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22 August 2013

Responding to a Feminist's Question

I am a bit of a birth junkie. 

Folks who are close to me are not going to be surprised by this revelation. The oldest of 8 kids, I used to love reading my mom's pregnancy books whenever she would get pregnant. I was briefly apprenticed at a midwife in high school. Now that I am a mother myself, I've read enough that the usual "over the counter" pregnancy books no longer did the job and I started looking for something "prescription strength": so I read midwifery texts for fun. I have yet to get tired of talking about birth. I like birth, and I am amazed and awed by the incredible design of our bodies. They are marvelous creations! 

As a result of this fascination with birth and babies, I follow a number of birth-related Pages on Facebook. One of my favorites is Improving Birth. They talk a lot about research, and what it says about common US birth practices. I like research. Today they posted an interview with their VP. She said some nice things, but there was one thing she said that really stood out. 

"How can we bridge that disconnect, that feminism is not the antithesis of motherhood, but the embodiment and the redefinition of it?”


I don't know if she thought she'd get an answer, or if an answer to that question is even really welcome, but I posted my answer. I guess I'll find out how serious she is - and the other women that make up the community as well. As a strict constitutionalist, and a deeply religious Christian woman, I am part of a tiny minority in the birth junky/midwifery community. Or at least, that's been my perception of the situation for quite some time now. We'll see. This is what I posted:

She asks about the "disconnect", and wonders why people think that feminism is the antithesis of motherhood. For me, the answer to that question is this: the FEMINISTS said so.\

 A few years ago I sat in my Ob's office listening to the talk show in the lobby, and the feminist being interviewed said that women who think they want to be stay-at-home moms don't really know what they want. They just *think* they want to stay at home because they've been told they're supposed to want that. Being the mom has been my dream as long as I can remember. As a college student I joked that I majored in Japanese because "they don't offer degrees in Mothering." As a multi-year fertility patient, a woman who just couldn't seem to ovulate, and when I finally did, I finally got pregnant, only to loose that first baby to an early miscarriage, and there I was, pregnant again, and so close to my SAHM dream, only to hear some arrogant feminist claim that she knew better than I what I want. *That* is why I think feminism is antithetical to Mothering. 

But that's not the only reason I want nothing to do with the feminists. That first miracle baby was a son, and my second miracle, 4 years later, is also a son. I hate what feminism says about my sons. Feminism takes some admittedly ugly behaviors of some men and generalizes the blame to all men. My sons are not what feminism says men are. Neither is my husband. Or my father and brothers. In fact, I've met only a handful of men, ever, who behave the way feminists paint men. I have no use for a movement that cannot distinguish between actual jerks and the rest of the men in the world. I don't want anything to do with a group that teaches, even indirectly, that my boys are inevitably going to grow up into something horrible: men. They are already well on their way to becoming good and noble men. The kind of men that a Mother smiles about as she says, "That's my boy!"

I was blessed with a 3rd miracle last January, this time a daughter. I hope she never takes up the feminist cause because I don't like what feminism teaches about women. I don't like the shrill, leftist position of feminism. First of all, shrillness is unbecoming on anyone, at any time. Secondly, feminism is all about a victim mentality. My daughter is not a victim of men, or of anyone else. But should someone be cruel to her, I hope she will choose not to become a victim anyway. Victims live in the past, as does feminism. There's no need for that. Feminism teaches that it's all men's fault... as if the women were not in the least responsible for shaping society, or inactive in building our culture, which is a laughable assertion. I want none of either the passive bystander or the angry, shrill protester that are the two images of women I have observed feminism presenting. But more than that, feminism's leftist ways are abhorrent to me. Rather than advocating for freedom for all, feminism seeks to use the power of the government to coerce men into "better" behavior. At every turn they seek judicial and legislative solutions: they seek to address the "oppression" of women by using government, which is by definition, force. Yet the hand that rocks the cradle hold the future in her hands, including the future of the culture. Freedom would have solved every problem without stooping to the same tactic (force) they claim to abhor. Another reason to hope my daughter avoids this movement: even as they say that those women who want to be a SAHM don't actually know what they want, feminists howl with outrage at the suggestion that murdering our unborn is sick an wrong -- even as research shows that the unborn are learning, tasting, sleeping and wakeful, able to feel pain, in short real people. Yet feminists would teach my daughter that her unborn child is no more than an expendable mass of cells at best, and at worst, a parasite. Yes, I hope my daughter always rejects feminist thought. 

I appreciate the valuable educational efforts of Improving Birth. There is a great deal of educating that needs to be done. But I see this as an issue of freedom, and of education. Our culture teaches some horribly wrong things about birth, and like so much of culture, it's transmitted by women, from mother to daughter. Women will seek change as a natural result of education, and if the free market is allowed to operate, people will be falling all over themselves to offer the sort of research-supported practices this Page advocates. We don't need laws, except perhaps to repeal barriers to the proper function of the free market. And we can certainly make these things happen without feminism. 

My Grandma, not a midwife, but a wise woman if ever there was one, lived to personally witness the triumphs of feminism. Near the end of her life she told me, "Feminists should have stopped with the vote." More and more all the time, I am appreciating the wisdom of her words.

P.S. Wanna read more about the adventures at our house? "Like" my blog on Fscebook to get my posts (and the articles n things I wish I had time to blog about) in your feed. Wanna see all the projects and ideas that I may or may not get around to? Follow me on Pinterest. Thanks for stopping by!

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