Bey­oncé and the del­i­cate pol­i­tics of the C-sec­tion

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT -

YOU know that the cult of nat­u­ral child­birth is get­ting out of hand when one of the most in­flu­en­tial women on the planet feels she has to jus­tify hav­ing a Cae­sarean sec­tion. In her Vogue in­ter­view, Bey­oncé, pic­tured, de­scribed how be­fore giv­ing birth to her twins, she was swollen from tox­aemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. ‘My health and my ba­bies’ health were in dan­ger so I had an emer­gency C-sec­tion,’ she ex­plains.

Clearly des­per­ate not to be con­demned to the de­spi­ca­ble ranks of the ‘Too Posh to Push’ brigade, Bey­oncé went on to de­scribe the trau­matic ef­fects of the surgery. ‘We spent many weeks in the NICU… I was in sur­vival mode and did not grasp it un­til months later. To­day I have a con­nec­tion with any par­ent who has been through such an ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter the C-sec­tion, my core felt dif­fer­ent. It had been ma­jor surgery. I am not sure ev­ery­one un­der­stands that. I needed time to heal, to re­cover.’

It’s a sad day for ad­vances in ma­ter­nal health­care that any woman be­lieves she has to prove she was at death’s door be­fore hav­ing a C-sec­tion and then feels com­pelled to ham­mer home how it was far from a walk in the park.

Cae­sarean sec­tions have be­come such a poor re­la­tion to nat­u­ral child­birth that they can in­duce feel­ings of shame and in­ad­e­quacy in women and make even a tow­er­ing tal­ent like Bey­oncé feel de­fen­sive. A new TCD study shows that doc­tors per­form them mainly out of fears of lit­i­ga­tion, rather than in re­sponse to re­quests from moth­ers-to-be.

But what’s so ter­ri­bly wrong with a woman hav­ing a C-sec­tion of her own vo­li­tion? It’s a safer method of de­liv­ery. If it wasn’t, then the num­bers of women hav­ing them wouldn’t be steadily in­creas­ing. Per­haps it’s time we ex­tended the mes­sage of Time’s Up from gen­der to re­pro­duc­tive equal­ity and bring an end to the judg­men­tal one up woman ship of child­birth.

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