Tag Archive | birth language

Cut here?? What not to say to pregnant or laboring women…

The Rebirth blog is having a “blog carnival” with “what what not to say to a pregnant or laboring woman” as the theme. When I read the theme, two personal occurrences immediately sprang to mind:

After my Blessingway ceremony with my first baby, all the guests got into the pool (it was August). I changed out of my Blessingway finery and came out in my cute little two piece bathing suit with my big, pregnant belly leading the way. One of the Blessingway attendees looked at me and at the brown “linea nigra” line on my belly and said, “What’s that line mean? Cut here!” and laughed. I was appalled! And at my Blessingway too! I will never forget how it felt to hear something like that on my special day.

Less bothersome, but something that undermined my confidence in following my instincts was when I was laboring with my first son. I said I felt ready to go in to the birth center, but my doula suggested I take a shower first (and relax). When I went in to the bathroom to do so, I heard her say to my mom and husband outside the door, “first time moms always think they need to go in too soon.” I am a people-pleaser and it took a lot for me to come back out of the bathroom (without taking a shower) and say, “no, I want to go to the birth center now.” We went (and I was 10 centimeters dilated when we got there). I felt like I had super-amplified hearing during labor and heard everything that people said even though they thought I didn’t (eyes closed, very inwardly focused). This was one example of several similar occurrences during my first birthing.

I also thought of an experience of one of my birth class clients. As she was pushing and the baby’s head was crowning, her doctor said “I wouldn’t rule out a c-section just yet…”

One of the reasons that I actually called this blog “Talk Birth” is because I have a special interest in the language of birth and the impact of the lexicon of birth on pregnant and birthing women.

The experiences above and the theme in general reminded me of a quote I really liked from an article I read recently:

“Since beliefs affect physiologic functions, how women and men discuss the process of pregnancy and birth can have a negative or positive effect on the women that are involved in the discussion. Our words are powerful and either reinforce or undermine the power of women and their bodies.”–Debra Bingham