redirect her so that she can see what really matters and own her incredible time of transformation. Assuage any body insecurities by donning her with lovely clothes, scarves, beautifying essential oils, and healing salves which will make her feel, look and smell like the lovely pregnant woman that she is. Encourage her to relax and to enjoy this time by gifting her with fruits, bath salts, body oils, or whatever gets her to indulge in peace and bliss. I personally recommend the Sage Woman care package and the Honey Womban pregnancy and postpartum packages from the amazing ladies at Honey + Sage Co. Having experienced their all-natural and organic self-care box, I can say that this box is as much a gift to the skin and body as it is to the mind, heart, and soul. I have so much admiration for those women and their woman-empowering mission.
- Recognize The Woman’s Wisdom
Lastly — but most importantly — encourage her to turn to the wise and all-knowing woman within. The trillions upon trillions of living cells within her body are attempting to commune with her, but only can be heard if she stops and pays attention. And her intuition — her powerful inner-knowing — is always waiting to speak with her but it can’t be heard until she learns its language of feeling and heeds its calls. Help her to trust her in her own self whatever way that you can. This will do more for her than any doctor or pain medication ever can.
For all of you reading this, thank you for being the amazing wild women and the wonderful women supporters that you are. Together, we’re going to evolve this world into a powerful new place.
HUNGRY FOR MORE OF MY WILD MYSTICAL MAMA READINGS?
Spiritual Mothering: Putting The Mystical Magic Back Into Pregnancy, Birth, And New Motherhood on the Tree Sisters blog
The Divine Woman That Lies Within Us All on the Tree Sisters blog
Empowered Birth: The Trouble With Birth Interventions (And When They May Be A Good Thing) on the Green Child Magazine blog