I have been a doing a lot of research on childbirth recently, ever since I lost a very dear friend to an aneurysm while she was delivering her son.
I have come to the conclusion that childbirth is a deeply feminist issue.
For years, women have been told "How" to give birth. They've been told that the doctor ( very often male ) knows what is best. They have been told to grin and bear it, being overwhelmed by the whole experience is not acceptable.
Every time I watch a childbirth video on You Tube, particularly the ones in which the woman is placed in stirrups, I feel like even in the act of the most supreme sacrifice women are objectified. There is not much concern for her dignity and privacy, or her comfort.
Complaining about this gets comments like "grow up" or "women in labour don't care" or "well, that's how you have a baby". That may be true, but the experience can be made a lot more pleasant for the woman than it is.
The most deeply disturbing fact is the lack of choices when it comes to birthing methods. I firmly believe in the concept of informed consent. Telling women "they don't know what's best for them" is insulting and infuriating. I feel every woman has the right to choose how she wants to give birth- be it a water birth, a home birth, or even a c section. As long as she is aware of the pros and cons, she MUST have complete control over her body. As it is, women have to seek approval for their preferred method of delivery. They are "allowed" to have HB or ELCS.
I also feel that the birthing process is more about the mother than the baby. Before people throw things at me, I will clarify. I meant, that the mother has to live with the memory of the day. We don't remember the day we were born right? I know so many women who suffer from extreme PND because of traumatic births. I feel like there is focus on the baby's safety, but not really on the mother's.
I remember when I read about Baby Alexandra Campbell and how the doctors ended up killing her with forceps. There was a similar story about a little boy. In both cases, the mothers did not consent to the use of forceps and they were used regardless. This disrespect for a woman's autonomy over her body is atrocious. I also wonder if this issue would have been brought up at all had God had mercy on the babies and they had survived. The act of disrespect towards a woman's body would have been the same, but it would never have been spoken of.
Women should have the right to refuse ANY intervention during labour. In a matter of life or death, things may be different, but even then I vote for women having the final say.
I'll just mention that you don't ask for permission for a VBAC or homebirth - you are not 'allowed' to have one by the medical professionals. The mother makes the decision, medical professionals can only advise. If you're told you cannot then you're not being told the truth.