He tells you -- in words or actions:
1) You are not as smart as him.
2) Don’t trust yourself – you can’t do it without him.
3) You must do only what he allows – it is for your own good.
4) You must do only what he tells you is right and do so without doubt or questioning.
5) He knows better what you need than you do.
6) You can only trust him – and not other women.
7) No one else can take care of you as well he, including yourself, your mother, your sister, your friends, and any other woman.
8) Women do not know as much as men, so other women do not know enough to help you.
9) You can only depend on him, the man.
10) Only he knows what will be best for you and what you need.
Sound familiar? Remember the Welcome to Adventures in Motherhood post a few days ago? The message of the medical establishment from at least forty years ago has been a recipe for the disempowerment and violation of women and their babies during the most vulnerable experience of their lives. There is a entire body of UNDONE mainstream research on the affects of this on trust, intimacy between men and women, addiction, violence, and the myriad of personal and parenting issues in our culture.
Here's the "Welcome" again that corresponds to my list above. My comments are in bold.
Adventures in Motherhood
Welcome to the greatest adventure in a woman’s life.
Childbirth is a natural and wonderful. Your
1) doctor has been especially trained to
2) guide you through this experience happily and help you deliver a healthy baby.
This is so scary.
5) There is a good reason for everything he does or instructs you to do.
6) You will find that your doctor is not only your physician and medical advisor, but also a trusted friend who is sincerely interested in you and available whenever you need him.
Today, a woman is lucky in a twenty-four hour labor if she sees the doctor before she is fully dilated or doing her monthy visits, and if her doctor even remembers her name.
8) much of the time they (WOMEN!?!) are uninformed
HOW SO are women less informed than men about birth? and their advice is poor. Women have long been lead to believe this in most areas of life, but EVEN in birth and about their own bodies? So, if
9) you have a problem, if you are worried, or you are troubled about anything, discuss it with your doctor);
10) he can help you best.
The following pictures tell the story of one girl’s adventure to motherhood. It could be you.
Call me jaded, but I suspect that the systematic effort of medicine to control women's bodies and birth experience is NOT a coincidence. Twenty short years after getting the right to vote, women participated equally in the work force during World War II (were pilots!) and even had a professional baseball league back home. All that ended and women were sent home to have babies, to house keep, and to bake bread -- in pearls and heels. Is it just another coincidence that the late forties and fifties were dubbed, “the knock ‘em out; drag ‘em out” era because of ether and “twilight zone” cocktail and high incidence of forceps use? And, that these years grew to the highest infant mortality rates since medicine took over birth – 1956-1958? Is it yet another coincidence that in the early sixties when women were expressing “hysteria” that valium was dispensed like candy just when women were experiencing violating birth (as you'll see) and were gearing up to claim their equal rights as humans? And, then this coincided with a few hippy, peace-loving women (i.e., Ina May and Suzanne Arms) who wanted to have natural birth and homebirth. Just a side note, but why have the radical feminists (then or now) not engaged in the issue of the historical impact of male dominated medicine on women’s lives?
I think not that any of these are coincidences. Obstetrics is one long effort to control women via non-consenting, non-informed medical research in drugs and technology. Our culture is so paying the price for this.
I am sorry if this post and future ones sharing this book offends those in obstetrics. I know they are good-hearted people who spent years of great sacrifice of their lives to learn what they know and do. I know they are also very wounded themselves, for the same reasons. Every one of us is a participant in creating and maintaining this and every other archaic, traumatizing system in our culture. Someone just has to say it -- "the emperor wears no clothes," so I will. Obstetric medicine is the place of manufacturing physical and emotional depravity in our society. Maybe, and I say this with sincere compassion, maybe the obstetricians today are some of the more wounded?
TO BE CONTINUED ... most definitely. Pictures coming.