Babies are not pizzas they are born not delivered
I saw this as a t-shirt once – I can’t find it now (so if anyone has a link to it please let me know)
We have to really watch our language around birth – as birth workers we talk about this a lot., and the thing that really grates on me is hearing ‘oh it was amazing that this man delivered his son, or thank goodness for the quick wits of a passerby who delivered the baby’ As if a woman is completely incapable of giving birth to her baby, that her body – perfectly designed to grow a human suddenly becomes highly incompetent and needs the help of an outside person to help a woman breathe and know when and how to push, as if the woman has no understanding or feeling of her body to know instinctively what to do and when.
In the news, birth stories , all over you will hear of such and such delivered their baby or birth professionals talk about how many babies they have delivered. But what this does is completely take away the onus on how hard the woman has worked in birthing her baby.
A woman will have spent 9 months growing a baby and much of that time she will have spent preparing herself physically and emotionally to birth her baby. During labour she will have overcome fears, surrendered to the force of her body, coped with the sensations of labour, may have overcome pain.
To then state that whoever was her birth partner or care provider was the one that delivered her baby is demeaning, disempowering and undermining.
It can be very easy for women to think they are not allowed to do things during pregnancy and particularly at birth, it becomes very easy for a woman to lose her rights in pregnancy and birth and by talking about other people delivering a woman’s baby this further creates the impression that a woman is not in charge of the birth of her baby.
Talking about delivering a baby really takes away the physical exertion of birth, it makes it easier to dismiss a woman’s need for time and space to rest and recuperate after the birth and also to take time to reflect on her journey of pregnancy and labour and her new role of becoming a mother. In a subtle way it removes the woman’s right to own her birth. And by then adding the ‘all that matters is a healthy baby ’means it is easier to dismiss any negative feelings a mother may have around her birth leaving her without support to grieve or process what she went through.
Every time I read a comment or an article which talks about how someone delivered a baby it really gets my back up. It is taking away from women the power and strength they have, the resilience of their body to grow and change and nourish a baby in the womb, the ability to open their body and mind to allow their baby to be born and the immense physical energy this takes and the raw power of so many emotions in a relatively short time as they work through their labour.
It’s another little bit of misogyny in the birthing world that tries to make women less than they are.
Women are immensely strong and powerful and they birth their babies – no one ‘delivers’ them. Let’s remember that!
Rosie Dhoopun is a Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, Pilates Teacher, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher, Pregnancy Coach, Baby and Toddler Massage and Yoga Teacher.
She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk