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Blaming Women for Birthing

by Lisa Morgan (follow)
A writer who also reads waaaay too much.
Babies (4)      Childbirth (3)     
Or for expecting the unexpected.

Pregnant III by Francesco courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

When women have freebirths, society often trashes them in the media for their decision. Yet when women have babies in speeding cars or on the side of the road enroute to hospital, they are congratulated.

It is interesting to look at childbirth from these two angles. An unexpected unassisted childbirth versus an expected planned freebirth.

When women plan to give birth to their babies at home without assistance, blame is placed at their feet. They are choosing to engage in a risky birth without assistance. If something goes wrong it is their fault, and because they chose to birth like this they are not deserving of emergency response services.

Society is very contradictory about judgement and blame. On one hand there is the belief freebirthers are awful women who put their desires ahead of their baby's safety and won't use or ask for help when it is needed.

On the other, hand when freebirthers demonstrate they are willing to seek medical assistance should there ever be a need, they are criticised for taking up valuable emergency response services which other more deserving people (ie people who don't place themselves in danger) need.

If we look at roadside births that occur outside the hospital the outcomes are usually positive with minimal or no assistance required. Many women simply do not make it to hospital in time especially with subsequent children. Yet if a woman plans for the unexpected and is comfortable with freebirth this is considered highly irresponsible and selfish.

We all have our duty in society, and where birth is concerned in Westernised society it is our duty to birth with medical experts in attendance just in case. If we fail this duty by consciously rejecting it, we face the weight of society's attempts to bring us back in line. This is why women are not attacked for having unplanned births in high risk situations in speeding cars or in rush hour traffic by the highway. They were trying to do the right thing and go to hospital.

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