Pregnancy and childbirth used to be so dangerous in centuries past that most women wrote their wills once they knew they were pregnant. Now we write birth plans, specifying the type of music we want playing while we’re in labour.
Progress is a wonderful thing, but have we become so invested in the process and performance of childbirth that it’s now a measure of our success as a woman?
The health and survival of the mother and child are now so taken for granted — at least if you happen to be white, wealthy and/or westernised — that concern has now shifted away from the small matter of whether you and your baby are healthy to whether or not you gave birth the right way.
And, yes, apparently there is a right way. And only one right way.
A drug-free vaginal birth is held up as the gold standard of female empowerment. Anything different fills women with shame and a sense of failure.