Saturday, July 23, 2011

I didn't tear, so you won't tear - if you do it properly

At least this seems to be the advice of Rikki Lake, while talking about her new doc, More Business of Being Born.

When asked her reaction to women who choose cesareans 'to protect their “vaginal integrity”', Rikki is reported to have said,

"It’s a joke! I didn’t tear with either of my children and they were both over 8 pounds. In fact, my midwife came back to my apartment the next day and she looked down there and said that it didn’t even look like I’d had a baby. My body recovered so quickly. That’s what happens when you’re not given a drug that numbs you from the waist down. You can feel what you’re doing."

This type of anecdotal 'informing' women is at best, naive and at worst, irresponsible - perineal and pelvic floor damage caused by vaginal birth is a REALITY for some women.

Certainly, it doesn't happen to every woman, but one of the biggest problems with this associated risk of vaginal birth is that no one can predict precisely who it will (or won't) happen to.

Therefore, if some women choose to plan a prophylactic c-section - just in case - I don't think it demonstrates much respect for their informed decision to describe a very legitimate reason as a "joke".

Nor does it illustrate a knowledge or understanding of these potential risks.

Birth Choices

Rikki Lake says, "I want to be clear: I am promoting choice, not home birth."

And yet the interview continues: "I don’t judge any woman for making the choice that she makes. But I think major abdominal surgery should be a last resort."

(Perhaps she feels the same way about epidurals, given what she says about her experience of not tearing?)

For me, surgery was my first choice, not my last resort, but I sometimes wonder whether some birth advocates will ever be able to truly understand or accept that fact.

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