Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yes, cesarean mothers also give birth...

Language is powerful. The words we use can convey ideas, foster understanding and create new ideas. Words can also be used to exclude and to inflict harm on others. Words, aren’t just words – they are filled with meaning and are the primary tool that human’s use in social interactions with others.

Recently, I came across a tweet, although I’ve heard the same sentiment expressed elsewhere: “Cesarean mothers did not give birth.”

My immediate reaction is that this might be the dumbest sentiment that I have ever heard expressed, but also a kind of anger at the ideas that are implied by this sentiment. The idea that caesarean mothers are somehow lesser mothers than those who both planned, and managed to have vaginal deliveries. The idea that the only “real” birth is a vaginal birth. In this statement is a kind of backhanded insult to every woman who ultimately became a mother via caesarean – a kind of one-up-womanship that should be called out for the kind of garbage that it is.

Birth marks the end of a pregnancy – it is the process by which a woman becomes a mother, and hopefully emerges physically and psychologically healthy from with (ideally) a baby whose health has not been compromised by the process. The definition of birth bears no mention of mode of delivery because, frankly, mode of delivery is irrelevant to the definition.

A caesarean birth is not a “fake” birth, they do not issue “caesarean certificates” instead of “birth certificates”, they do not ask for “date of caesarean” instead of “date of birth”, and my kids both celebrate “birthdays” – regardless of how they were born.

Sometimes the things people say go beyond being stupid – it’s a shame though, that such silliness can hurt so many and that such silliness is often in an over-abundant supply.

While we're at it - bottle fed babies are also "fed", adoptive mothers are also "mothers" and stay-at-home moms and working moms equally love their children.

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