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Thursday
Aug252011

Choices 

This blog post is a somewhat random collection of three pieces relating to women, but wandering as it is, I didn't want to break it apart into their own posts. Yet. I wanted to get my thoughts out there, even if they are somewhat disjointed. I hope you're able to follow along okay.

I read a blog piece entitled “Your Home Birth is Not a Feminist Statement” by a research scientist “named” Isis. I’ve not read through her blog On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess yet, so don’t even have a gauge for how feminist she is compared to me. Her post, however, was too important to ignore. 

Defining “Feminism” must be done and while many of us have an idea of what it is and if we call ourselves feminists, we certainly have a personal definition, but for a discussion like this, my definition has to be out there. 

Wikipedia certainly isn’t a reliable resource, but I found a decent description of my feminist beliefs there. 

Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.” 

I’m in a place of exploring gender roles right now anyway, what with my partner of 25 years recently coming out transsexual (female to male), but I’m clear of my own gender (cisgender being a new term I discovered that means my sex [female] matches my self-identification of [our] societal expectations of a woman) and am comfortable in it. Finding the societal patterns of male and female roles and combining those within the context of childbirth is an on-going project. I'm glad Isis brought it up, but a lot more discussion is needed.

Isis says:

Home birth as a way to find a loving supportive environment and fight the enslavement of the patriarchy is absolute, utter nonsense.   It’s one of the only medical scenarios I can think of where women place health and welfare in jeopardy in order to feel “in control” and avoid intervention.” 

I’m not sure where fighting the “enslavement of the patriarchy” comes in, but women and men are often found to require their medical care be a collaborative adventure instead of a authoritarian one. I’ve been unfortunate to have a slew of family members, all of whom think I was nuts to birth at home 27 years ago, be sick and dying in the last five years and every single one of them wanted a hand in their care… from choices of medications to take, which treatments to begin or forego, and the ultimate decisions about leaving medical care and entering the world of hospice. Others in their same shoes might have chosen completely differently. I absolutely didn’t agree with every decision they made, but they were given the autonomy to decide, up to and including the end. Each of them was in a situation of having very little control and they, too, grasped it where they could. A woman in pregnancy or birth should be permitted the same “luxury” of deciding what her care looks like and where it takes place. 

Personal autonomy is the cornerstone of the abortion issue and I am constantly amazed at women who are vociferously for choice believing a woman in birth should not be afforded that same right. Seriously baffling. I haven’t yet heard an adequate explanation for the change in thought processes… I simply don’t think they exist. On the continuum from 100% Choice of abortion on one side to the other side where there is No Choice for abortion, is there a tipping point I can’t see where a pregnant woman moves into the No Choice If She Continues the Pregnancy segment of the line? Who decides where that tipping point is? And why do they get to make that decision. If women are smart enough to make the determination to continue the pregnancy or not, they are certainly smart enough to decide how they want the birth to find completion. 

Choice is choice is choice. If one choice is removed, all choices are gone.