Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lotus birth, decisionmaking and oneupsmanship

Louts birth, the decision to leave the placenta attached to the baby for several days until it falls off due to decay, is a bizarre practice with no medical benefit and considerable risk. However, it is precisely the type of practice that one would expect if childbirth decisions are made because of defiance and oneupsmanship.

Childbirth decisions, like all decisions, can be either reflective or reactive. A reflective decision is one that is made by considering personal needs, benefits and risks. A reactive decision is one that is made in response to what everyone else is doing. It is obvious that decisions to deliberately copy what is "in style" are reactive decisions. However, decisions to deliberately defy convention are also reactive decisions. The content of the decision is determined by what everyone else is doing, and then doing the opposite.

Yet even within groups that choose to defy social norms, competitive mothering is still at work. Hence the progression of ever more bizarre claims and practices in an attempt to claim superiority for one's self.

So, for example:

A says, "I had natural childbirth"
and B says, "Oh, yeah, well I had PAINLESS childbirth"
and C says, "Well, ladies, I can top that. I had an ORGASM during childbirth!"


A says, "I had my baby in a birth center"
and B says, "Oh, yeah, well I had my baby at HOME"
and C says, "Well, ladies, I can top that. I had my baby at home BY MYSELF!"


A says, "My partner cut the cord"
and B says, "Oh, yeah, well we waited until the cord stopped pulsating and then cut the cord"
and C says, "Well, ladies, I can top that. We didn't cut the cord AT ALL and just waited for it to rot off!"

Ultimately, decisions are made without reference to facts, and often decisions are made that are not even in a woman's best interest. That's not the point, though. The point is to be different and to be "superior" to other women.


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