Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Blame Game...
I have to admit, I was completely oblivious to the "Mommy/Birth Wars" not that long ago.
I miss the blissful ignorance of being unaware that others viewed my choices so harshly, even though it shouldn't matter what they think. I simply had no idea people could care so much about the choices I made involving my own body and own child!
It wasn't just the judgments on homebirth mothers that I had noticed, I also began to see a lot of blame being passed around and very little responsibility being taken for our own choice-making.
Women were angry. Really, really angry. They were tired of people telling them that their C-sections weren't real births or that they were less-than for getting the epidural. They were upset that they had been told that doctors were evil and hospitals were cold and unfeeling. That had simply not been their experience and they felt they had been lied to.
I could understand their frustration. I had empathy that their births were being discounted. It certainly wasn't fair or right.
But, my then my empathy began to wane. I could understand being angry and being hurt but what I could not understand was turning that anger into blame, continually, over and over again.
Blame was put on thousands of women.. women who had no connection to those specific situations where these women had felt judged and belittled. All of sudden every single homebirth mother or woman who advocated for natural birth deserved retribution for what had happened to them. All of a sudden we were all lumped together into this one huge group of women who had demeaned them and their births.
I know full well, I had never said a harsh word to any of these women for the choices they had made as mothers or what had happedned to them by no fault of their own. So, why were all of us getting blamed for something that one random person had said? Even if 100 people had said it, it still does not mean that thousands upon thousands of women feel the same way.
But the blame did not stop there. I also began to notice that anyone who was viewed as an "advocate" for homebirth or natural birth was not only accused of putting women and babies in danger but was also being held responsible if a baby or mother died. I saw facebook page owners, bloggers and mothering boards being blamed when homebirths went wrong or women had stillbirths. This was going too far. When you start blaming the wrong people for anyone's death, baby or adult, you have gone too far.
Think about the myriad of reasons that are involved when a mother is making a choice about her impending birth. I would say this choice probably begins with the mother's upbringing.. her relationship with her parents, her religious beliefs, her spiritual beliefs, her husbands beliefs and so much more.
How can we possibly blame a facebook page if the choice a mother makes ends in tragedy? I think we need to give women more credit than that. Women are intelligent and thoughtful and will do anything to protect their babies. If someone is looking for guidance on an online forum, I would assume that she is using every avenue possible for information and resources. I would argue that she has put a lot of thought into her birth and sometimes, despite doing all that, things will still go wrong.
Why do we always feel such a need to blame? What possible good comes out of that anyway? I see blame as one of those useless emotions, like regret and jealousy. It causes more harm than good, there is no question about that.
So, instead of blaming, I think we should try something new. If someone says a hurtful comment to us about how we gave birth or how we parent our children, we need to confront that person right then and there. Let's not run off and let that anger fester. Let's not put the blame on someone else. Let's talk about it and try to resolve it, the best way we can.
If something goes wrong during our birth or someone else's birth, instead of trying to find someone to blame, let's try to find ways to heal. It is so much more productive and will end with peace of mind rather than anger in our hearts.
I think we can take what would have been blame and turn it into proactive change. Whenever there is an opportunity to blame, there really is an opportunity for growth. It's in our hands, which one we want we to choose.