Let’s all wear the same size bra. I think it makes sense. It will be the the right fit for all of us. After all, we are all women. Ideally, let it be a size that sounds nice and round. Like 30 or 40- neat and clean, and B because B stands for breasts.
Let’s all go on the same diet too. I’m confident if we all eat the exact same portion sizes of the same food every day for a week, we will be equally dissatisfied and lose weight at exactly the same rate.
Let’s all go to bed at 10pm. Again, 10 sounds perfect- all decimal and tidy. We each get exactly 10 minutes from getting in to fall asleep, and let’s all wake at 6.10, rested and refreshed, because we’ve had exactly 8 hours- the perfect amount of sleep for everyone.
Does all of this seem ok? Not so much.
And yet. You see where I’m going, right? Have you ever found it strange that despite her height, build, size, and that of her baby, each and every woman spends her labour in pursuit of the magical 10cm of cervical dilation? And that each woman ought to do this over the same period of time?
Chloe wrote this fantastic blog about all of the work the cervix does, and smashed through misconceptions that leave women feeling as if they have underperformed in some way.
And many of us will ‘fail to progress’ (ugh) sufficiently when measured against an outdated, poorly constructed model of labour. Friedman’s curve. This article on BellyBelly explains it brilliantly– what it is, where it came from, why it’s so irrelevant 63 years later, and yet this world is conjured up around us that leads us to believe the lie.
A world of received ‘wisdom’ (received ignorance), a world of inherited, oppressive patriarchal constructs (oh shit!! Women are so powerful- they grow humans- how undermining for us, let’s sabotage that stuff as much as possible so they think they’re not up to it and we can rescue them and feel better about ourselves…), a world that seeks to crush our confidence in birth and motherhood for the gains of capitalism.
Stick 2 fingers up to this bullshit. Notice they they are neither equally long, or wide, as those of the woman standing next to you, doing the same.
I am not a purist hypnobirthing crackpot. I send a great deal of time managing women’s expectations, balancing the picture- yes, we are made to birth, but our lifestyles and/ or genetic factors, unknown issues, etc, don’t always support our bodies to do so without support.
But. Our continued misunderstanding of the magnificence of our capacity as women is tragic. We must dare to notice, and challenge, this blanket treatment of women, and demand to understand the system, and our options. We may not get the birth we would ideally like, but we will know that we made truly informed choices in our own circumstances, that we were respected and autonomous- more than a vessel, deserving more than one size fits all care.
Rather than the woman spilling out of that 30B believing she needs help to reduce the size of her breasts. Or the woman who doesn’t fill it believing she needs help to enlarge hers. When actually the were both fine, normal, and healthy all along.
Do It Like A Mother provide hypnobirthing courses and pregnancy relaxation groups in Southend and Upminster. We run an online Motherhood Mindset mentoring programme.