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Thursday
Jan282010

Introduction: Avoiding the Blogaround

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Posted by Emjaybee

Hello! I was flabbergasted and honored to be asked to contribute to Unnecesarean.  When Jill asked me to come up with some posts, I wailed, “But I already borrow all my favorite links from you!” How was I supposed to dig up exciting birth-related stories when Jill and her sources had already gotten to so much of the good stuff?

And then I started wondering if there wasn’t something I could say about that very dilemma, and tell you something about myself in the bargain.

It’s easy, once you’ve found a set of favorite birth-related bloggers, Twitter-ers, Facebookers, and what have you, to just run down your list or RSS feed every day, hang out on their comment threads, and talk about nothing but birth. I’ve done my share of it; at one point I think I followed 8 midwives, 2 or 3 doulas, was on 4 or 5 birth/parenting bulletin boards, and had a list of birth-issues bloggers I would visit obsessively every day, muttering grumpily to myself when they hadn’t posted anything new.

Birth intersects with so many facets of a woman’s life, and is treated so trivially in the outside world, that it makes many women hungry for knowledge and support. And when you find that online, it’s addictive, in a really good way.

But it’s also a little claustrophobic, after a while. It can start to feel like a constant blogaround, where A posts a link, B comments, C comments on the comment, and A posts back to C. And A, B, and C all agree on childbirth, cloth diapers, attachment parenting, unschooling, and the awesomeness of Amy’s Organic Mac n’ Cheese mix.

So, sometimes, it’s good to step outside and try to connect what you’ve absorbed in the birthosphere with the rest of life.

My own non-birth-specific internet communities skew to the geeky: politics geekery, language geekery, cartooning geekery, feminism, religion, and culture in general. And being in those communities helps me make connections between the passion I feel about birth and the passion I feel about, say, social justice or women’s rights in the larger sense.

The things we talk about here aren’t confined to the section of our lives when we are bearing and raising children. The right to control what is done to your body, what medical care you are given, is a right all humans deserve, and that feminists continue to demand.  The power imbalance between women and their doctors has roots in much larger struggles, in sexism, racism, and classism going back centuries. Religious communities like the Amish played a pivotal role in keeping midwifery and birth outside of the hospital going long enough for Ina May Gaskin and her peers to rediscover it in the 60s and 70s. And why does our society treat having and raising children as a trivial enterprise and not the world-shaping task it is?  And what about our odd cultural baggage, the way TV shows treat birth as torture and idolize doctors, how does that affect what we expect and how we behave?

There’s a lot to explore, and a lot of great discussions to be had, when we talk about birth, and I’m really pleased to have the chance to start some of those discussions. So thanks, Jill, and thanks, Unnecesarean community, for that chance.

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Reader Comments (10)

I'm flabbergasted and honored that you are here.

January 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

The fact that childrearing--birthing and raising--has become so marginalized by our society is extremely disconcerting. I am 25, have been married, wonderfully, for almost 5 years, and have a son who is 16 mos. I have a bachelor's, but I have never had a REAL full-time job...let alone a career. I have always wanted to have a family and be home to raise my kids, but now that I have purposefully skipped the whole career thing, I am left out in the cold by my peers. "So what do you do?" "I'm a mom." "Oh...." And where does this leave me? Feeling like a dunce because I've chosen to devote myself to my family instead of my career. What will happen to society a generation or two from now when childbirth and childrearing become so institutionalized that they lose much of their meaning to moms and dads?

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiza

I'm going to have to ask you NOT to xerox thoughts directly out of my brain and put them on one of my fav blogs under your name. It's disconcerting to say the least... ;)

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey S

LOL, Lindsey, I felt the same way when I read this. In fact, I accidentally deleted a long comment last night that I didn't try to reconstruct at midnight, but I wonder if in ten year once the memory of my children's births has faded, will I still be as passionate about consent issues and birth or will I be more interested in the big picture of patient autonomy in general?

Liza, I struggled with it for a long time. I worked and tried to find that work-baby balance and finally shifted gears and decided to stay home during my children's infancy. I've been out of the workforce three years and I've already heard well-meaning warnings that my resume will be put on the back burner because of the three year "gap in employment." The irony is that I've worked harder in the last three years than ever before.

January 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

Who is the author of the guest post? Is it a mystery post? A guessing game? Am I missing something? :)

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

It's at the bottom of the post. I'm thinking we'll need to write "Posted by ___" at the top of each post. Thanks for the comment.

January 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

Thanks for pointing that out Megan, I'll be sure to put that up there in future.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

Pleased to meet you, Emjaybee!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDou-la-la

I've been thinking what fun it would be to go back to college and take some women's studies classes now, as a true woman and mother, next to all the womengirls cracking open their righteous brains to the wide swath of grey that lies between black and white.

It would be so fun to inform them that motherhood is a valid and worthy occupation, to stimulate discussion of reproductive rights beyond abortion/adoption/birth control pills, to bust out a little Robbie Davis Floyd. Maybe we could all "seed" these classes anyway at our local U by offering to be guest speakers.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbundant B'earth

Much easier to see the guest blogger name at the top! Thanks for making the change (and sorry if I missed it at the bottom). Enjoyed this post and look forward to hearing from future guests.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
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