Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,


that6tall2girl responded to my entry about birth in previous centuries, where I talked about how we'd lost the community of women that used to surround birth.  She commented that she's seen births that were posted all over facebook!  Is that community?  If it is, it feels like maybe too MUCH community... I agree so much that I had to write a whole entry about it.

Because seriously people, something tells me that the community of women gathering to support a birth with their shared experiences feels VERY different than 40 people snapping photos and updating facebook.

I didn't think I wanted a ton of people in my room when I had Josie.  But the more I think about it, what I didn't want was a ton of those types of people in my room!  Actually I strongly enforced the no publicity idea to the extreme, after seeing too many coworkers send out baby announcements with half-dead-from-fatigue looking wives trying to smile from their hospital bed: I said there would be NO pictures of me from the hospital.  And that held true.  I don't show up in baby photos until 48 hours after the event.  I'm sitting on the couch in our living room looking like I need a shower and it's evident that the dress I'm wearing is still a maternity one... it's still not a flattering photo, but it was good enough.  Looking back I actually do wish there'd been some hospital photo of me, just for me to have at least.  NOT to post on facebook.  But I was so absorbed in the modern world that I forgot there were pictures that don't go on facebook, I couldn't remember the point of intimate moments.

I'd seen too many weird "Our perfect bundle of joy is HERE!!!" sort of e-announcements, so many crowded hospital rooms full of people toasting the new baby, that was how I saw birth.  Something about it felt off.  What if things weren't perfect?  What if introverted me just didn't feel like hanging out with my inlaws?  What if I wanted to hold my own baby?

The more I talk to people about it, the more we all agree that "community" surrounding birth has a lot in common with "community" in general, and they're the same in that society today is losing touch with their meetings.

Community is:
Support in difficult times
Unique, valuable relationships
Seeing what you need and acting on it

Community isn't:
A publicist
Annonymous gawkers
"Tell me if you need anything"

It doesn't happen in a room full of people, and it definitely doesn't happen on facebook.  Facebook is a nice almost substitute, I think sometimes, like when a friend moves away we can still hear news about their life.  But we can't kid ourselves and think that we're part of their "community", am I right?
Birth needs a different kind of community than the one a baseball stadium or facebook page provides.  It needs to be small and focused.  Around Christmas time I always morn the fact that us Christians wanted our holiday to be so big and in everybody's face that we spread it everywhere, like butter, over shopping malls and billboards and signs hanging from the ceiling at wal-mart.  And now we're scraping to find what's sacred about it, people end up feeling lonely and processed and artificial.  It doesn't feel nice.  Birth is the same way.  It's time to bring the community back into it, one friend and neighbor and close relative at a time.
Tags: childbirth, social media
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