"A healthy baby is all that matters"

This was written by my friend Elizabeth and is reposted with permission.

"This is not true. Having a healthy baby is extremely important, and having a healthy baby and a healthy mother is the most important thing. That does not mean it is the only important thing. When a mother undergoes a traumatic emergency situation in delivery, with lasting damage to her body (this can happen during vaginal or c-section delivery), that matters. To suggest that it doesn't because the mother got a healthy baby as the end result is another way of saying that the mother does not matter outside of her role as an incubator for said baby. This is a narrative that gets repeated a lot in our culture about motherhood - that once you become a mother your role as independent person either diminishes greatly in importance or altogether ceases to exist. It is a sexist and untrue narrative.
Additionally, telling a woman that her preferences about labor and bodily integrity don't matter sets up a climate ripe for postpartum depression. Mothers struggle enough with the idea of their own needs and wants being subsumed to those of their new baby without anyone telling them that they cannot grieve over a less than ideal birth experience.
I know someone whose husband was mugged and whose face was mutilated on the day of their wedding. If you wouldn't be willing to tell her that "the fact that you came out of it married is the only thing that matters", then I don't think you have any business telling a mother that "a healthy baby is the only thing that matters".
I personally know women who were so traumatized by their birth experiences that they have chosen not to have any more children, or waited many more years to have other children than they would have otherwise. Clearly it mattered a great deal to them, and I don't think its anyone else's place to tell them they are wrong."

No comments:

Post a Comment