Why do people say such mean things to pregnant women?
- That looks so painful!
- Are you having twins?
- You look like you swallowed a 5-year old!
- How can you walk?
- Isn't your doctor worried about how BIG you are?
- Aren't you scared?
- How can you get so big?
- Why do they LET you get so huge?
- Why haven't you been induced yet?
- You're having a cesarean, right?
- I wouldn't let something that big come out of me.
- Oh my god.
What is in people's hearts that makes them say such cruel things to women about to give birth? We who have been visiting the late-pregnancy mamas have been thinking about this and wondering why people are so flabbergasted at the really typically normal-sized women we are seeing in our care. It kind of dawned on us that three major things might be to blame.
1. Women in our society aren't getting to 40 weeks anymore! They are being induced at 38-40 weeks so any woman over 40 weeks is considered a serious anomaly and a stranger in a forbidden land.
2. Any woman who goes over 40 weeks would most certainly not be out in public because she would be so rare she would be ridiculed to the ends of the earth.
3. Plus, if only the 1% of the population is homebirth clients and they are making it to 40 weeks, that severely cuts into the amount of women who would even make it to being seen in public at 40 weeks at all.
What is wrong with this?
Is 40.3 weeks the new 42.6 weeks? Are babies going to be cut out now if they aren't born by 40.3 weeks? Is 38 weeks going to be Induction Day? Will it be so weird for women to ask to go to 40 weeks that doctors will have them sign AMA forms? Will going to 42 weeks be unheard of except in midwifery circles? Will doctors whisper about "those midwives" and how they/we "make women suffer waiting to have their babies for WEEK after needless WEEK when they could easily bring the baby forth in health and ease"?
Even some of my (holistic healthcare) practitioners, who should know better, say things like, "oh, my GOD, she hasn't had that baby YET?!?" and I have to bite my tongue and not shout, "QUIT SAYING IT LIKE THAT! How do you think she feels when she hears that?!" I gently explain that babies can't read calendars, they have their own time schedules, their own seasons, their own methods, their own paths... and we obey them, not they us. The adults look at us sideways curiously, wondering where we came from and I tell them, "not from medical school."
If I wanted to schedule birth, I'd have been a doctor. I am on-call for birth. Therefore, I am a midwife. I am with woman. For women. For her. With her. When she needs me. Even if it is late. Even if I am tired. Surely, she is more tired than I.
And I honor that.