I Don’t Need Your Birth Feminism
Mariah Sixkiller’s Why I Am a Birth Feminist is one of the most privileged and myopic pieces of drivel I have ever read.
Why exactly is she a birth feminist? Is it because she wants to see improved birth outcomes for women in third world countries? No. Is it because she wants to fight against inequities in our health care system? Also no. She’s a birth feminist because she had a c-section in 2009 and she’s still bummed out about it.
Listen. I get that it’s a downer when there’s a discrepancy between expectation and reality but maybe it’s time to stop treating the surgical procedure that resulted in the birth of your healthy child like an epic tragedy.
Eventually you will be able to kiss her face.
Eventually you will be able to go home from the hospital.
Eventually you will feel well enough to be able to pick her up and change her diaper.
Eventually you will feel a deep connection with your baby.
Eventually you will stop crying every day without really knowing why.
Jesus. A c-section isn’t that traumatic. Hell, it isn’t even remarkable.
Sixkiller claims birth feminists aren’t anti-hospital or anti-c-section. They just “believe in a woman’s right to make empowered choices about her birth experience.”
Really? If birth feminism is about choice, why does she describe her c-section like torture and her four day long no pain meds VBAC like winning a marathon? Sixkiller sounds like she’s bragging, not starting a feminist movement.
If birth feminism is about choice, I’m sure her friend’s documentary — The Mama Sherpas — will include plenty of positive stories about repeat c-sections and epidurals, right?
The end of the piece is the real clincher —
Your birth experience has the potential to shape you as a human being in enormous ways. And you are in the driver’s seat. It is your body and your experience. Ask questions. Do your research. Hire a doula. Write a birth plan that helps you define what is important to you. Approach your pregnancy with strategic focus. Surround yourself with a birth team that respects your process. Be hopeful. Know that you have a right to have a right. Birth is an amazing opportunity. Choose wisely.
We don’t get to choose the bodies that we’re born with. There is no winning combination of doula, birth plan and “strategic focus” to outwit pre-eclampsia, infertility, chromosomal abnormalities or anything else that’s beyond our control.
We don’t need birth feminism to dangle the promise of “birth experience” over our heads. Instead, we need to call the “birth experience” what is is — a fantasy.