Feminism of the week: Empowerment for your pregnancy

Today’s inspiration for feminism is a quote from a man.

Dr. Marsden Wagner, born in San Francisco (USA), studied at UCLA perinatology and perinatal science. He worked for six years as Director of the Research Center for Health at the University of Copenhagen, and for another 15 years he headed the Department of Women’s and Child Health of the WHO, where he remained an independent consultant until his death in 2014.

I got to know about Dr. Marsden Wagner through my birth preparation classes. My instructor mentioned the quote which I want to share with you today:

Doctors are afraid of birth! In the early 80ies, when I just started working for the WHO, a midwife asked me: `Have you ever seen a home birth?’ I responded`No’ She asked if I would like to see one and I said yes. She let me see the home birth, I was there the whole time. As the birthing woman came to the pushing stage of labor, she suddenly unleashed her whole force and started screaming and groaning. She screamed: ‘Get out…! I will birth this baby!’ I witnessed the whole situation – at the end I was completely under shock! I was so shocked that this experience changed my whole perception of birth! In this instant I understood that I’ve seen my first birth! All births I’ve seen until then, were no real births. These were births that were deformed and changed by doctors, nurses and even by midwives. I also realized something else in this moment: I was scared to death seeing the full force of this woman. I realized that I -as a man- am scared of women, horrified by their shocking force and their power. And I also realized that our modern obstetrics are aligned to not allow this to happen. We don’t want to see such things in the hospital – when men are afraid, we want to defeat or control it.”

Thanks to my birth preparation classes and the amazing and inspiring instructor I had, I got to know so many things about birth and how it is related to women empowerment. Birthing has been in the hands of women and midwives for centuries across many cultures in the world. Only in the last hundred years modern medicine has taken over and changed the way of birthing in many ways.

This quote of Dr. Marsden Wagner shows how birth is a powerful and unforgettable experience for anyone involved and how modern medicine has changed the process to become something that can be controlled. To which extent this has improved birthing is something I will discuss in another post with you.

Photo Credit: Universal (Knocked up)


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