I saw an msnbc story the other day on a growing trend called Freebirthing. Freebirthing is where a soon to be mother chooses to give birth by herself at home, without drugs, doctors, or midwives. If it sounds dangerous and insane, well, that's because it is.
Freebirth proponents in the article insist that having a baby is as intimate an experience as having sex, thus should not be witnessed by anyone except the parents. They claim the current culture of requiring medical assistance is a product of fearmongering by the medical establishment.
The article does interview concerned doctors and other parents who think the freebirthers are nuts. Dr. Crippen from British National Health Service says “giving birth is the most dangerous thing that most woman will do during their life.”
What do the freebirthers think?
"It didn’t make sense to me that something that ensures the continuation of the race would be a dangerous and scary event.”
“We’ve been giving birth for thousands of years and we’re still in this world. If it was that dangerous we wouldn’t be here.”
Morons. You're expelling a living organism with a head the size of a cantaloupe out a small opening in your body; of course it's dangerous and scary! And it doesn't need to be safe to continue the species; all the species needs is more births than deaths, so as long as lots of women are having babies, it doesn't matter to the species if many women and babies die. According to the Wikipedia article, a good estimate of the rate of maternal deaths during childbirth without medical help is 1.5%. With modern medical help, the rate is 0.03%. I don't know about you, but giving birth without medical help looks like a damn foolish idea just from the mother's perspective. I haven't even bothered looking at what happens to the babies. The above mentioned Dr. Crippen wants all freebirth babies with problems to sue their mothers when they grow up.
The piece ends with Mary Siever, an Albertan, saying:
“I can’t claim to know why they feel this way, but my belief is that the majority of them — doctors and health authorities — truly do not think women are intellectually capable of making their own decisions when it comes to birth.”I'm going to go out on a limb here and speak for the health authorities:
Mary, we don't think women aren't intellectually capable, we think that you aren't intellectually capable.
First off, many, many doctors these days are women - self-sufficient and fully feminist at that - and if this was just an oppression of women thing it would have been eliminated by now. Second, and much more importantly, women can make all the intellectual decisions about their births they want, but you can't just decide not to have complications. You'll get complications whether you want to or not.
You say, "I'll decide to have a nice home freebirth with no help and no complications, and everything will be great." That's nice. Then when the baby starts coming out the wrong way, or you find you can't dilate enough and what looked to be a 8 hour delivery starts to stretch to 20 hours, what then?