the medical establishment is just not good for women

You know, when I first read Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions, I thought she was a little hysterical. But yet another acquaintance of mine went in last week for a routine birth and ended up with a c-section (and thwarted breastfeeding, to boot), not to mention they didn't even let her see her baby for almost five hours. This is the dominant theme from the birth stories I hear: medical professionals exerting inappropriate pressure and applying unnecessary intervention in ways that result in unhappy, traumatized women and babies.

I think maybe Ms. Wolf was not so far off the mark.


Acqaintance said...

While I am not entirely happy with the post-birth birth experience (mostly the 5 hours before I could see him), there were medical reasons for the induction at 38 weeks (I was pre-eclampsic), and the breastfeeding failure (scar tissue from previous breast reduction, flat and inverted nipples). I don't blame my doctor for either of those. I don't blame her for my not being able to see him, either. That was the hospital. My doctor had long gone home by then.

My goal was to have a healthy baby, and I did. The hospital staff panicked because another woman on the floor had blood pressure that suddenly skyrocketed to stroke levels (she had to be moved to ICU), and my levels were high. Am I pissed I didn't get to hold my baby for 5 hours? You betcha. Did it interfere with my bonding with him? Not at all. He's still my little man who loves to snuggle up on my chest, whether we're breastfeeding or not. He also loves to nestle himself under his daddy's chin, and there's obviously no milk there. I'm typing this one-handed because I have the little guy cuddled close to me. He's ten days old and has been lifting his head from day one and rolling from his back to his side since about day six. I don't think he's worse for the wear. Is breast milk best? Absolutely. Is it the only valid way to nourish a child? Absolutely not.

I'm not advocating a purely western-medicine philosophy here. There is a reason, however, that mother and infant deaths have been on the decline over the last century. I am glad the technology was there to save my baby's life. My great-aunt and uncle (remember Grady and Ruie?) lost their only child at birth (stillborn) because Ruie had toxemia (pre-eclampsia, just like me). Western medicine potentially saved me that heartache, which would have been especially hard to take since it took us five years to conceive.

Not trying to start an argument; just giving you a fuller picture of what happened. :-)

Sherri said...

AND he's beautiful, in addition to healthy!

Yeah, I had a C-section with Colin, and while I'm not entirely sure mine was necessary, I know that many are-- my own birth, for instance, was via C-section, and I'm glad to be here!

And I agree with your statement about breastfeeding-- as I told my friend Kimberly, whose "reduced glandular tissue" forced her to use formula: it's not breastmeilk, but it's not poison. He'll be just fine, I'm sure. (Again, look at me-- I was a formula baby like the majority of folks our age born in the US.)

"The medical establishment is just not good for women" was probably an over-generalization, but I tend to get het up about these things. I have to do something with all my neo-feminist outrage. ;)

By the way, am pleased that you read my blog.