Friday, July 04, 2008

A nasty question

In large part, "natural" childbirth advocacy is about some women demeaning other women for having different preferences. Sometimes the putdowns are subtle; often they are not. One of the nastiest putdowns, in my view, the seemingly innocent question: "What are the risks of NOT having pain relief?" That brief query captures a great deal of the meanspiritedness of "natural" childbirth advocacy. It's the same as saying: "What's the big deal? It's not like pain is going to kill you. Why should you treat the pain of childbirth, when if you just do what I do (What? You're not as brave, strong and special as me?) you will be rewarded with the most delightful boost in low self esteem."

Let’s do a little thought experiment. Imagine if we substituted labor pain with the erectile dysfunction. After all:

"Does erectile dysfunction really need to be treated as if it were a medical event? It just "naturally" happens to some men. It's not like they are even suffering pain. They've simply lost the ability to have intercourse, which is hardly life threatening. And let's be honest here, treatment for ED has RISKS. If you take Viagra, you could have a heart attack. In contrast, what are the risks of NOT treating erectile dysfunction?"

It is astounding to me how so many women are so dismissive and cruel when it comes to the suffering of other women. They would not be so dismissive to men about the inability to have an erection. Why is the former less important than the latter?


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