Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother Nature's Way versus The Easy Way

This is the title of an article (my capitalization) in the Shanghai Daily today, which you might be interested in reading here.

There's nothing particularly new to say in the article, which discusses the reasons for China's particularly high rate of cesarean births, and especially those arranged on maternal request, but I found the title itself quite interesting.

What do you think? When you read 'Mother Nature's way versus the easy way', what do you make of the words 'the easy way' in reference to a cesarean delivery?

*Is the author inferring that it is actually the easiest way to give birth? In which case, why wouldn't so many Chinese women choose to have one?

*Is it meant sarcastically/ironically (i.e. 'a cesarean is thought of as 'easy' but it is in fact the very opposite)?

*Or does it infer that women are not living up to their natural born responsibility to endure the pain of labor - an essential moral and physical rite of passage into motherhood?

I don't purport to have the answer this evening, but I wanted to write about it because it's an accusation/comment/idea I've seen written about before - that a cesarean is the 'easy' option.

A cop-out almost

Personally, I've even found at some of the mother and baby groups I attend that because I chose and enjoyed a cesarean birth, I'm ineligible for membership in the birth story 'club'. Although luckily, I make the cut for the 'my babies don't sleep through the night - ever' club, so I'm not left out in the cold completely!

It makes me wonder if perhaps there's something about women/mothers that makes us bond better when we can be joined via an empathetic shared suffering of one kind or another.

And what I find fascinating is that while in China, women are choosing cesareans to avoid the potential trauma of vaginal birth or an emergency cesarean that they've heard or read about, in Western culture, we criticize and even condemn women who make the very same decision. Here, we think its natural and normal for women to want to put themselves in the hands of Mother Nature and utilize surgery only when the likely alternative is death or serious injury.



Yshka said...

Dear Pauline,

I am Ksenia and I live in Moscow, Russia. It is usual practice here to say (by journalists and politicians) that our and Chinese mentality have many common features. But! It was also strange for me to know that in China elective caesareans are usual practice, while here in Russia doctors will do everything to persuade every woman, despite her actual health and reasons for her choice, to give birth “naturally” (e.g. special magasines for pregnant women are full of phrases that EVERY woman wants to come through natural labour, and so on, and it was many times I tried to say that it's not true – and received answers that it should be legally prohibited for me to have chlidren at all if I WANT the c-section, one prenatal psychologist even said directly to me - “what a pity I did not know you earlier, if I did – I could persuade you to make an abortion, your baby will never be happy with such mother”).
So! I wonder if it's the real “western” mentality – to perform propaganda of privilege position for those whose biological conditions are “better”? I suppose no. It looks more like the fascist one, not western.
But – it's a fact that such propaganda exists not in my post-communist country, but in western countries as well. So – qui prodest? To whom it is really necessary and what are the real reasons for it? Is that WHO that agitates to give birth naturally? Or someone else – e.g. doctors and health ministers of each concrete country for their personal reasons in every concrete case?
I would like to know your opinion – or to read it if it was early published by you.
Sorry for my poor English :)


Robyn said...

In my opinion anything that can be done is natural. If it wasn't we wouldn't be able to do it.

It's natural that we are smart enough to make advances in science and technology.

It's natural that we discovered surgery somewhere along the lines and are able to use it to make our lives better.

It's "natural" to let your cavity infested tooth rot out of your head, so then why do people opt to have it surgically removed? ..that's the way I feel about child birth. Sort of.. to a degree.
I feel that if it will cause me less trauma and suffering then why not have my child surgically removed as opposed to him ripping me in half with all the unknown outcomes that occur during childbirth?

I had an elective cesarean and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Also.. I actually do feel like I took the easy way out--and I could care less what anyone else has to say about it. Because I didn't suffer hours and hours of pain and get ripped to my sphincter I'm not a good mother? Okay..right.

I love what you do. I constantly refer your site and your blog to all my friends and acquaintances who are trying to decide which option is best for them.

Hopefully one day it will be accepted for women to do what they feel is right for them, their body, and their baby.