"Childbirth moves, first, out of the home, and now out of the vagina"
My beloved readers, I may be—gasp!—offline for days! We have a bit of a situation over here and a change of address is required. And yes, I’m being deliberately obtuse, partly because it makes me sound mysterious and edgy.
If I could implore you to read one thing today, it’s “Mommy, What Did You Do in the Industrial Revolution?”
It has the feminist critique feel of Hanna Rosin’s article, The Case Against Breastfeeding, but obviously lacks the pulpit that The Atlantic gave Rosin. Written by OB/GYN Lauren Plante of Thomas Jefferson University, the article highlights the shortcomings of the “normalization of deviance” in obstetrics, the faux-autonomy that modern American obstetrics promotes and the treatment of women in hospitals as units of production, much like on a factory floor. She wonders if women who are interested in the Slow Food movement might take a liking to a Slow Childbirth movement. Could there be a backlash coming to challenge the hegemony of the medical profession? Plante illuminates how women of this generation fight the Modern! Convenient! Better! attitude of doctors (mostly) past that had a bottle in every baby’s mouth and now at least two-thirds of women attempt breastfeeding.
You’ll without doubt see this woman’s work slathered all over blogs soon, sandwiched between personal reaction and commentary. Here’s what jumped off the screen at me:
Industrial obstetrics strips the locus of power definitively away from women. The history of childbirth in America reflects a persistent trend of increased control by physicians and increased medicalization. Childbirth moves, first, out of the home, and now out of the vagina.
If you want a place to share your reflections, feel free to come on back here after you read the article.