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Dear well meaning spectator

by lizzi (follow)
Helping plant the seeds of positive birth. www.sproutbirthing.com.au
Dear well-meaning spectator to my birth,

Yes. You. The one making comments about what I “should” do and how things “should” be going. Making comments about the number of children I have. How big my belly is. Questioning what my OB is “letting” me do. Reminding me that all that matters is the baby. Reducing me to vessel. Telling me that my choices aren’t “safe” and that you “wouldn’t risk it”.



Pregnant woman
Courtesy of Pixabay


Look back at that first line. You are a spectator. And it is MY BIRTH.


You have no decision making power over me. You do not walk in my shoes. You do not live my life. When all is said and done you get to go home. Your life, your dignity, and your self respect are not on the line.


No matter how this birth goes YOUR body will not be violated during it.


So what I want to ask is: Can you really be a “well meaning” spectator if you are telling me that I don’t matter? Is it well meaning to tell me that a violation of my body means nothing…as long as my baby is alive at the end of it?


I get it. You just care about whether we are “safe”. But your definition of safety is so narrow that it misses the very essence of what it means to me.


For me to be safe I need to be respected; my power as the birthing woman acknowledged; the recommendations based on actual evidence; my care needs to be tailored to MY experiences, values, background, culture and health.


Can I truly be considered to be safe when I am unsure whether my care provider is basing their recommendation on mine and my baby’s health? Am I truly safe if my care provider is basing their recommendations on a policy or on their opinion based on an experience they had with one mother 20 years ago?


Am I going to be safe if my instincts tell me to say no to everything recommended because my care provider has shown that they will be basing all their recommendations on hospital policy rather than mine and baby’s health?



Pregnant woman
Author's own image


We really need to talk about safety. And we need to talk about who gets to define safety.


My body is the one on the line. I am the one who has to go home and live within my body – no matter how violated it is. No matter how many stitches. No matter how much pain. No matter how many flashbacks.


I don’t want to just be an alive, but empty, vessel. My children deserve a mother who is full of life. They deserve a mother who is confident and capable. They deserve a mother who isn’t thinking of suicide because her care providers (and all those well meaning spectators) told her she was a bad mother.


Dear well meaning spectator – I will no longer make excuses for you. It is never okay to tell mothers that they don’t matter. It is never okay to support a culture of assault of pregnant and birthing women.


You are small minded, uneducated and a huge part of the problem.

You are not well meaning.


Enjoyed this blog post? Here's others you might like:

Who owns birth??

A lesson in Surrender

Women's instincts: when to listen and when to ignore, as dictated by the AMA

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[ Submit a Comment ]
Such defensiveness is counter-productive. If you really were "confident and capable", you wouldn't need to write this.

Good article. Shows every good reason why women need to go it alone (almost) for the birth of their baby. You don't see animals giving birth with their mother in law and cousins et al hovering around the birthing site, do you. Birth is a very private event and needs to be quiet and comfortable. There are only two people involved, the mother and the baby.
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