I'll never be a mom, and I realize that will render anything I say on parenthood null and void by some people, but I feel strongly that forcing your extremely young children to watch you give birthafter they've insisted they want no part of itis extremely bad parenting. I mean, you presumably don't let them watch the baby-making process, why should they have to observe the gory, scary, outcome? But that's just what Madeline Holler over at Salon did when she found herself preggo with her third kid. Not only that, but she's so proud of manipulating her children into observing her home-birth that she wrote an unapologetic story about doing so.
"Deep into my third pregnancydays and days past my due date I asked my two daughters whether they wanted to be at home for the birth.
"No," my 7-year-old, Beatrice, said.
"No," echoed her 3-year-old sister, Frances.
Why Holler waited until after her due date to ask can maybe be chalked up to hormonal flakiness. Why she even bothered to ask, when she had no intention of letting them opt out, is the real eye-roller. Regardless of how her kids felt about the matter, Holler had other, better, ideas.
"I wanted them with me, the image of their brother's birth burned in their brains. Not at all for sentimental reasons, though. No, quite the opposite. . . it was with education in mind education with a whiff of indoctrinationthat I wanted them to see a woman give birth. Sort of a health class video meant to supplement the textbook and lectures. After all their excitement and knowledge, I was sure they'd enjoy being a part of it."
Yes, because doesn't every toddler want to see her mother bleeding, shitting herself and screaming in pain as a tiny human forces its way out through her vagina? I'm an adult and I can't even watch scary moviesI can't even imagine how terrifying this must've been for two little girls to observe.
As for backing up the information given in health classes, those classes generally aren't offered until junior high. I've yet to hear of a nursery school that gives even the most rudimentary lessons in birth control. And sure, it's your right to rail against the Birth Industry in favor of a more homespun approach, but don't you think that lesson could've waited until, oh, I don't know puberty? It's not like your seven-year-old is going to have to make that choice anytime soon.
The only positive thing that could possibly come out of this scenario is that once they grow up a little and recover from the shock, I'm guessing Holler's daughters will be extremely diligent users of birth control. That is, if the experience doesn't put them off sex altogether.
On the upside, at least they can just print out this article and hand it to their future therapists. It'll explain a lot. Mother knows best, my ass.