Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Childbirth pain "a rite of passage"  

"Women 'should go through pain' in childbirth, says male midwife" is the title of an article that I came across (hat tip to Choice Words) that made me increasingly angry the further I got into it. A male midwife, Dr. Denis Walsh, believes that the pain involved in childbirth is a "rite of passage."

First and foremost, methinks males who will never experience childbirth pain shouldn't pass judgment on the women who do undergo childbirth and choose to have an epidural.

Moving on, it's one thing if Dr. Walsh's argument is that it is healthier and less risky to give birth naturally, but his main argument seems to be, "Pain in labor is a purposeful, useful thing, which has quite a number of benefits, such as preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby."

Essentially, Dr. Walsh believes that the pain will "toughen up" new mothers to the point where taking care of a baby is a cinch!

To me, it seems as if this is one midwife who is looking down upon certain women who choose how they wish to birth their child. Each woman's childbirth experience is unique, and every woman has a right to choose the circumstances under which to give birth that will make her most comfortable, mentally and/or physically. To quote Hannah from Choice Words, "If I had a midwife who said that to me, male or female, they would immediately be given a one-way ticket to NOT being my midwife." Indeed.

Anyone side with Dr. Walsh? I'd be interested to hear your opinions, and I do love me some debate.

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8 comments: to “ Childbirth pain "a rite of passage"

  • July 16, 2009 at 5:06 AM  

    I think his comments have been broadly taken out of context. How come no one every mentions what is best for the baby? It is all just about the woman and her choices. What choice has the baby got? Using drugns in childbirth makes your child 5 times more likely to become a drug addict in later life. This is based on research! Women can give birth, drug free, with the right support and information. It is an achievement to birth your child but women need to start accepting responsibility for their birth and find out all the facts before they decide on what they want to do. Having a baby is NOT the same as having a tooth extracted!!!

  • July 16, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

    You do make a good point. There are definitely risks involved with having an epidural, and it would've been much better if the midwife had emphasized the risks, rather than claim that pain "prepares" women for motherhood. It is definitely important to educate women about the risks involved, but ultimately, it is the mother's choice as to how she wishes to give birth.

  • July 17, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

    And I think it would be more interesting if anyone who argued had a real argument, not just "none of his business". It's exactly his business, he's a midwife.

  • July 17, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

    Like the previous commenters, his comments have been taken largely out of context, and could have been phrased much better. According to what (little) I have read, primarily on the unnecesarean, using drugs when you don't have to leads to a cascade of interventions and increases a woman's risk for a cesarean section which is worse for both mother and child.

    That being said, it is a woman's body and people should not judge her for her decisions in such a scary and exhilerating time in her life. Instead options and risks should be placed before her with as little bias as possible.

  • July 18, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

    Burn, I believe I provided arguments aside from the "none of his business" one. The majority of my post is me making other points against it. But I still think since he will never experience the pain of childbirth, he has no right to look down upon women who choose to alleviate that pain.

  • July 19, 2009 at 2:44 AM  

    sorry, I don't see any other arguments. Your post consists of two parts, which are no too different:
    1) Males have no right to pass any judgement at all on this matter.
    2) Every woman has a right to choose whatever she chooses.

    Call it not judgment, but opinion, what then? I think he has a right to have an opinion and has a right to express it freely. In fact, I would seriously doubt qualification of any midwife who doesn't have an opinion on this matter.

    That aside, we haven't seen the original article, just some journalist's interpretaion, which (at least, for me) isn't too reliable.

  • July 19, 2009 at 12:38 PM  

    Of course, he has a right to his opinion, and I have a right to criticize it.

  • July 24, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.