Birth & Apples

What does birth have to do with apples? Well, I read two things this week that made me think of both apples and birth. First, in an Ode magazine editorial that was about “apples and entrepreneurs.”  The editor introduced me to the word “pleonasms” –used to refer to words that contain unnecessary repetition. He was discussing apples, “after all, what’s an apple that grows without chemicals? It’s just an apple. If any kind of apple needs a modifier, it’s the kind that isn’t grown organically. Those we should call ‘chemical apples'” (instead of labeling the other an “organic apple”). Of course, I immediately thought of birth. I was considering how we have to use the terms “natural birth,” “normal birth,” “organic birth,” “physiological birth,” “unmedicated birth” and more. Taking a cue from this Ode editorial, what is a birth that isn’t interfered with? Just a birth. In theory, the other phrases we use are pleonasms like “organic apple.” (Same with “breastmilk,” actually. Our own species-specific milk should not need a modifier…)

Still related to apples and birth, but moving into another area, I have a particular interest in “good birth experiences” and how mothers tend to get very valid and real emotions dismissed with comments such as “at least you have a healthy baby.” Or, they face insinuations that they are “selfish” for caring about a good birth experience (the assumption being she somehow cares more about “the experience” than “the healthy baby”). I have already explored this subject in an article for the International Journal of Childbirth Education in Sept. 2008 and also in this post, but I loved this explanation in The Big Book of Birth when addressing disappointment over having a cesarean birth: “…in cases where a mother feels disappointment because the birth didn’t go as hoped, it is like saying to her, Well, at least you got a healthy baby and dismissing any other emotions or experience. It is not helpful because the expectation was not to not have a healthy baby–the expectation was to have a vaginal birth. It is comparing apples to oranges since there were two separate individual hopes: one the joy of a baby, the other her experience of bringing that baby into the world. The apple being the healthy baby we all want and usually bear, the orange being what we hope for in our trials and tribulations on the way there.” (Or, the orange being our “good birth experience.”)

8 thoughts on “Birth & Apples

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