To not take a woman’s needs seriously, is to contribute to a lowered sense of self esteem which may also have effects on her available energy for bonding and enjoying her baby, and may even contribute to postpartum depression. Without a way to integrate the experience, women are left to try to feel better by denigrating childbirth. This approach serves the overall social structure which itself devalues the process. But in the end it undermines a woman’s sense of the worth of her own significant life events.
DEVALUATION OF FEMALE EXPERIENCE
Because our culture devalues that which is feminine, even the most intimate and basic processes of women’s lives become targets for judgment. Our society encourages competition in every aspect of life. Mothers themselves are exploited to compete with one another, making their own birth experience a valid or invalid one, arguing whether the experience of giving birth is sacred, beautiful and powerful or a denigrating process to endure, even a worthless joke on women. Women comedians sarcastically attack women who want to experience natural birth, “You are stupid women! You have nothing to prove. You’re not a man!” It makes for good entertainment, but this polarization distorts the continuing problem of devaluation at the heart of our experience of womanhood. When a mother’s self esteem is undermined, family relationships suffer as well. Perhaps it is possible for us to validate and share our female experiences in a manner that would build rather than devalue a woman’s sense of self.