|Is that a trophy I see? Why yes, yes it is.|
Photo credit: AP.
The blogger at Mama Birth and I joked that we'd both like to do posts about it (she beat me to it LOL) and here's her take. I don't want to repeat too much of what she just said, but yeah. What she said.
Something we both noticed were the comments - horrible, as usual. It seems that whenever birth is talked about there's something nasty to say, usually from other women. I don't even remember all of them, but the general feeling I got was How dare you birth somewhere "non-traditional?" How dare you go against the grain and do something that is supposed to be so painful and horrible and make it look ..... easy?! The audacity - to shower, move around normally, get into whatever position you want, no epidural... You are a @(%&&!!!*#^%^@ and deserve to die and have CPS called on you!"
Okay, the CPS comment came from the comments section about the pregnant marathon runner who gave birth within hours of running a race. I think this birth falls into the same category: that somehow, there are people that think because you birth outside the norm or dare to do anything weird while pregnant, that they have some emotional claim to stake on you, your baby and your birth experience.
What Marni Kotak did was probably weird, but like Mama Birth pointed out in her blog post, not really that different than what they have been doing for years on A Baby Story (hello, since 1998?!). 16 and Pregnant - I've never seen that one, but honestly it sounds like utter tripe. I'm sure we can count the reasonably accurate, normal birth scenes we've seen in TV and movies on one hand.
I'm sure people were even more furious when things went well and the child was actually born. Of course, if things hadn't, they would no doubt declare smugly how "hospitals are where all birthing women belong," and how stupid/selfish/much of a whore she was for deciding to even have children in the first place, or something equally hurtful and bizarre.
For some, this is the closest thing to normal birth that they'd ever see. And it's not like she had an audience, per se - not like birth shows do - because she and her husband allowed no video cameras or photography. If she feels comfortable sharing it with a few people whom she knows care about birth (and her work), then so be it. How is that any different than mom calling so and so's step-sister's aunt's neighbor's daughter into the room (and all her girlfriends and close co-workers) while she's nearing the pushing phase? I don't get that, either, but that's their choice. Just like, I guess, it's Kotak's choice to show others that birth can be normal. That perhaps it's not her that's wrong or weird, but they are, for thinking that a normal birth doesn't exist, can't be done, is dangerous, selfish, blah blah blah. Somehow, though, when people watch birth on reality television they don't spout off about how much these women are trying to grab attention, but when someone like Kotak defies the "rules" they have no shortage of nasty things to say about it.
While my eyes were closed pretty tightly while I gave birth, my husband said there were quite a few people in the room during my VBAC. Not because it was an emergency or things were going badly, but, I'm guessing, because people wanted to see it happen. (Not trying to flatter myself here) but perhaps because they wanted to see a woman come in to the unit in active labor, doing a VBAC and refusing an epidural. Pretty straightforward, over and done within a little over three hours after arriving. While I was busy doing my thing, I couldn't help but notice the almost surprise in the nurse's voice when she did an internal and found that my water was almost ready to break. I thought, What is she used to seeing, then? Good heavens.
I couldn't help but notice in the thumbnail picture of Kotak that she had a trophy next to her bed. That made me laugh. It's like thumbing her nose at all of those women who sneer, "You won't get a medal for giving birth naturally!" I guess in this case, yes, you do.
The pregnant woman as public property