Does logic always prevail? An exploration of the ways we’ve traded common sense for easy-to-digest lies and inflated egos.
I am a big fan of common sense. In fact, my ability to maintain patience in the face of blatant lack of logic makes me feel queasy. Last week, I decided to spend a few moments looking into the many ways logic, common sense and the consideration of some of the world’s most easy to understand concepts in pregnancy, birth & motherhood have been pervaded by our obsession with numbers, evidence, statistics and studies.
Please be forewarned this is heavy and I ask you to consider how you may be triggered.
You see, the world of birth is a funny one. Built on the promise of modern medicine delivered on the backs of brave horses and white (cis men) knights, it’s one system after another built to commodify every bit of disconnect, despair, confusion and fear coming from the bodies of people handing over their personal powers in exchange for a ‘healthy baby’.
And in the process, we’ve voluntarily handed over our autonomy, our dignity, our awareness, our sense of self and our practice of common sense – all in the name of people telling us what to do and how to act because they know more than you (allegedly).
The result of this fundamentally fractured foundation?
A level of double standardness, hypocrisy and contradiction so entirely avoidable, it is almost comical how pathetic we’ve let this become.
I have actually started to avoid some of the this-is-so-fucking-obvious-I-want-to-cry conversations. Mostly because I can’t bear to keep playing pretend, but also because it’s exhausting having conversations with people who are obsessed with placing scientific jargon and ‘evidence based’ studies before, for example, having conversations that expand far beyond that.
Some examples of this would be;
- Anything man made is inherently flawed because nothing man creates is perfect, as an extension of us being imperfect. The margin of that ‘error’ always exists. And yet, man invents medicine/technology/method and gets so grossly offended when one questions the accuracy of said man made thing. *scratches head*
- There is not one longitudal study on this planet that details the entire existence of one human being AND EACH VITAL CONSIDERATION of their life (past & present which undoubtedly impact the information extracted from said study AKA layered variables), including upbringing, food, medicine, relationships, sexual history, cultural/social/religious factors, etc. etc. prior to attaining said research conclusion, let alone NOT ONE STUDY EXISTING that takes the exact same person and put them in a mirror/parallel universe where by we can beyond a shadow of a doubt draw conclusion based on these same two people living the same experience in different scenarios (unless there is a clone program I know about).
- Our obsession with numbers, and stats, and money, and KPIs, and anything that allows us the ability to feel ‘in control’ of what we don’t know by turning it into numbers we understand, is keeping us from seeing PEOPLE AS PEOPLE WITH COMPLEX AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS that change from moment to moment, of which requires the dedicated, nimble, enthusiastic care of passionate professionals who move the rapid fire-ness of that landscape, instead of clutching onto static numbers that fuel the conveyor belt and cuckhold everyone else.
- The ways we label low and high risk, and how embarrassingly generic (and disastrous) this approach is.
- The ways we engrain little girls and big girls and grown ass women to SPEND THEIR WHOLE LIVES WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER THEY ARE TOO BIG, OR TOO SMALL, OR TOO MUCH, OR TOO LOUD, or too alllll of the things, just for them to get pregnant and get told they’re too small or too big to have the birth they want or the baby they have, and that their baby is either too small and needs to come out now or too big and won’t come out, and THEN have to deal with the conversations about growth percentiles with a newborn baby and that same baby being too small or too big, and you guessed it BANG. That baby grows up into the same cycle of its value/capabilities/status in this world being judged on its size – from the moment it was CONCEIVED.
- Studies the uterus, pelvic floor (and surrounding areas) for 5+ years, denies the (logical) role of gravity, mobility and positioning in birth, and how that is impacted in a lying down/epidural situation.
- Poor outcomes, most often PPH, following some level of induction, augmentation, intervention and/or surgical birth (and by all accords the direct result of it), accompanied by ‘I would have died if it weren’t for my doctor/midwife/care team!’ Righto. This includes PPH after physically traumatic birth (synto AF, episiotomy, forceps, cord traction, etc.) and the amount of BS perpetuating fear of bleeding, all the while enabling a system to keep doing what it is doing because ‘we’re saving people!’.
- “Birth trauma isn’t real – that’s just alchemised projections from someone who feels disappointed after not getting what they wanted on their Celine Dion stage-rider birth plan.”
- The ways modern medicine and maternal health apparently knows everything there is to know about the human body, reproductive health and the ways our bodies cook & make babies (knowing more about our bodies than us), and yet there still is no book on the clitoris and there are still many professionals working within this field who couldn’t find or work a clitoris if their life depended on it.
- The language used in and out of this space and how completely intentional it is used to make you feel/believe/act a certain way (don’t argue with the sales copywriter in me – I see you!).
Maternal health care – the only place where a stranger touching your body in a way that makes you feel horrified or horribly uncomfortable is normalised + regarded as a necessary part of the experience.
Maternal health care – the only place where gaslighting, emotional manipulation, grooming, extortion and narcissism is regarded as a necessary part of the exchange because not feeling safe is better than having a dead baby.
Maternal health care – the only place where getting on your back, opening your legs and doing what you’re told is no longer submission at the hands of your captor but instead normalised + regarded as a part of the experience.
Maternal health care – the only place where the simple question, ‘How would you expect and want someone to treat your daughter in this situation?’ gets disregarded and where not taking our own advice is normalised + regarded as a necessary part of the experience.
Maternal health care – the only place where ‘treat others how you would like to be treated’ is defunct.
Maternal health care – the only place where rape isn’t rape, and where assault on the body comes in exchange with ‘aren’t you glad we were here to save your life?’.
Labour & birth – the only place where we expect people who have no relationship with their body, are out of shape, haven’t eaten, haven’t slept, haven’t drank enough water, don’t feel safe, can’t speak properly, are scared and are ill prepared to get on with birth like a marathon runner about to tackle a 20 km run, who has never run before, and then hand out ‘failure to progress’ badges for people to wear as a reminder that ‘surely there must be something wrong with you and your body is broken if you couldn’t perform under pressure, with every odd stacked against you’ for the rest of their lives; instead of asking ‘how could I have supported your body and mind to function optimally and as it should?’
Motherhood and parenthood – the only place where we throw people out into the world to do a job they’ve never done before, after spending a life being told they weren’t good enough or smart enough to know themselves, with no support whatsoever after enduring the most physically & emotionally taxing experience of their life, only to be sold every program/product/promise that can ease their lack of confidence, desperation and overwhelm so that they can survive and do said job without *maybe* losing their mind on the hamster wheel.
Pregnancy, Birth and Motherhood/parenthood – the only places we keep buying into commercial Hallmark ideas of what things are supposed to look like when everyone knows – EVERYONE KNOWS – it’s fucking hard. So we keep buying into these ideas of contrived perfection which keeps enabling the shit show to continue even when we desperately know perception & culture need to change before anything actually changes.
Maternal health care – where suicide as one of the highest contributing factors in maternal mortality is still ignored, not spoken about and not supported because doing so would mean those responsible for her experiences have to be held accountable.
Maternal health care – where we keep settling for less because asking for the best in a system that makes us feel lucky we are alive is a an easier conversation to navigate – within ourselves and with others.
Maternal health care – where we get you to believe everything we say and do everything we ask in the name of a live baby, only to leave you to fend in the world as a broken, sad, vulnerable mother who turns to infanticide and then gets labeled ‘the bad girl’.
Maternal health care – the only place where we accept a level of bullying, sexism, classism and harassment we would never let slide in the school or workplaces of our children.
Maternal health care, Labour, Birth, Motherhood and Parenthood – the one place where it feels like any iota of progress women have made to take up space safely in a modern day (vote, fuck, work) , is not only non-fucking-existent when you’re navigating the territory that comes with having a baby – but compromised at the hands of OTHER WOMEN, none the less.
Maternal health care – the only place where #metoo doesn’t apply, where trauma & abuse has only been acknowledged in the last few years and where blaming the victim is still socially acceptable.
Maternal health care – where we use the death of babies (unavoidable reality of all life) to destroy/control/pummel into submission midwives & midwifery care (and subsequently deny birthing people of true choice in childbirth), only to hold no one accountable for the injuries and/or deaths of babies & women (people) dying within hospital, and the level of corruption and manufactured evidence to protect said injuries and/or deaths. The pot calling the kettle black.
Maternal health care – the only workplace where lies becomes acceptable truth because the people using them have said them so many times they believe it themselves.
Maternal health care – where you’re called a conspiracy theorist and anarchist for asking even the most easy of questions that require even the most excruciatingly simple of answers.
Maternal health care, Pregnancy, Birth and Motherhood/parenthood – where everyone is so busy fighting each other over absurd trivialities and made up problems designed to keep us fighting each other, instead of fighting the people/issues/institution up THERE.
Maternal health care, Pregnancy, Birth and Motherhood/parenthood – THE ONE PLACE you are discouraged from planning and preparing for (weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc.) because planning your birth and postpartum is bad for business, and so that you can be kept compliant, submissive and overwhelmed enough to know nothing and agree to anything when the time comes for decisions to be made about you & that affect you – by someone else. Stay distracted with the 10,000$ pram > do the research and make a plan.
Where asking logical questions like, ‘Could you take a shit lying down?’ ‘Could you get naked, have sex or have an orgasm in front of a group of 10 people with bright lights on, with monitors strapped to your body, prying hands invading your space and intrusive conversation evoking a crisis of self-confidence?’ and ‘Are you the problem or is it the people around you?’ are chalked up to not relevant because #birth.
Maternal health and the culture of birth & motherhood – I have had conversations about aliens and ghosts that are more balanced, less defensive and more compassionately engaged than the ones I have seen or been a part of in this space.
Time to get less busy on the bullshit and busier on the dismantling of a system that profits from lack of common sense. If logic is going to prevail, these conversations are going to be our best shot.
Have you come up against a real lack of logic in this line of work?
Angela Gallo’s Dynamo Doula Training
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