When I think back about my delivery I feel very lucky.
Firstly, about my delivery itself I had read some pretty grim things about induction on pitocin (you may read this article for more information), and I feel blessed that my birth went well. I had read some stories about women being induced, and their labour not picking up and having to undergo C-section. I had read about not being able to feel urges to push the baby out under pitocin, but I still felt very strong urges. I had heard about unbearable contractions without any relief in between under pitocin, and I guess it was true that I had very painful contractions with little relief in between, but I did manage to deal with them, and labour for me went so fast that it was all over very quickly. Yes, despite being induced, I feel my delivery was pretty close to a natural delivery, and I felt very empowered by it.
Giving birth in traditional India and knowing the plight of Indian traditional and rural women so closely, I really feel I have to write for Indian women. Women in India are over-protected to make them more vulnerable. Really I feel protecting women is but an excuse to make them more vulnerable and powerless. Women here will be so protected that they can’t travel on their own; their brother or father, or their husband or a man in the in-law family will always travel with them. Is it protection or imprisoning them so they are not allowed to travel freely…?
And then women are so brainwashed into believing that they are inferior to men, that very often, if not to say most of the time, it is them who carry this culture of self imprisonment. Women will too often prefer to stay with a husband who beats them up because divorce would mean ruin and loss of their reputation, and often their own family won’t support them in this decision. Married women are often treated like servants in their husband’s families, having nothing to their lives but household chores, raising children and religion, and during their free time TV, sleeping and gossips. And women are so used to accepting their difficult conditions that they wouldn’t even think about rebelling themselves. They’ve lived like that all their lives. They’ve done things because one does things this way. They’ve never been able to think otherwise, because they’ve not been told to think by themselves and they’re badly educated, kept vulnerable and weak.
The other day I was holding Kalyani in my arms outside on the terrace so she would enjoy some of the evening freshness… My mother-in-law told me that I shouldn’t take her outside as the wind was too hot. “Protecting people too much makes them too vulnerable” I told her. “You want to make her strong?” She asked. “Hell yeah!” I replied…
So when it comes to giving birth, no wonder many are so scared and uninformed that they’d rather undergo a C-section than go through a natural process they don’t know about. One of my own sisters in law aborted twice in two years because she didn’t know about contraception. She had not wanted her babies because she wanted to have a chance to work as a teacher, and her in-laws would never accept that she works if she has children. By the third time she felt pregnant she could no longer abort and had her baby, but most of her pregnancy she was in pain because of the complications two abortions had on her uterus. And then that’s only what I understand of her story, because even women themselves won’t talk about ladies’ matters in a clear way. For taboo reasons as well as lack of education. I guess. My mother-in-law, who’s had 7 children at home, and still she used a vague term like the “baby’s place” to mention her daughter’s uterus, rather than the Hindi term “गर्भाशय”. I asked them where she had pain in her tummy, they were unable to tell me precisely.