Friday, November 24, 2006

Normal Birth Forum

When I searched for a place to pose a question to Henci Goer, I found her on the "Normal Birth Forum" on the Lamaze website. The name of the forum is emblematic. In just three words, Lamaze managed to succintly capture the offensive stance of the natural childbirth and homebirth movements. The use of language is instructive and all too typical. The word "normal" is used to exclude, to demean, and, of course, to be self congratulatory.

Think about it. Can you imagine a website about raising children having a "Normal Children Forum"? Can you imagine a health website having a forum for "normal" people? Of course not. We immediately recognize the use of the word "normal" in these situations as offensive and deliberately so. It is no less offensive to imply that natural childbirth is the only form of "normal" birth, no matter how personally satisfying it is for natural childbirth advocates to cheerfully demean other women and to congratulate themselves.

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