Same job, different uniform.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Better Left to the Imagination

Saturday was our child birth preparation class, and it rates among the top five most unpleasant experiences of my life.

The beginning of the class was innocuous, boring even. There was the basic anatomy lesson, an explanation of what's happening when you are having contractions and a vocabulary test.

Then WHAM. The nurse turns on a video about "natural" childbirth. Four couples are profiled and followed by cameras from the beginning of labor right up until birth.

I used to mock Hollywood's portrayal of women giving birth: Everything is clean and bright and short. There is just the right amount of sweat and screaming; then there's a baby and we smile and tear up.

Now I would give anything to go back to those air-brushed images.

Why do I want to watch a woman lying in her bed, humongous belly exposed, eyes closed, moaning, while her exhausted husband times her contractions? What am I learning?

Cut to the couple in the hospital bathroom, pregnant woman soaking in a hot bath. Now to a couple walking the hallways. Now we're in a hosptial bed while a red-faced woman battles nausea as she reaches the "transition" phase of childbirth.


Two videos later, I wasn't paying attention anymore. The final video was just footage of delivery--not even narration to help you forget what you're seeing. Just a bunch of women suffering. And I couldn't press mute.

Some things are better left to our imaginations. As my sister blogged after she delivered my nephew, pregnancy is deeply personal. No one needs to know what you went through in that room. You don't have to tell us it hurts like hell--we figured that out. You can show us different positions for delivery that might provide some comfort without images of women actually in them!

And if you want us to learn how to breathe productively, consider taking the time to teach us how instead of merely showing us!

Maybe our ancestors had it right: Close the door, kick everyone out and preserve this remaining fragment of female modesty. (And if we can't go back to that, then let's pass on the videotaping, shall we?)

Labels: , ,

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati


Blogger elphaba said...

I think it is all fascinating and wonderful, but I respect your right to be disturbed.
(I'm saying you don't think that is is wonderful in the miraculous sort of way)

I do like how the experience of giving birth does instantly bond you with millions of other women.

Soon this will all be but a happy memory for you, gf!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogger Lois E. Lane said...

Ya, why is breathing such a complicated and confusing thing for them to teach?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus knows all about childbirth. "When a woman is in labor, she is in pain, for her time has come, but when the baby is born, she forgets her pain because of her joy that a human being has been born into the world." (Jn 16:21) Jesus knows all about childbirth. One of the only times I have had the priviledge to pray with someone to accept Christ, it struck me how easy it was; it was hard to believe there really was a new birth (and in this case, it did really stick.) But then when I gave birth and saw all the blood and gore I realized that Jesus performed the travail of the new birth on the Cross. He really does know all about childbirth. His labor was infinitely more painful than ours. But it isn't an arbitrary consequence that the first curse on the woman was pain in childbirth...the (fallen)Creation mirrors the eternal reality. -- Olivia in VT

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful. That leaves me with a lot to think about.

I don't want anyone imagining that I am decrying childbirth per se. It's watching someone else go through it in the name of "education" that I oppose.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Post a Comment

<< Home