I usually LOVE Barbara Ellen. She's a feminist alright, and I like the cut of her jib. BUT as soon as you start noticing that Birth Is The Female Experience that feminism forgot, you realise it's everywhere.
Apart from the factual errors in her piece (there are always 2 midwives at home births), it's the TONE of this piece which grinds my gears.
Yes, I'm all for promoting the time & space for women to 'plan meticulously' for their births (rather more because the traumatising aspects of birth CAN be avoided, if you know what to look for). But I do cringe at her assertion that pregnant women are so vacuous and silly they can't be trusted to make informed decisions about their own health & that of their family - opined in a tone which suggests that medics & hospital Trusts NEVER adopt policy on anything other than sound ethics and evidence-based research (which anyone who's ever had more than passing acquaintance with medicine will know is utter balls - they're as susceptible to the next bright young thing as the rest of us.)
Most egregious though, is;
'While home birth is sometimes promoted as rejecting the medicalised patriarchy and revering female strength, all too often it seems quite the opposite – a diminishing of the serious, bloody, potentially dangerous business of childbirth, turning it into something where all a gal needs is a lukewarm paddling pool and Enya on Spotify to get by...'
I'm going to give this phrase a massive FAIL.
She has MISSED THE POINT BY A COUNTRY MILE. The frustration of an intelligent, feminist like Barbara Ellen patronising women who simply want to make their own informed decisions instead of dumbly following dusty, generic advice makes me gasp. And that's before the full 'birth=suffering-and-you-just-have-to-suck-it-up' trope takes effect.
How is that once a woman is pregnant all the intellect, capability, insight & maturity she had in her career - even independent adulthood - seems to evaporate? As if birth is something so rarefied our simple women's brains aren't capable to absorbing new information & drawing our own conclusions from it. Honestly, it infuriates me.
<Clambers down from soap box>
So here's your chance to vent! Tell us all about the times you've been patronised by parents, friends, colleagues, medics, midwives, the media simply because you're pregnant. I'm interested to hear your stories (because I might just collate them!).